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
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.
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