Kate Lonergan (Cootamundra Community Kitchen), Janice Slattery (Cootamundra Hospital Auxiliary President), and Jo Tomkies (Cootamundra Development Corporation Secretary/Treasurer). Photo: CDC.

It’s only been a number of weeks since the Coota 400 group left us having poured dollars into our local economy, and just last week three very important local organisations were presented with a cheque each from the Coota 400 committee, totalling $2,000.

All 105 cars registered during that May weekend were not out racing for prize money but instead a $667 cheque amount was donated to the Cootamundra Community Kitchen, Cootamundra Hospital Auxiliary, and Cootamundra Development Corporation.

One of the pre 1990 muscle car on display. Photo: Christopher Tan. 

Coota 400 Communications Officer Damian Kringas said organiser Christopher Ioannidis previously visited Cootamundra in previous years for similar events and instantly fell in love with the town, which made him organise the pre-90s “mate-ship battle” muscle car event.

Coota 400 organiser Christopher Ioannidis. Photo: Christopher Tan.

“This event was supposed to take-off a couple of years back but was always impeded by events such as Covid. So this year was actually the first run,” Mr Kringas said.

“Coota is a great town and we all had a great time as everyone is really friendly.

“The other day someone was telling me that this [Coota 400] has been a great boost for the town, since the abattoirs closed down.

“So we are 100 per cent behind helping the town, because it’s always a great time shared when we come down here.”

Works for the Coota 400 film project is currently well underway with a premiere 5-minute video already uploaded on the Coota 400 YouTube channel, raking over 2,000 views in.

Currently rolling out a number of weekly snippets on their YouTube channel, the plan this year is to package a 45-60 minute short film of the Coota 400 event for it to be sent off and screened on SBS’ Speedweek, Foxtel, or 7 Mate, in September.

The Coota 400 YouTube page. Photo: YouTube.

Damian Kringas capturing some footage at the Coota 400 event. Photo: Christopher Tan.

Mr Kringas added that a copy of the completed film which features the town, the cars and the races, will also be sent out to the CDC office and said he would welcome the idea of it being screened at the local Arts Centre Cootamundra.

For the cheque donation, Cootamundra Hospital Auxiliary President Janice Slattery said the money will go towards the wish list at the local hospital, with furniture being on the top of the nurses wish list at the moment.

“We really value what they have given us. To find out they come out here just to give back to the community, is so great,” President Slattery smiled.

“It was a true surprise, especially the amount given.

“They are great for our town and we would welcome them again in the years to come.”

Cootamundra Development Corporation Office Manager Leah Sutherland recalled arriving to work when the mob drove along main street on the morning of May 21, and the immediate buzz it created to the town.

“A lot of organisations were struggling and unable to fundraise last year due to the Covid-19 impacts, so this donation is incredibly timely,” Leah said.

With lesser revenue attained at the CDC’s office last year too, the $667 amount received will help go towards replacing the previous Christmas tree lights which were not lit last year as the lights failed.

The town’s Christmas tree is organised by the CDC and put up each year during the first week of December at the Ex-Servicemen’s Club roundabout.

This year it will look spectacular along with the Parker Street lights. For the Cootamundra Community Kitchen, the Coota 400 donation was the second cheque they received in 2021, with the first being last month from Commonwealth Bank Cootamundra.

Donations towards the Kitchen are said to upkeep the incorporated body every Wednesday night’s dinner during school terms, especially since opportunities to fundraise slowed down.

Meanwhile, Coota 400’s scheduled second event in September at the Cootamundra Airport is now cancelled due to the evolving Covid outbreak situation in Sydney.

The event was supposed to be muscle car state showdown in Victorian cars taking on NSW cars, and was said to be sold-out.

“We were extremely lucky to get the May event done, sneaking it in before everything happened right now,” Coota 400 Communications Officer Damian Kringas said.

“The May event was a huge success and as far as I know, everyone is already looking to book their spots for next year’s May Coota 400.”

At present, the Coota 400 committee is in discussion to introduce a designated open area (behind the fence), in which the public can view the event for free.

There was a large number of public interest for this year’s event to spectate, although the Coota 400 committee highlighted that it was “logistically challenging” to accomodate that many people around and on the airfield.

This year, the Cootamundra Airport remained operational during the Coota 400 event and this meant the committee would have needed to accomodate a plane if, there was a pressing reason for it to land.

The Coota 400 committee added that in addition to spectators next year, there would either be a “Show N Tell” of 10 cars parked at the Ex Servicemen’s Club carpark, or a drive-thru parade towards the Ex-Servicemen’s Club then back down the main street and towards the airport.

Christopher Tan