Truck show turns on charm
ALEXANDRA strikes again!
Bigger, better and a record number of entries (145) for the various awards on offer made this one heck of an event.
Coupled with a kids fairground that rivalled Luna Park, the annual woodchop and of course, the utes that make up the other half of the show, the sunny Sunday in June was a resounding success yet again.
Wayne Hebbard arrived from Pakenham driving a Western Star with a 530 Cummins for John Maloney Transport out of Traralgon, hauling cement, lime and dry product in tankers - both local and interstate.
He has been with Maloney for some two years and loves the job.
This was his third year at Alexandra. Given that Pakenham is some way from Traralgon, Wayne takes the truck home with him.
"It's my truck - well I treat it like it's mine anyway.
"If something goes wrong it's down to me," he said.
Wayne Martin, 25, is from Barnawartha and bought his first rig early this year.
That's a fair investment for a young bloke.
With $210,000 to pay back, it's in Wayne's interest to keep the truck working, which he does by subbing for Border Express.
"I bought the truck off the old man," Wayne said.
So the interest rates would be pretty good then?
"Ahhhh - no, not really. I think he ripped me off a bit actually.
"He did a rebuild on it and I bought it for what it owed him - or so he tells me," he said.
At this point in time the truck is painted white on white.
"I've got some ideas for decoration but it's not a priority, as I'm sure my old man would tell you."
The truck in question is a 2010 model Kenworth with just over one million clicks on the clock.
Wayne has been on the road for eight years, starting out when he was 18.
At 18-and-a-half he got his medium rigid licence on an exemption, following that up with an HR a year later and by 21 had his MC.
"I love the industry. It doesn't feel like a job," he said.
"I look forward to going to work every day. Kick back, turn the music up and it's all good."
It was a little too good for his ex-girlfriend who realised that he loved his truck more than her.
Gona owns Gateway Logistics and sub-contracts to Broadway and Frame, part of the Wholesome Group of companies (concrete).
Gona has just purchased a Kenworth T359A, fresh off the factory floor.
"We bought it up to Alexandra," said Gona laughingly, "In the hope of winning cleanest agitator."
Gona was at Alexandra with his son, Renaldo who is pretty keen to follow his dad into the business.
He has been driving for some 40 years. Given he is now just 50, that is an early start.
"It's not that young. I've had Renaldo behind the wheel since he was eight," he said.
Based at Laverton, Gona, originally from South Africa, came to Australia 13 years ago. Trained as an engineer he first worked for Telecom, but the money wasn't up to expectations.
The family had been in trucking back in South Africa so that seemed a logical next step, although many truckies may disagree with this as a way to make your fortune.
The move did work for Gona however, and he now runs a fleet of nine agitators subbing for both G&F and ACM.
"Many of our drivers are fresh from getting a licence," Gona said.
"I actually don't mind that as I can train them to drive as I want. I put a fair amount of time into that area and it pays dividends."
Brothers Chase and Justin Jones run Jones Farm Services at Moorooduc and turned up at Alexandra with a 1992 T450 with C12 Cat power.
The business encompasses farm contracting, silage, spraying, fertilising, carting cattle or hay, or anything else the industry requires.
They have owned the truck for seven years and only recently pulled it apart and gave it a good clean up just in time to come to Alexandra.
Mike Bransgrove has graced the pages of Big Rigs before, with his distinctive aerofoiled, blue and white Freightliner Argossy.
Well the Argossy has gone, to be replaced with a new Freightliner Coronado.
The Coronado bears similarities in design to the Argossy, right down to the aerofoil atop the cab (which we thought may have been transplanted).
"No, I built everything new on this one," he said.
"I painted it at home and had the handpainted pin striping done by Total Fleet Imaging.
"We made new steps, moved the tanks forward to be level with the back of the cab, extended all the guards, built drop-down panels along the bottom, fitted different exhaust and shields and a different sun visor, as well as different wings at the back.
"We've been going flat out on it for six months."
Mike states his reasons for buying the Freighliner product as being: "Nice and comfortable, reasonably priced, good tare weight, good wide cabin with plenty of room inside - especially with the high roof. Plus I know the product inside out as I drove my dad's for years. There hasn't been much that I haven't pulled apart and put back together."
A one truck businessman, Mike reckons it's enough to support the family and hopefully put his three kids through University.
The winner of Best Truck of the Show was a 2013 Kenworth K200 owned by Anthony Latorre from Hoppers Crossing.
Darrell from TransArt in Bendigo did the spectacular paintwork from an idea of Anthonys.
At 23, Anthony has been driving nearly four years, since age 19.
Starting out in heavy rigid, then driving with signs on with dad, he headed straight into a B-double.
This was the first time Anthony had been at the show with one of his trucks and he didn't expect to walk away with the major prize.
"I'm a bit blown away by it," he said.
Not half as much as the admiring onlookers of his artwork on wheels were.