EVENT: TROOPCARRIERS OF AUS­TRALIA, NSW

150 Troop­ies, six tonnes of fire­wood and the per­fect camp­site. Bliss for Toy­ota lovers.

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents - WORDS AND PHO­TOS MARK ALLEN

JUST a few years ago a cou­ple of mates were sit­ting around a camp­fire pon­der­ing the idea of start­ing an on­line 4x4 group specif­i­cally cater­ing for Landcruiser Troop Car­ri­ers. Troopcarriers of Aus­tralia was born via Michael Shaw (yep, it’s his miss­ing fin­ger that the Shawry Salute is de­rived).

The first two Win­ter Ram­bles were or­gan­ised by three fel­las: Cal Tom­lin­son, Ryan Kes­tle and Dan Smith, and held in 2013 at a re­serve just out of Glouces­ter, NSW. Only three Troop­ies at­tended the in­au­gu­ral event, but in 2014 that num­ber rose to 17.

Look­ing for a larger venue to cram a cou­ple of ex­tra Troop­ies into, the guys moved it to Cooron­gooba Camp­ground (near Glen Davis) in 2015 and at­tracted 76 ve­hi­cles. Fast­for­ward 12 months to this 2016 TOA Win­ter Ram­ble, and an in­cred­i­ble 150 Troop­ies turned up. That is noth­ing short of as­ton­ish­ing given TOA is a closed group. I reckon that num­ber could eas­ily break the 1000 mark next year, given there is a smidgeon over 3300 on­line mem­bers to date.

The ad­min­is­tra­tors I spoke to at the Ram­ble all ex­pressed their amaze­ment and thanks to all who helped or­gan­ise and turn up for this event, and they wanted to note they are not a club, just a group of like­minded peo­ple that are al­ways ready to help each other out with info, ad­vice and parts.

This means there is no El Pres­i­dent, no fees and no in­sur­ance. The only rule is to ‘play nicely’ with one an­other. All are wel­come, and this year there were a hand­ful of fam­i­lies com­plete with car­a­vans and kids join­ing in on the fun.

My ex­pe­ri­ence with this mob has been noth­ing short of fan­tas­tic. About one month af­ter pur­chas­ing my sec­ond­hand Troopy I was sent on a mis­sion to Queens­land, where I had a cou­ple of dash lights come on. Un­for­tu­nately, I didn’t have the man­ual or pa­per­work to know ex­actly

what one of the lights meant, so I punched a ques­tion into the group while parked on the side of the road and had a re­as­sur­ing an­swer within 10 min­utes. That’s all I needed to know, so I headed on my merry way know­ing I could fix the prob­lem at my leisure. Thanks again to those who an­swered. I’ve seen count­less sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences with plenty of like-minded, help­ful Troopy own­ers.

The 2016 Win­ter Ram­ble also raised $4850 for the South­ern Cross Kids Camps char­ity, which is a not-for­profit mob who take less for­tu­nate kids out camp­ing in the bush – what a bril­liant form of heal­ing to be sit­ting around a camp­fire with peo­ple that care for you. That amount was raised via a few mem­bers mak­ing, sell­ing and donat­ing prof­its from bean­ies, hood­ies and var­i­ous stick­ers. Plus there was a raf­fle over the week­end with all prizes do­nated from a heap of TOA mem­bers who run their own busi­nesses. A huge pat on the back to all who helped raise that money and or­gan­ised the prof­its to be handed to the se­lected char­ity; I reckon those in­volved de­serve an ex­tra frothy around the next camp fire.

Toy­ota Troop Car­ri­ers are the epit­ome of tour­ing 4x4s. They can be camped in, on top of, or next to, plus they can tow al­most any

camper trailer or car­a­van on the mar­ket. They fit the bill per­fectly for short- and long-term re­mote travel, and they have cav­ernous in­ter­nal pro­por­tions, are re­li­able, sim­ple and have rugged me­chan­i­cals. Plus they can be eas­ily mod­i­fied, and there’s a huge choice of af­ter­mar­ket gear.

While we don’t buy them for their on-road cor­ner­ing prow­ess, su­per­flexi sus­pen­sion, or stan­dard stereo sys­tems, the Troopy is the per­fect plat­form for the ad­ven­tur­ous. Plus they eas­ily and com­fort­ably dou­ble as daily driv­ers. Sure, they have their prob­lems, as all makes do, but straight out of the box they can be taken al­most any­where on the planet.

There are other Ram­bles through­out the year dur­ing spring and sum­mer, so, if your keen and own a Troopy, check out Troopcarriers of Aus­tralia on Face­book and join in the fun. Un­til next time, leg­ends!

The lucky win­ner of one of the event’s do­nated prizes.

We thought the only event rule was to ‘play nicely’?

A mas­sive turn out this year. And it’ll only get big­ger and bet­ter!

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