CQ Convoy: The big rigs rock up to Rockhampton
In an early preview for summer conditions, Rockhampton’s 2017 CQ Convoy, held on the Father’s Day weekend, brought much of the central Queensland trucking industry together. Greg Bush writes
THE NUMBERS may have been slightly down due to a number of competing events in the immediate central Queensland area, but the fourth running of the CQ Convoy still managed to raise around $13,000 for the RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service.
Now in its fourth year, this year’s event was held on September 2, with trucks gathering at the CQ University before travelling from North Rockhampton to the Yeppen roundabout, around the big bull and back to the showgrounds.
Recycling Transport Industries’ Kenworth T908 had lead truck honours, with Fletcher’s Earthmoving’s T909 in second spot. Those two were up front of a strong contingent of Kenworths, including eight from Emerald Carrying Company. The Emerald trucks took out the show award for Best Fleet plus Best Prime Mover 6-10 years.
Of the company’s eight prime movers which are based in nearby Gracemere, seven were bonneted, with Jeff Thomson driving the only cabover, a sparkling K200.
Jeff has been with Emerald Carrying Company for four years, attending the CQ Convoy event for the past three. He’s also a regular along the Bruce Highway.
“There’s a bit of road works and plenty of caravans on the Bruce, just to keep your mind occupied,” he laughs. “It’s been a long week. I’ve done two and a half trips to Brisbane and back, and I washed two trucks this morning.”
A more modest participation came from Powers Transport, which had a 1996 International Transport 4700 nicknamed ‘Fat Boy’ and a 10-yearold Kenworth K104 in the convoy. The Kenworth’s driver and mother of three, Clare Scott, was making her fourth appearance at the CQ Convoy.
“The first year I took my own Iveco Powerstar 7700,” Clare recalls. “The next year I took this Kenworth and my partner took our Western Star, a 6900 with six-rod.
“We bought that new but he’s had to do a run to the Territory, so he’s missed the convoy this year.”
Clare previously drove for Emerald Carrying Company, but with the arrival of her three children it became difficult to keep up with the hours.
“Billy Powers ended up having a spare spot and it started off being just a few days a week when my first child was just about six months
“I think more people should make an effort”
old and it just ran from there. Billy has got 28 trucks all up. He owns Sanbella Holdings and they do tallow and hides.”
Clare’s regular routine is dropping the kids off at day care, then driving the two hours to the Biloela meatworks to load before heading to Port Alma.
“I absolutely love my job because as a mum I can still keep on trucking,” she says. “I’m a mum of three young ones but I still drive, work my job and keep my truck clean.”
Clare says the convoy is a great event for charity but believes there needs to be a bigger participation from the region’s transport companies.
“I think more people should make an effort if they can,” Clare says.
“There are a lot of people sitting at home with dirty trucks in the shed.”
Many of the trucks sported commemorative banners of children who had passed away, including a Murphy’s Heavy Haulage Freightliner Argosy which paid tribute to the late Tristan Horatio Wickham.
Col Martin, who has attended two previous CQ Convoys, drove 550hp Detroit-powered Argosy. He says the truck’s owner, Lionel Murphy, is a loyal supporter of the convoy. “We take time out to get involved with them where we can.”
As well as driving the eight-yearold Argosy for Murphy’s, Col’s time is occupied restoring a Kenworth Kenworth W 924. Although he’s not a big fan of over-the-top artwork, Col plans to add
custom stripes to the W model once it’s finished.
“It’s pretty close now,” he says.
LIGHT AND FIRE
At the other end of the scale, Collin Cooke arrived for the convoy in a long-wheelbase Isuzu XD 1000 with his nephew Dominic in the passenger seat. Collin drives the Isuzu for Brownsowns Express, one of three Isuzus in the company’s fleet.
“It’s a bit of a mix,” he says. “We’ve got a Kenworth and a Scania too. I drive an Isuzu, but not this one. This one is better than mine, it’s newer,” he laughs.
Collin adds that he’s been attending CQ Convoys “for a couple of years”.
“I’m going to Five Rocks later, camping for the night with a bunch of mates. It will be a good night.”
Owner//Driver caught up with another Isuzu driver, Graeme Wade from the Gracemere Rural Fire Brigade.
Graeme, who has been with the fire brigade for seven years, says the Isuzu, classed as a medium appliance 52 model, replaced a Fuso Canter in the fleet. “We’ve now got two Isuzus; this is a really capable vehicle for what it’s designed for.”
This was Graeme’s first CQ Convoy because, as he says, “I’m normally working on the weekends they’re on, but we had the opportunity today so we brought it in”.
It didn’t all go to plan for Graeme and the Gracemere Rural Fire Brigade’s Isuzu however. Starting out in the convoy, he received a fire call, did a U-turn and headed down Yeppoon Road.
“We left the convoy to go and fight that fire and then came back. There are at least three more down the Yeppoon Byfield area,” he explains.
“It’s not meant to be fire season yet, but there’s been no rain and we’ve still got a lot of stuff on the ground from the cyclone. Not just Cyclone Debbie, but the one that came through here about two years ago.
“We’ll be getting very busy really soon I reckon,” he adds.
“We left the convoy to fight that fire and then came back”
Keeping the farms around central Queensland fuelled up is the job of Justin Hitchen. Driving a 2008 Mack Granite for Puma Energy at the convoy, Justin does day trips out to Marlborough, Dingo and the like.
“I’ve been with Puma since they’ve been in Australia,” he says. “I was with Central Combined Group before that and Central State Fuels before then.”
This year was Justin’s first CQ Convoy and he caught up with a few familiar acquaintances on the day.
“Specially being out at all the farms, they call come in … and everyone likes a good truck.”
Justin says, despite the Mack being nine years old, it still does the job well. “It used to haul a double up and down the highway, then it caught on fire and I got it,” he laughs.
“I’ve been babying it out on the dirt roads. You can cart a single around so it’s nice, not too bad at all.”
Justin was planning to drop the truck back at the depot before sunset, and then return for “a few rumbos and a few beers” later.
One Mack taking part in the convoy and on display at the Rockhampton Showgrounds had yet to do a day’s work. It was a brand new and strikingly bright red Mack SuperLiner which had come direct from Volvo Commercial Vehicles (VCV) Rockhampton.
Mike Moy, area sales representative for Mack, says the 600hp Super-Liner with MP10 engine came out of the factory eight weeks ago and has been customised for its new owner.
“It’s a ‘gold bulldog’, so it has all Mack running gear,” Mike says. “With Mack, customers can come in or we can go to them, and we sit down and start at the chassis rails and build the truck to suit the job that they want.
“So we custom make the truck for their job,” he says. “This truck will be on tippers, on a B-double and AB-triple pulling both grain and prill.”
Before attending the convoy, the Super-Liner was painted in the customer’s fleet colour.
“We just have to put some striping on it to finish it off,” Mike adds.
VCV Rockhampton has supported the CQ Convoy every year since its inception and Mike has also attended each event. “We’re always happy to support it,” he explains. “We supported the one in Bundaberg when it was running but unfortunately it finished a couple of years ago.”
VCV Rockhampton was one of a number of CQ Convoy silver sponsors, while Hopkins Bros Transport and CQ Eat Street were gold sponsors.
As well as thanking many sponsors, CQ Convoy Inc says it acknowledged the huge effort put in by committee members, volunteers on the day and also for the public coming out to support the event.
“But most of all to the truck drivers and their families for supporting the event and the effort they all put into making their trucks beautiful for the day,” CQ Convoy Inc says.
Recycling Transport Industries’ Kenworth T908 had the honour of leading the convoy
Hopkins Bros Transport are CQ Convoy gold sponsors K200 Jeff Thomson drove a Kenworth Emerald in the convoy, one of eight taking part Carrying Company trucks four CQ Clare Scott has clocked up a Powers Convoys, this year driving Transport’s Kenworth K104
Lake Trucking’s well-travelled Kenworth SAR
Justin Hitchen drove a Puma Energy Mack Granite Followmont Transport brought a fleet of Western Stars Collin Cooke brought his nephew in a Dominic along for the ride Browns Express Isuzu
The trucks gather at CQ University in readiness for the convoy
Rural Graeme Wade from Gracemere on a fire Fire Brigade was called out alert midway through the convoy Heavy Col Martin drove a Murphy’s being a Haulage Argosy, the company regular convoy supporter Mike Moy from VCV Rockhampton Liner showcased a new Mack Super- North Qld Truck and Machinery Star Movements’ ‘Phat Cat’ Western
The convoy enters the Rockhampton showgrounds on its way to the main arena