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

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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”

FARM DU­TIES

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

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