Ute beauty: All ready to fly the flag

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

IF THERE were 300 trucks tak­ing over the streets of Dar­win you’d have to say, ‘‘We’ve got our­selves a con­voy’’. But on Thurs­day there will be 300, pos­si­bly more, utes in pro­ces­sion around Dar­win — and that cer­tainly qual­i­fies as a con­voy of sorts.

The Aus­tralia Day Ute Run has be­come a tra­di­tion in Dar­win and is grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity each year.

Last year, the of­fi­cial count of utes was 321 but that num­ber was swelled by the many sup­port ve­hi­cles that took part in the run.

The ute run is or­gan­ised by John Obole­vics and Tr­ish Cree­don, who kicked off the event in 2002. It wasn’t ac­tu­ally a ute run then, more a spon­ta­neous show of pa­tri­o­tism as the cou­ple drove around town in their ute, wav­ing an Aussie flag. It has taken off to such an ex­tent that Tr­ish said they were hop­ing to have as many as 500 utes tak­ing part in Thurs­day’s event — add to that trucks, sedans, mo­tor­bikes and the con­voy is fur­ther swelled.

‘‘It’s a great event for Dar­win and cer­tainly the big­gest thing that hap­pens on Aus­tralia Day here,’’ Tr­ish said.

The ute run starts at 12.30pm with a cir­cuit of the Hid­den Val­ley track with flags fly­ing, mu­sic pump­ing and horns blow­ing, be­fore the of­fi­cial take-off through the streets of Dar­win.

It then leaves the com­plex, the first 100 ve­hi­cles un­der po­lice es­cort, and fol­lows Tiger Bren­nan Drive, Ber­rimah Rd, Van­der­lin Drive, Trower Rd, Bagot Rd, left into the Stu­art High­way and then into Hook Rd be­fore fin­ish­ing at the grey­hound track at Win­nel­lie.

There’ll be a bar­be­cue, li­censed bar and many tro­phies on of­fer there. There’s the push-a-ute com­pe­ti­tion, muf­fler throw­ing con­test and a thong-throw­ing event.

There are prizes for best­themed ute, best work ute, best-dressed male, best­dressed fe­male, best-dressed kids and best-dressed dog.

It costs $5 a ve­hi­cle to take part in the ute run. All pro­ceeds go to Va­ri­ety, the chil­dren’s char­ity NT. Gates open at Hid­den Val­ley at 10.30am on Thurs­day.

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