In Pictures: 2015 Camp Quality Convoy

By: Peter and Di Schlenk


The pre-convoy briefing at Avalon Airport. The pre-convoy briefing at Avalon Airport. The pre-convoy briefing at Avalon Airport.
The Riordan Grain Services’ team with the lead truck. The Riordan Grain Services’ team with the lead truck. The Riordan Grain Services’ team with the lead truck.
Carsten and Penny Smits. Carsten and Penny Smits. Carsten and Penny Smits.
The StanTrans & Son crew, from left, Scott Thompson, Jayden Bowden, Samantha Bacon, John Stan, Adriana Stan and Will Stan. The StanTrans & Son crew, from left, Scott Thompson, Jayden Bowden, Samantha Bacon, John Stan, Adriana Stan and Will Stan. The StanTrans & Son crew, from left, Scott Thompson, Jayden Bowden, Samantha Bacon, John Stan, Adriana Stan and Will Stan.
Anthony Latorre’s Kenworth K200 was ready to take off at Avalon. Anthony Latorre’s Kenworth K200 was ready to take off at Avalon. Anthony Latorre’s Kenworth K200 was ready to take off at Avalon.
Left to right, (rear) Jack Rotnick and Damien Bennett with (front) Lindsay Rotnik and Rueben Bennett, and the mini Peterbilt. Left to right, (rear) Jack Rotnick and Damien Bennett with (front) Lindsay Rotnik and Rueben Bennett, and the mini Peterbilt. Left to right, (rear) Jack Rotnick and Damien Bennett with (front) Lindsay Rotnik and Rueben Bennett, and the mini Peterbilt.
Camp Quality Convoy Geelong TradeTrucks8 Camp Quality Convoy Geelong TradeTrucks8
From left, Greg Cook with sons Jake and Ash. From left, Greg Cook with sons Jake and Ash. From left, Greg Cook with sons Jake and Ash.
Allied Transport Services were there in numbers, as well as bringing 10 trucks for the convoy. Allied Transport Services were there in numbers, as well as bringing 10 trucks for the convoy. Allied Transport Services were there in numbers, as well as bringing 10 trucks for the convoy.
Camp Quality Convoy Geelong TradeTrucks13 Camp Quality Convoy Geelong TradeTrucks13
Early morning airport line-up. Early morning airport line-up. Early morning airport line-up.
Lining up at Avalon airport. Lining up at Avalon airport. Lining up at Avalon airport.
The Neals Haulage team arrived from Colac. The Neals Haulage team arrived from Colac. The Neals Haulage team arrived from Colac.
Ashley Davidson and son Jay, centre in blue shirt, with the Plunkett Crane Trucks team. Ashley Davidson and son Jay, centre in blue shirt, with the Plunkett Crane Trucks team. Ashley Davidson and son Jay, centre in blue shirt, with the Plunkett Crane Trucks team.
Shannon and Denise Brown arrived in a Gunn Freight Kenworth. Shannon and Denise Brown arrived in a Gunn Freight Kenworth. Shannon and Denise Brown arrived in a Gunn Freight Kenworth.
En route to Geelong. En route to Geelong. En route to Geelong.
A handy vantage point for spectators. A handy vantage point for spectators. A handy vantage point for spectators.
Camp Quality Convoy Geelong TradeTrucks21 Camp Quality Convoy Geelong TradeTrucks21
On the home straight. On the home straight. On the home straight.
Camp Quality Convoy Geelong TradeTrucks23 Camp Quality Convoy Geelong TradeTrucks23
Wayne and Robyn Trask drove across from Colac. Wayne and Robyn Trask drove across from Colac. Wayne and Robyn Trask drove across from Colac.
John Benson. John Benson. John Benson.
The hula hoops were in full swing. The hula hoops were in full swing. The hula hoops were in full swing.
On stage at the Geelong Showgrounds, Mac Darby, 5, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 is interviewed by Bay FM’s Mark Hyland, as his mother Andrea Benton and sister Zara look on. On stage at the Geelong Showgrounds, Mac Darby, 5, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 is interviewed by Bay FM’s Mark Hyland, as his mother Andrea Benton and sister Zara look on. On stage at the Geelong Showgrounds, Mac Darby, 5, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 is interviewed by Bay FM’s Mark Hyland, as his mother Andrea Benton and sister Zara look on.
Jason Barry (right) and his partner Bronwyn. Jason Barry (right) and his partner Bronwyn. Jason Barry (right) and his partner Bronwyn.
David and Jessica Rose. David and Jessica Rose. David and Jessica Rose.

The city of Geelong held its inaugural Camp Quality Convoy last month, and the unexpected large turnout almost caught organisers off guard. Peter and Di Schlenk write.

 

The gates of Avalon Airport flew open at 7am on February 15, signalling the start of Geelong’s first ever Camp Quality Convoy.

By the time of the convoy briefing on the tarmac, more than 200 trucks and around 50 motorbikes were ready to roll for the slow and purposeful run through Geelong and the Geelong Showgrounds.

The prestigious position of lead truck went to Riordan Grain Services’ Kenworth SAR, driven by Kane Whiting. The rig was followed by eight other Riordan trucks.

Graeme Reid, Geelong Camp Quality Volunteer Group president, says hopes are that the bidding for the convoy’s lead truck position will grow in coming years.

"We knew the Geelong community would get behind it, but it’s not only the Geelong community. We’ve got trucks and bikes that have come from all over Victoria," Graeme enthuses.

"It’s actually the Victorian Camp Quality Convoy that’s being held in Geelong."

On Friday evening before the convoy, Ritchie Bros held a goods and services auction where bidders enjoyed a cocktail night and bid for a variety of items.

Riordan Grain Services’ winning bid for the lead truck position was $10,000, with the company’s transport manager Joe Strawford admitting they initially didn’t plan to be that heavily involved.

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"Graeme paid me a visit in September and explained the concept and that they had chosen Geelong," Joe recalls.

"The city is quite a transport hub now and is growing all the time, especially with the Geelong port precinct.

"He asked my thoughts on it and I said it was a great idea.

"I then used our contacts throughout the industry to help promote the convoy and at the same time encourage fundraising, and awareness for Camp Quality and the kids."

Riordan showed off its dedication to the event, with the staff wearing the convoy T-shirts, and having its eight trucks washed and polished for the event.

"We had morning teas, barbecues … we even had a swear box within the office but unfortunately it filled rather quickly," Joe smiles.

"But it’s hats off to our staff because these guys contributed RDOs and annual leave.

"We are proud of our team. The office staff and our drivers — they are great people with big hearts.

"We now have 12 months to build on it and it can only get bigger and bigger," Joe says.

Allied Transport Services was another company to add weight to the convoy, arriving with a fleet of 10 trucks.

"We have a great team and everyone joins in; what a great day," exclaims Allied boss Angelo Lociuro.

"There is no way that we would miss this and a chance to help the kids."

However, much of the convoy was made of up one-truck entries, including a smart Gunn Freight Kenworth which Shannon and Denise Brown brought down from Melbourne.

"The boss was right behind it when I let him know about the convoy," Shannon says.

"It’s been hard work to get here but it’s for a good cause.

"It’s good to see that everyone gets out and supports it."

Wayne and Robyn Trask had a little further to travel, arriving in Clearwater Logging & Transport’s six month-old Western Star from Colac.

Although an hour’s drive, Wayne and Robyn were keen to make the trip to support a good cause.

"A few of us just decided we would do it and benefit the kids," Wayne says.

"We’re pretty happy to do the convoy and the boss supports it 100 per cent."

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Forward planning

Once the convoy arrived at the showgrounds, it was all about the kids with various model displays, Lego truck and train layouts and models, the most popular being the remote controlled rigs. There was also a sideshow alley and free hula hoops.

According to Graeme, although a lot of planning went into the event, he admits that at various stages the committee were a little overwhelmed, but it all came together in the end.

"A week out and we had it all sorted, and this last week has been all about putting on the finishing touches," he says.

Apart from the slow parking at the showground, and the long queue for the sausage sizzle, it all ran smoothly, although organisers are confident next year’s event will be bigger and better.

"I would like to thank all on the committee that is full of volunteers," Graeme says.

"Each one has had their own responsibilities and portfolio; each one has been magnificent and I am honoured to have been involved."

Graeme also was appreciative of the support given by the Avalon Airport personnel, and Isuzu dealership Winter & Taylor who sponsored the event’s t-shirts.

He also thanked Bay FM, the Convoy’s media partner, and all the transport companies, owners, drivers and families who gave up their day to be part of the convoy.

At the end of the day, more than $100,000 was raised for the inaugural Geelong Camp Quality Convoy.

It prompted Graeme to remark that a Camp Quality Convoy should be run annually in each state.

 

 

The StanTrans & Son crew, from left, Scott Thompson, Jayden Bowden, Samantha Bacon, John Stan, Adriana Stan and Will Stan.

Family business

We caught up with the enthusiastic StanTrans & Son crew at Avalon.

"It’s a great day," StanTrans boss John Stan says.

"We’ve come out for a good day and to help out as much as we can."

John has been operating trucks for more than 30 years and has encountered many different facets of the industry — tankers, car carriers and heavy haulage.

"We’re giving something back to those less fortunate than us," he continues.

"It’s a great cause, helping the kids."

StanTrans run four trucks around Melbourne, mainly hauling containers. It’s a family business with fleet controller Will Stan the heir apparent.

 

 

Carsten and Penny Smits.

Avalon early birds

Carsten and Penny Smits were keen to grab a prime position in the convoy, arriving early at Avalon Airport in a Patrick Autocare T359.

Based in Laverton in Melbourne, Carsten says he found out about the convoy on Facebook and decided to be part of it.

"I thought it would be a great day for the kids to see the trucks and to represent the company as well," he says.

Carsten has been with Patricks for four years and has been driving trucks for the same length of time.

"It’s a fantastic company, and I love the job," he says.

Carsten has been driving the 18 month-old T359 since new, mostly local around Melbourne and intrastate throughout Victoria.

 

 

Left to right, (rear) Jack Rotnick and Damien Bennett with (front) Lindsay Rotnik and Rueben Bennett, and the mini Peterbilt.

Mini Peterbilt

One of the most eye-catching trucks at the convoy was a pint-sized Peterbilt from Werribee, driven by Damien Bennett.

The Pete’s owner, David Boxshall, has had it specially built up for Variety Club Bash runs.

"Every year, we service it up and change the theme a little bit," Damien says.

"We put some signage on the back promoting Camp Quality and thought we would bring it along on this run."

Damien explains that the little Pete is actually a GMC ambulance sitting on an F350 chassis with Peterbilt bonnet; the whole unit riding on air bag suspension.

 

 

David and Jessica Rose.

Making the distance

The Geelong Camp Quality Convoy attracted interest from far and wide, including David and Jessica Rose, who made the trip from Drouin in the Gippsland region.

"We came a fair distance, but we wouldn’t have missed this," David says.

"It’s a great cause, just for the kids."

David subbies for Dyers Transport, running B-double tautliners into Melbourne.

"I’ve been in the game for 25 years, quite a few as an owner-driver," he explains.

"I’ve had this Kenworth for six years and I still love the job.

"And these days are just great to be a part of."

 

 

Jason Barry (right) and his partner Bronwyn.

Fired up

Jason Barry and his partner Bronwyn arrived in a new Scania owned by Viva Energy Australia.

"This is their brand new pumper and it’s worth $1.4 million," Jason says.

"It was built in Austria, and we got it in October last year."

Jason is a member of one of the emergency response teams at the Geelong refinery.

"We have about 20 firemen out there," Jason says.

 

 

From left, Greg Cook with sons Jake and Ash.

New pumper

Standing proudly in front of Beton Pumping Group’s latest pumper were Greg, Jake and Ash Cook.

Greg explains that the 45m concrete pump is a new design with the last two stages being carbon fibre, enabling it to drop 10 tonnes from the tare weight.

"It’s the pride of the fleet at present," Greg smiles.

Greg, who has been operating concrete pumps for 20 years, says he and the boys drove down from Sunshine.

"We picked it up in December last year and thought it would be great to be in a Convoy for Kids," he says.

"So today is a chance to show it off."

 

 

Twins: these identical Kenworth SARs were at the day with Mark Jones and Adair Wills of Marks Transport.

On the mark

These identical Kenworth SARs didn’t have far to travel to join the convoy.

Owned by Marks Transport in Geelong, owner Mark Jones came along with his two children Alexis Jones and Bailey Loundes, and driver Adair Wills.

"It’s good to have the first one and I hope there will be more," Mark says of the Geelong Camp Quality Convoy.

"It’s a good day and we fully support it."

The two Marks Transport Kenworths operate 24 hours a day, doing containers, general and refrigerated.

"We make sure that they earn their keep," Mark smiles.

"They go around the clock but we ensured that they were washed and polished for today."

 

 

Ashley Davidson and son Jay, centre in blue shirt, with the Plunkett Crane Trucks team.

Supporting role

Plunkett Crane Trucks brought four trucks from Dandenong for the convoy, including one driven by Ashley Davidson.

"My son jay has leukaemia and he is about two years into his treatment," Ashley explains.

"Throughout that time Steve Plunkett and Plunkett Crane Trucks have been really supportive and have done all they could to help our family which we really appreciate."

Ashley says he had asked Steve about entering one truck in the convoy, and his boss decided on four.

"The boss, his two sons and the whole family are here to show great support for the Convoy," Ashley says.

"I think it’s going to be a brilliant day and by the look of it, it’s a great turnout."

 

 

John Benson.

Sharing with kids

One arrival at the Geelong Showgrounds, John Benson had no qualms about allowing the kids to have a good look inside his truck. He relates their interest to his childhood days.

"I’ve been around trucks ever since I left school — I love them," John enthuses.

"My two uncles had trucks and one passed away and I was askedif I wanted to take over at 21 years of age. The rest is history."

There are four trucks in the Benson’s Fertilizer & Freight operation, doing general and farm freight around south eastern Victoria.

"We’ll have a crack at anything and I still love the job," he says.

"This is a great day to give a bit back and help the kids," John enthuses.

 

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