Con­voy for Kids

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An es­ti­mated 800 trucks join Syd­ney char­ity event

The an­nual Con­voy for Kids in Syd­ney again at­tracted large num­bers of trucks, es­ti­mated at around 800, all to raise money for a wor­thy cause. David McKen­zie took his cam­era along

THE WEATHER FORE­CAST in the lead up to the Con­voy for Kids Syd­ney 2018 was ex­tremely bleak! The fore­cast two days be­fore the con­voy date of Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 21 in­di­cated a 95 per cent chance of rain and thun­der­storms. For­tu­nately, the bad weather mostly ar­rived late on the pre­ced­ing af­ter­noon. The con­voy trucks as­sem­bled in the western Syd­ney sub­urb of Hunt­ing­wood from 5am on­wards amid a fine driz­zle, which meant a fi­nal wipe and pol­ish for the drivers. It was a small price to pay con­sid­er­ing the cause they were sup­port­ing. The Syd­ney Con­voy for Kids raises money for NETS (New­born and pae­di­atric Emer­gency Trans­port Ser­vice), which is ba­si­cally a mo­bile in­ten­sive care for kids.

Ben Richard­son and Jodie Fer­ris, who run Be­nae Haulage, were among the early birds who ar­rived at Hunt­ing­dale. The pair rolled up in Ben’s Ken­worth Big Cab K108, which he bought about four months ago. Ben says he has ex­panded

his fleet to two trucks with the very re­cent pur­chase of a Freight­liner Columbia.

“The plan is for Jodie to drive the Freight­liner as soon as she gets her li­cence,” Ben ex­plains.

The cou­ple have sup­ported the event for the last four years. “It’s a great char­ity event,” Jodie says. She adds that she wants to take her in­volve­ment a step fur­ther by join­ing the com­mit­tee.

A lit­tle fur­ther up the road was Josh Day from

MMM Lo­gis­tics with his two kids Axel and Liana. Josh brought his Freight­liner Ar­gosy with a C15 Cat push­ing out 550hp (410kW).

“The com­pany car­ries gen­eral freight, over di­men­sional sen­si­tive freight and con­crete pan­els to name a few,” Josh says, al­though he ex­plains that he mostly hauls steel.

Josh has been driv­ing for six years, start­ing out with Aldi de­liv­er­ing groceries, which he did for 12 months. He’s been with MMM Lo­gis­tics for the last five years.

The trucks kept rolling in to join the con­voy; some of them keep­ing an eye on the weather. The or­gan­is­ers were happy to have late com­ers reg­is­ter on the day as they were set up in Hunt­ing­wood Drive to take late reg­is­tra­tions com­plete with an early morn­ing sausage siz­zle.

One driver who ar­rived a lit­tle later was Ash­lee Saggs. Ash­lee has a bit of his­tory with the con­voy; his father took him as a child. Ash­lee says he’s al­ways loved heavy ve­hi­cles and wanted to fol­low in the foot­steps of his dad and join the con­voy in his own truck. How­ever, he des­per­ately wants to buy his own rig, but for the time be­ing he’s be­hind the wheel of a K200 Ken­worth for Klap Bros Trans­port (KBT).

“It’s an 18-speed man­ual … none of this auto crap,” Ash­lee states. He usu­ally carts gen­eral freight, any­thing from pal­lets to ma­chin­ery or steel, but says his last load was pasta from San Remo.

Big fleet

The first trucks ar­rived at the venue shortly be­fore 9am with a huge con­tin­gent from Aussie Skips near the front of the con­voy, an awe­some sight with their bright yel­low trucks spot­ted eas­ily from a dis­tance. Aussie Skips were a ma­jor spon­sor of the day and brought all their fleet ex­cept for one that had bro­ken down. Ap­par­ently they were go­ing to bring it along on a tow truck, but were ad­vised that it was prob­a­bly not a great idea.

Once ev­ery­one was parked up it was time to re­lax and catch up with mates or admire some of the rigs on display. One of the in­ter­ested spec­ta­tors was an el­derly lo­cal lady who said she could hear the com­mo­tion from her house, so she de­cided to pop down to have a look. “I was sur­prised to see so many trucks and was very im­pressed with how shiny they were,” she re­marked.

Chil­dren were treated to a huge slide, dodgem cars and a tea cup ride for the lit­tle ones. The adults were catered for as well with a small mar­ket and the band Rock City Saints, who en­ter­tained the crowd with some well-known cov­ers. There was also the oblig­a­tory auc­tion where all do­nated goods are auc­tioned off for NETS, and there were some def­i­nite bar­gains to be had by some lucky bid­ders.

Az­zurri Con­crete was there as al­most one big fam­ily. Don D’An­gola, one of the com­pany’s part­ners, ex­plained that the busi­ness has very strong fam­ily val­ues.

“The call went out to see who would like to be a part of the con­voy, but I had more em­ploy­ees than trucks want­ing to be a part of the event,” Don says.

This was the first time Az­zurri Con­crete has been part of the con­voy, but he says it def­i­nitely won’t be the last.

Ri­val events

The crowd num­bers ap­peared to be down on pre­vi­ous years, al­though there was quite a bit hap­pen­ing in the Olympic

precinct on the day, in­clud­ing the X Games. In ad­di­tion, the In­vic­tus Games were be­ing held right next door. It was a credit to the precinct man­age­ment that Con­voy for Kids was still al­lowed to pro­ceed at Home­bush.

Ian Shaw, Syd­ney Con­voy for Kids pres­i­dent, con­firmed that around 800 trucks took part in the 20-kilo­me­tre jour­ney down the M4 to Syd­ney Olympic Park, where they parked along Olympic Boule­vard.

Ian has been con­voy pres­i­dent for the past two years.

“I was thrown into the job af­ter the pres­i­dent at the time left abruptly,” he ex­plains.

He ad­mits it’s been a rather steep learn­ing curve. “If I hadn’t taken the role on, the con­voy would have folded and that was the last thing I wanted.”

Ian says he was dis­ap­pointed that so many trucks left early with tro­phies still to be handed out. How­ever, he has vowed to make im­prove­ments in time for next year’s con­voy.

“I would wel­come any sug­ges­tions to en­sure the event can be­come big­ger and bet­ter,” Ian says.

“I had more em­ploy­ees than trucks want­ing to be a part of the event.”

Op­po­site be­low L to R: Ash­lee Saggs with Kath­leen White (left) and Kasan­dra Mac­Na­mara. The trio ar­rived in KBT’s Ken­worth K200; Ben Richard­son and Jodie Fer­ris with the Big Cab K104

Be­low left: Kiwi driver Barry Ron­gonui, who drives for Lind­say Trans­port, hauled an ef­figy that once stood in a pok­ies room in New­cas­tle. The story goes that it would light up when­ever some some­one won a jack­pot. Barry res­cued it from a tip, restored it and do­nated it to a lo­cal café. He bor­rowed it just for the con­voy

Be­low: Josh Day from MMM Lo­gis­tics with son Axel and daugh­ter Liano. They trav­elled in MMM’s Freight­liner Ar­gosy

Above: Aussie Skips had a huge con­tin­gent of trucks at Syd­ney’s Olympic Park

Left: Hulk art­work adorned this Em­pire Lo­gis­tics Man­age­ment rig

Be­low left: Ben Richard­son (left) with Ali­son and Paul ‘the gnome’ Smith

Be­low: The big Az­zurri Con­crete fam­ily

From top left: The Bor­der Ex­press trucks make their way from Old Hill Link to Ed­win Flak Av­enue at Syd­ney Olympic Park; A Hi-Trans Ex­press Ken­worthFrom top right: It wasn’t just trucks that en­tered the con­voy; Trucks lined Olympic Boule­vard at Home­bush; The Az­zurri Con­crete trucks pull up out­side ANZ Sta­dium

Right: A JAS Trans­port Iveco

Be­low: Mal­colm and Tammy Blanch’s Ken­worth is full of “fam­ily pride”

Above L to R: Star Track is a Con­voy for Kids reg­u­lar; The MMM Lo­gis­tics fleet ar­riv­ing at Home­bush

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