Alexan­dra Truck Show: An­nual event keeps get­ting big­ger

Trucks, utes and rods squeezed into the streets of Alexan­dra dur­ing the June long week­end for the Vic­to­rian tim­ber town’s big an­nual event that just keeps get­ting big­ger and big­ger. Greg Bush writes

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One comes to the re­al­i­sa­tion how huge the Alexan­dra Truck, Ute & Rod Show has be­come when at­tempt­ing to book ho­tel or mo­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion for event. Un­less you’ve booked a year in ad­vance, you’ll be spend­ing the Queen’s Birth­day long week­end in the sur­round­ing towns, al­though there’s a good chance that ac­com­mo­da­tion may be booked out. The other op­tion, of course, is sleep­ing in the truck’s cab, which many are happy to do.

Those who made it a day trip, rolling up on Sun­day, June 10, were greeted by a slight driz­zle and a morn­ing fog, not to men­tion the sin­gledigit tem­per­a­ture. But that did not de­ter scores of own­ers and driv­ers trucks, utes and hot rods which filled the streets in the cen­tre of town.

Bean­ies, jack­ets and scarfs were the or­der of the day for al­most all at­ten­dees, al­though

SRV Freight­lines’ driver Matthew Clarke looked sur­pris­ingly com­fort­able wear­ing a T-shirt.

Matthew was driv­ing a 2016 K200 big cab for SRV, and he was in­tent on hav­ing the big-cab Ken­worth look­ing at its best.

“I’ve been sweat­ing my arse off clean­ing,” he laughs. “Once I stop the jacket will be go­ing back on; it was just way too hot be­fore.”

Mathew was one of a num­ber of SRV trucks on show. His ef­fort and that of his co-work­ers paid off, with SRV Freight­lines win­ning the award for Best Small Fleet.

SRV is based in Yatala, south-east Queens­land, but Matthew works out of the com­pany’s Mel­bourne de­pot.

“I ac­tu­ally live in Ton­gala, near Echuca,” he points out. “I’ve got the truck 24/7 – it makes it a whole lot eas­ier.

“I just go from home on a Sun­day and get back home on a Fri­day. It’s fan­tas­tic; the car doesn’t get a work­out.”

Be­fore link­ing up with SRV just over six months ago, Matthew spent more than four years with Frank Gat­tuso Trans­port.

I’ve been sweat­ing my arse off clean­ing.

Prior to that he drove a rigid around Shep­par­ton de­liv­er­ing milk.

“I’ve only been driv­ing trucks for six years” he says. “Now I’m do­ing in­ter­state and ab­so­lutely lov­ing it.”

REG­U­LARS AND FIRST-TIMERS

Liam Gin­gell, how­ever, was an Alexan­dra first­timer. Ac­com­pa­nied by Shayne Han­ning, Liam drove a Lima South Quarry-owned Mack Su­perLiner through thick fog on the morn­ing of the show. “I could hardly see a thing,” he re­marks.

Liam says, in­clud­ing the 600hp Mack, the com­pany has around nine trucks in its fleet. “I think it’s the first time that any of the trucks have gone to a show.”

Liam says LS Quarry man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Ash­ley Day has had the quarry, half-way be­tween

Be­nalla and Mansfield, for 10 years.

“I hit the boss up and said ‘I want to take a truck to Alex for the week­end’. And he said, “Yeah, al­right, go for it.”

No such per­mis­sion was re­quired for An­thony Jen­ner who rolled up in his own Ken­worth 1987 SAR, a truck he has owned for 16 years.

With its 425hp Cat en­gine and 14-speed Spicer ’box, An­thony says the “tough truck” works ev­ery day, his reg­u­lar freight in­clud­ing re­frig­er­ated goods, con­crete bar­ri­ers, pan­els, steels and just about any­thing.

Re­cently re­painted in its orig­i­nal green and yel­low, the Ken­worth was one of the stand­outs parked along Grant Street, Alexan­dra’s main drag. “It’s al­ways been those colours; I’ve just sort of kept it tra­di­tional,” he says.

An­thony is a reg­u­lar at Alexan­dra, tak­ing a few days off each June long week­end, plan­ning his ac­com­mo­da­tion 12 months ahead.

“I’ve been stay­ing in a mo­tel here for about 15 years,” he says. “We book it ev­ery year.”

Like­wise Dave Moloney, who picked up the award for Truck of the Show with his Ken­worth Leg­end 900.

Dave be­gan at­tend­ing the Alexan­dra event only a few years af­ter the show’s in­cep­tion. He’s been there ev­ery year since.

“It’s been about 18 years or so,” Dave says. “As we were leav­ing this year, we booked for next year.”

Moloney Bulk Haulage had nine trucks on show; the prize-win­ning Ken­worth only join­ing the fleet two weeks ear­lier.

“A good score on its first out­ing,” Dave smiles. The 900 was one of a num­ber of Ken­worth ‘Leg­ends’ on show at Alexan­dra. Parked nearby the Moloney fleet, Don Ogilbee was wip­ing away the last of the road grime on Kitco Trans­port’s Leg­end 950.

Num­ber 58 in the 2015 Leg­end 950 se­ries, Don has been driv­ing the Ken­worth since soon af­ter it

As we were leav­ing this year, we booked for next year.

be­came a mem­ber of John Town­ley’s Kitco fleet.

“I’ve known John for 25 years,” Don ex­plains.

“He bought it for him­self to drive, but he never did.

“They were go­ing to chuck the keys in the ring, but I got it so I’ve done al­right. They’re beau­ti­ful trucks.”

Don has clocked up more than 480,000km since, run­ning the Mel­bourne-Bris­bane-Syd­ney tri­an­gle.

It was the Leg­end 950’s first show­ing at Alexan­dra, al­though Don drove it to last year’s Castle­maine Truck Show, as well as mak­ing it to the Ken­worth Klas­sic near Syd­ney.

FOOTY FUNDRAISER

Just around the cor­ner in Ni­hil Street, a new Ken­worth Leg­end 900 parked amid a sea of Ken­worths was at­tract­ing plenty of at­ten­tion, not only due to its ap­pear­ance, but to the large ban­ner up front an­nounc­ing the Ken­worth was there to be won.

The raf­fle is the lat­est fundrais­ing ini­tia­tive by the Hep­burn Foot­ball and Net­ball Club, and the Leg­end 900 is part of a to­tal prize pool worth $429,000.

In re­cent years the club has raf­fled off CVO Har­ley-David­sons as the top prize, and back in the 1990s a Ken­worth T900 was up for grabs.

The $1,000 per ticket may be out of reach for most, al­though foot­ball club’s vice pres­i­dent Garry Rodoni points out that only 1,000 tick­ets will be sold with the draw tak­ing place on March 31 next year.

“We’ve sold roughly 250 to this point and this be­ing such a great truck show, we’ve had some re­ally good in­ter­est and feed­back,” Garry says.

“The in­ter­est be­ing shown by the older age truck­ies to­day has been phe­nom­e­nal.”

Mean­while, tak­ing up prime po­si­tion in the mid­dle of Grant Street, the event’s ma­jor spon­sor Larsen’s Truck Sales had a num­ber of trucks on show, in­clud­ing a con­spic­u­ous brand-new Western Star 4800FXB that’s also be­ing given away – in part­ner­ship with Penske Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles – to raise money for not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion Teen Chal­lenge Vic­to­ria. Tick­ets – avail­able for $100 – can be bought at www. teen­chal­lenge.com.au/truck­raf­fle2018 or by call­ing 0448 259 555.

Dave Larsen says he’s been in­volved with spon­sor­ing the Alexan­dra Truck, Ute & Rod Show for around 10 years.

He heaped praise on the event’s or­gan­is­ers, par­tic­u­larly An­drew Em­bling and Gor­don Simp­son. “They’re amazing peo­ple,” he says.

As well as sup­port­ing the show, for Dave the week­end is also about fam­ily and friends.

“My three sons are here, my young 11 year old, my two older boys and my daugh­ter,” he smiles. “It’s a fam­ily af­fair. I love it.”

1. De­spite the cool weather, Matthew Clarke worked up a sweat clean­ing the big cab K2002. Liam Gin­gell and Shayne Han­ning ar­rived on the Sun­day morn­ing in LS Quarry’s Mack Super-Liner 3. An­thony Jen­ner’s 1987 Ken­worth SAR re­ceived a new paint job be­fore the show4. Don Ogilbee struck it lucky when he was handed the keys to Kitco Trans­port’s Ken­worth Leg­end 950 1 2 3 4

5 6 7 8

5. The show’s ma­jor spon­sor, Dave Larsen of Larsen’s Truck Sales6. Dave Moloney (right) with his Truck of the Show plaque with his son Blake and fa­ther John Moloney. Photo by David McKen­zie 7. Jarad Cook gave up his Sun­day to drive D&K Walker Trans­port’s 2010 model Cat Truck to Alexan­dra8. Gary Rodoni showed off the lat­est Hep­burn Foot­ball and Net­ball Club’s fundrais­ing ini­tia­tive – a Ken­worth T900 – to be raf­fled off at $1000 a ticket

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