Putting the burn into the burnouts at Autofest

ALL roads led to Mount Panorama on the weekend for the third annual Valvoline Autofest.

Organisers of the highly successful car festival scheduled another high-octane event and the record crowd of more than 5000 visitors were not disappointed.

The festival featured an outdoor show ‘n’ shine, super sprints, tradedisplays and “All Mighty Burnout” competition, complete with flames.

Operations manager Les Adams said yesterday it was a record-breaking year.

“We had excellent weather. As you know, the storms went around us and the sun gods were on our side,” he said.

“We got the largest crowd we’ve ever had. At a guess, I’d say we had over 5000 people [attending the two-day event].”

Mr Adams said Saturday was basically an elimination day, where those with the fastest times went through to the second day.

Sunday hosted the finals, super sprints along Pit Straight and the ever- popular burnoutcompetition.

Mr Adams said theburnout competition was the highlight of the two-day event. A couple of cars even caught on fire.

“It [the fires] are not a big concern. Those cars are set up for situations like that. They have all thesafety equipment on board,” he said.

“Fires [in burnoutcompetitions] are acommon occurrence. That’s what makes it so popular with the crowds – it’s the spectacle of the event.”

Mr Adams said the burnout competition attracted more than 100 entries.

“It was so big we almost ran out of time. On Saturday we had a curfew of 6pm and the last carfinished at 5.59pm,” he said.

Mr Adams also said this year there were a lot of female entrants.

DRAMATIC: Flames accompanied some of the efforts in the burnout competition at the Valvoline Autofest held on the weekend, but it wasn’t an unusual occurrence, according to one of the officials. Photo: WARREN HAWKLESS 030914wburnout2

Mother paralysed by childbirth

Jessie Bruton enjoys a cuddle with her boys Levi, 6; Klay, four months; and Nash, 2. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERSource: Illawarra Mercury

Jessie Bruton was looking forward to moving into her first home, embarking on a career as a fitness instructor and the birth of her third child – then paralysis set in.

Last year, Jessie Bruton was looking forward to moving into her first home, embarking on a career as a fitness instructor and the birth of her third child – then paralysis set in.

From early in her pregnancy, the Oak Flats mother started to lose feeling in her legs and feet but once the numbness spread to her stomach, stopping her from feeling contractions, specialists recommended an emergency caesarean.

Baby Klay was born four weeks premature in good health on November 1 but when Mrs Bruton woke up after the procedure, she could not walk. The scans she’d not been able to have while pregnant revealed extensive nerve damage in her spine – and doctors don’t know if she’ll ever be able to walk unaided again.

It won’t be for want of trying. The 26-year-old, who qualified as a fitness instructor just before falling pregnant, is now putting all her energy into rehabilitation.

“I’ve been doing physio or hydrotherapy five days a week but still the furthest I’ve been able to walk is 200 metres,” she said. “I’ve got two mobility walkers to get around at home and a wheelchair when I go out, and so much support from my husband, family and friends.

“I try and stay positive but the hardest thing for me is that I can’t look after my boys on my own because if something happened, I wouldn’t be able to get to them quick enough. And I haven’t been able to carry my new baby around, something you take for granted as a mother.”

Mrs Bruton her husband, Michael, and boys Levi, 6, Nash, 2, and Klay cannot move into their new home, which has stairs, and are living with her parents.

“I’ve lost my independence and I find it hard to ask people for help – but I have to,” she said.

“As well as numbness in my legs and feet, I have severe nerve pain from the back down and extreme sensitivity to hot and cold. No-one can tell me how disabled I’m going to be for the rest of my life.”

Mrs Bruton may not return to work at Rekreate Fitness at Corrimal but she knows her colleagues are behind her. They are running a raffle to help fit her car with hand controls.

To help, contact [email protected]爱杭州同城论坛m.au.

need2know: Weak lead from Wall St

Local stocks appear set for a lower open on a weak US lead.

What you need2know this Monday morning:

• SPI futures down 16 points at 5456

• AUD at 90.38 US cents, 92.97 Japanese yen, 65.13 Euro cents and 54.00 British pence.

• On Wall St, S&P500 +0.1%, Dow Jones +0.2%, Nasdaq -0.4%

• In Europe, Euro Stoxx 50 -1.6%, FTSE100 -1.1%, CAC 1.2%, DAX -2%

• Spot gold down 0.8% to $US1339.98 an ounce.

• Brent oil is at $US109.00 per barrel.

• Iron ore tumbles 2.3% to $US114.20 per metric tonne.

What’s on today

Australia:  No local reports.

Stocks to watch

Holding EGMs today: Northern Resources, Intermoco and Rift Valley Resources.

Deutsche Bank has increased its 12-month price target on carsales爱杭州同城论坛m to $11.90 a share and continues to recommend buying the stock.

Macquarie Private Wealth has a ‘neutral’ rating on the shares of Telstra, with a 12-month target of $4.80.

Morgan Stanley has increased its price target on Seven Group Holdings to $8.50 a share.


The US dollar climbed on Friday, boosted by an unexpectedly large jump in American jobs growth that set off enough buying to lift the greenback from a four-month low.

The US dollar index, a composite of six currency pairs which earlier on Friday had hit a bottom of 79.433 last seen on October 29, reversed course after the release of February’s employment data, touched a high of 79.847, and was ahead 0.07 per cent for the day at 79.710 late on Friday.


Benchmark London Metal Exchange copper for delivery in three fell nearly 4 per cent to $US6780 per tonne, its lowest since late July last year, amid renewed concerns about China’s economy. It ended at $US6782 per tonne from a close of $US7055 on Thursday.

Three-month nickel on the LME was last bid down 1.13 per cent at $US15,295 a tonne from $US15,470 at the close on Thursday. The contract had risen for six sessions on worries Indonesia’s ban on ore exports may soon tighten global supply as Chinese stockpiles run out.

China’s top steel producing province Hebei will shut more outdated steel capacity this year if market conditions allow, the governor said, with more than 10 per cent of its steel companies in dire straits.

United States

The S&P 500 ended at a record closing high for the second day in a row. Friday’s milestone also was the S&P 500’s fifth record closing high in the past seven sessions. But the overall sentiment was cautious and trading was volatile throughout the session.

The CBOE Volatility Index or the VIX, Wall Street’s fear gauge, fell 0.7 per cent to close at 14.11. But VIX April and May futures were up at 15.83 and 16.45, respectively.

The intermediate-term picture of the stock market remains bullish, but “the overbought conditions are building and a sharp, but short-lived correction can be expected at any time,” said Larry McMillan, president of McMillan Analysis Corp, in a note to clients.

The US Labor Department said US employers added 175,000 jobs to their payrolls in February. Economists had expected a gain of 149,000 jobs, according to a Reuters poll.


European shares fell on Friday, amid growing tension over Crimea, as investors tried to shield themselves from the impact of any confrontation between Russia and Ukraine on the weekend.

Investors have piled into the options market for protection against any future fall in Germany’s DAX, with Eurex data showing a rise in the ratio between “put” and “call” options.

Puts are a bet on a fall in the DAX; calls a bet on a rise. The put/call ratio on DAX options due to mature in March jumped to 3.13 at the start of March from 1.47 in early February.

What happened on Friday

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 16.4 points, or 0.3pc, to 5462.3. For the week, the index  lifted 57.5 points, or 1.1 per cent.

Today it is five years since the local benchmark index dipped to an intraday low of 3120.8, the nadir of the market’s dive during the global financial crisis.

Make your fortune from online dating

The rise and rise of online dating has created a surge of businesses that offer support services, with the trend spreading across the globe.

Psychologist and dating coach Melanie Schilling founded Dating Crusade a year ago to help women in their search for love. Schilling has recently been accredited by the International Dating Coach Association, and sees significant growth potential in this arm of her business, judging by overseas trends.

The reason online dating is enjoying a surge in popularity, Schilling says, is because it has become more socially acceptable.

“The stigma has started to diminish over the last five years. People are more comfortable saying, ‘I met my partner online’, ‘I’m currently online dating’, ‘I used Tinder and met this guy on the tram’. Those conversations are becoming more normal and there’s less of the shame and embarrassment.”

Most people know at least two or three established couples who met online, she says.

Schilling had the idea of become a dating coach after creating metaphors between dating and job searching for the professional coaching arm of her business.

“I started doing it to lighten the mood and get a bit of a laugh, saying ‘Imagine you’re on your first date’ when talking about the job interview. Then I started taking a look at my own life – I had been single for my entire 30s. For me, my 30s was all about my career and I had this lack of balance and I started seeing that in a lot of my clients as well,” says Schilling, who went on to meet her fiancé through online dating website eHarmony.

The range of services Schilling offers through Dating Crusade, include an online training program and one-on-one coaching, and she’s continually evolving her services to meet market demand.

“The most effective is the one-to-one coaching, because it’s such a personal topic and there’s so much vulnerability around it. That’s where the most shifts can take place and people can really take an honest look at themselves.”

While the date coaching arm of her business now accounts for 20 per cent of her income, she sees great potential, in the wake of large professional firms established in New York.

“I see it as a growth area. In the States and the UK it’s a much bigger industry than it is in Australia.”

New York based-Hunt Etheridge of the International Dating Coach Association, has worked in the industry for the past seven years and been at the forefront of wanting to legitimise the industry with accreditation processes.

Etheridge says there are multiple types of businesses that support online dating, such as services to help write a glowing profile or take a glamorous profile photograph, however he calls many of these services “Band-Aid solutions” for those seeking success in online dating.

“No matter how good that profile or that photograph is, you’re still the same person, you’ll still have the same issues when you meet people.”

Etheridge says dating coaching is the most substantial business type that’s grown in popularity on the back of online dating, because it helps fill the gap in skills for people shifting from cyber space into the real world.

“Men are losing many face-to-face skills because of online dating,” he says.

“Dating is a skill set. We have many C-Level executives and they see this is just another area of their life they want to get better at.”

It is a large-scale global business and three times a year Etheridge attends the online dating conference, iDate, which is usually held in Las Vegas, bringing together an average 500 industry folk for talks, workshops and business masterclasses.

Participants are predominantly from within online dating businesses, or the date-coaching industry. About a third of the audience is international, with a solid representation from Germans, and others travelling from Russia and the Ukraine.

Etheridge, who has a background as an actor and an MBA in marketing, says the reason the International Dating Coach Association was created was to bring credibility and accountability to this growing industry.

“There are a lot of dating coaches in the States. I equate it to being a stylist. People can wake up in the morning and go, ‘Yay, I’m a stylist today’, because there’s no board, no accreditation process.”

In particular, Etheridge says it is vital for legitimate dating coaches to differentiate themselves from pick-up artists, a field that he says was popular a decade ago.

“We’re trying to get out of the negativity, misogyny, manipulation and short-term results of pick-up artists.” By contrast, he says, date coaching is about helping people improve their prospects of finding a long-term compatible partner.

As part of its global accreditation process, coaches receive eight hours of face-to-face and eight hours of follow-up coaching on a diverse range of dating topics.

“We have a night time coach, day time coach, a flirting coach, ‘improv’, style coach and mock dates,” Etheridge says.

“Because no one can be an expert at everything.”

Tony Abbott asked to outline proposed seniors card changes

Australian politics: full coverage

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has re-affirmed the Coalition’s commitment to increasing the income threshold for the seniors health card, but will not be drawn on other changes to the card’s eligibility criteria that are reportedly before the federal government.

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card provides discounts on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines, GP visits, other medical expenses and an $858 yearly payment. Single seniors currently need a taxable income of less than $50,000 to qualify for the card.

The Audit Commission’s interim report, delivered to government last month, has questioned the fact that superannuation income is considered tax-free, according to a News Corp report on Sunday. There is also currently no assets test for the card.

In Adelaide on Sunday, Mr Abbott would not be drawn on the commission’s first report, saying it would be released ”at the right time, not the wrong time”.

”The stress that I want to keep on everything is, we will keep our commitments,” he said. As part of its 2013 election package, the Coalition pledged to index the current income threshold for the health care card to the consumer price index, ”[to] allow more retirees access to the CSHC and reduce the fear of losing the card”.

”What I want to make absolutely crystal clear is that in the lead-up to the budget we’ll see speculation in the media, we’ll see more and more scares from [Labor leader] Bill Shorten,” Mr Abbott added.

Labor seized on the reports about potential changes to the card, arguing that the Coalition should release the first Audit Commission report before the South Australian and Tasmanian state elections on March 15 and the West Australian Senate election on April 5.

”It is not appropriate that Tony Abbott and his team have 900 pages of nasty surprises for seniors,” Mr Shorten said.

The Opposition Leader said he was alarmed the Abbott government had the conditions of ”self-funded retirees squarely in their sights”.

”I know that self-funded retirees have worked hard all their lives,” he said. ”They don’t get a lot back from the government.”

National Seniors Australia chief executive Michael O’Neill said that older Australians accepted that they needed to look at savings to ensure the budget was sustainable, along with the rest of the community. But he too called on the Coalition to release the report, so proposals could be understood within a broader context.

Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton also called for the report’s release. ”The whole thing should be released so people can assist the government in making appropriate decisions.”

A spokeswoman for Treasurer Joe Hockey said the government was currently considering the ”confidential” recommendations and that the next Audit Commission report was due at the end of March.