Convoy for Kids
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.
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.
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