In Pictures: 2015 Newcastle and Hunter Region Road Transport Awareness Day

By: Greg Bush


Blue skies awaited at Foreshore Park. Blue skies awaited at Foreshore Park. Blue skies awaited at Foreshore Park.
It was hot bacon, egg and sausage sandwiches at Sandgate Fruit Markets, thanks to O’Neill’s Truck and Trailer Repairs. It was hot bacon, egg and sausage sandwiches at Sandgate Fruit Markets, thanks to O’Neill’s Truck and Trailer Repairs. It was hot bacon, egg and sausage sandwiches at Sandgate Fruit Markets, thanks to O’Neill’s Truck and Trailer Repairs.
The skies were looking ominous as the convoy, including a couple of CB Transport Services trucks, were ready to depart Sandgate. The skies were looking ominous as the convoy, including a couple of CB Transport Services trucks, were ready to depart Sandgate. The skies were looking ominous as the convoy, including a couple of CB Transport Services trucks, were ready to depart Sandgate.
Scott and Ann Hardy with children Jayden and Dakotaa wait for the convoy to kick off from Sandgate Fruit Markets. Scott and Ann Hardy with children Jayden and Dakotaa wait for the convoy to kick off from Sandgate Fruit Markets. Scott and Ann Hardy with children Jayden and Dakotaa wait for the convoy to kick off from Sandgate Fruit Markets.
Toll drivers, from left: Joe, Rob, Trevor, Snow, Dave and Jason. Toll drivers, from left: Joe, Rob, Trevor, Snow, Dave and Jason. Toll drivers, from left: Joe, Rob, Trevor, Snow, Dave and Jason.
Bruce Downs drove Dallas Fabian’s ‘Debonair Dog’ Mack Trident. Bruce Downs drove Dallas Fabian’s ‘Debonair Dog’ Mack Trident. Bruce Downs drove Dallas Fabian’s ‘Debonair Dog’ Mack Trident.
Dallas Fabian’s Mack Granite. Dallas Fabian’s Mack Granite. Dallas Fabian’s Mack Granite.
Ryno’s Haulage 2015 Western Star 4700 scrubbed up pretty well. Ryno’s Haulage 2015 Western Star 4700 scrubbed up pretty well. Ryno’s Haulage 2015 Western Star 4700 scrubbed up pretty well.
Shane Lamborn, who drives a ’98 K100K for Maddox Haulage, found a waterfront parking spot. Shane Lamborn, who drives a ’98 K100K for Maddox Haulage, found a waterfront parking spot. Shane Lamborn, who drives a ’98 K100K for Maddox Haulage, found a waterfront parking spot.
Bett’s Mack Super-Liner had a portside position. Bett’s Mack Super-Liner had a portside position. Bett’s Mack Super-Liner had a portside position.
Kalolane Food Services fleet added to the Mack presence. Kalolane Food Services fleet added to the Mack presence. Kalolane Food Services fleet added to the Mack presence.
Lee Duce with his children Bailey, left, and Leilani. “They’re still in their pyjamas,” Lee explains. Lee Duce with his children Bailey, left, and Leilani. “They’re still in their pyjamas,” Lee explains. Lee Duce with his children Bailey, left, and Leilani. “They’re still in their pyjamas,” Lee explains.
Max Lynch’s 1975 Peterbilt looked in good nick. Max Lynch’s 1975 Peterbilt looked in good nick. Max Lynch’s 1975 Peterbilt looked in good nick.
Anthony Napoli from AMJ Transport drove this smart Western Star 4800. Anthony Napoli from AMJ Transport drove this smart Western Star 4800. Anthony Napoli from AMJ Transport drove this smart Western Star 4800.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter buzzes the Truck Right Industry Vehicle at Foreshore Park. The Westpac Rescue Helicopter buzzes the Truck Right Industry Vehicle at Foreshore Park. The Westpac Rescue Helicopter buzzes the Truck Right Industry Vehicle at Foreshore Park.
K S Easter’s stunning 2015 Volvo FH16 was voted Truck of the Show. K S Easter’s stunning 2015 Volvo FH16 was voted Truck of the Show. K S Easter’s stunning 2015 Volvo FH16 was voted Truck of the Show.
Betts Bower won the Best Fleet award. Betts Bower won the Best Fleet award. Betts Bower won the Best Fleet award.
‘Rolling Thunder’ Western Star. ‘Rolling Thunder’ Western Star. ‘Rolling Thunder’ Western Star.
Paul Harrison’s B-model Mack among the old-timers brigade. Paul Harrison’s B-model Mack among the old-timers brigade. Paul Harrison’s B-model Mack among the old-timers brigade.
Driver trainer and Transport Awareness Day committee man Jason Kemp. Driver trainer and Transport Awareness Day committee man Jason Kemp. Driver trainer and Transport Awareness Day committee man Jason Kemp.
Country rock artist Jayne Denham was ‘Addicted to the Diesel’. Country rock artist Jayne Denham was ‘Addicted to the Diesel’. Country rock artist Jayne Denham was ‘Addicted to the Diesel’.

Dark clouds hovered over Newcastle in the lead up to the region’s Road Transport Awareness Day, but it was clear skies on November 1 when the convoy rolled into town. Greg Bush writes.

 

Just when it seemed the annual Newcastle and Hunter Region Road Transport Awareness Day was losing momentum, the 2015 event on November 1 bounced back with increased truck participation, top-shelf entertainment and, fortunately, fine weather.

Rod Hannifey took time out from his busy schedule to show off the TruckRight Industry Vehicle at Foreshore Park.

Country rocker Jayne Denham, who recently signed a partnership deal with transport company ScuzzTrans, was full of energy as she pounded out songs such as ‘Addicted To The Diesel’ and ‘Grew Up Around Trucks’.

Jayne was well supported by local singer Kristen Lane whose father is involved in the trucking industry, while the Eljay Freestyle Entertainment Show provided an action-packed motorcycle and bicycle stunt show.

K S Easter’s stunning new black Volvo FH16 made a welcome appearance.

The FH16 has a 600hp (447kW) 16-litre D16G engine and AT3112D 12-speed box, but it was the exterior artwork that provided eye candy for the passers-by.

The combined efforts of Killer Paint, House of Kolor, Highway Lights and Accessories and Viking Trucks made the Volvo the standout truck at the Transport Awareness Day.

It was almost expected that the FH16 would take out the Truck of the Show honours, and that’s exactly what happened, although it was surprisingly pipped by National Central in the Best Presented up to 3 Years category.

The Easter Volvo, with Ken ‘Slacko’ Greiner driving, is currently doing the rounds at the truck shows along the east coast.

At Newcastle it joined in the convoy, which travelled its usual route from the Sandgate Fruit Markets for a family fun day at Foreshore Park.

However, that was not before O’Neill’s Truck and Trailer Repairs put on a hot breakfast at the markets in exchange for a gold coin donation.

The convoy was notable for a number of first time appearances. Among those were BRC & Sons’ driver Scott Hardy; Bruce Downs who drives for Dallas Fabian; and Lee Duce from SRV Roadfreight Services.

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Newcastle-based Scott, who was behind the wheel of a new Kenworth T409 SAR, also brought his wife Ann, and kids Jayden and Dakota.

"I’ve been to many shows as a spectator, just to take the kids," Scott says.

"But this is the first one I’ve driven in."

BRC & Sons, who bought the SAR from Brown and Hurley’s Coffs Harbour branch, is based in Kempsey, although Scott operates the SAR out of Newcastle.

In its working guise, the truck hauls prestige cars in a closed-in van.

Bruce Downs, from Kincumber on the New South Wales Central Coast, wasn’t far from home either.

He drove a Mack Trident nicknamed ‘Debonair Dog’ in the convoy, one of four Dallas Fabian-owned Macks that arrived for the day.

"Dallas wasn’t going to bring trucks up this year, but we talked him into it," Bruce says.

"He bleeds Macks. We’ve got B-models, Flintstones, we’ve got an old B-model tipper that he still works, and he’s got a B-model that he’s rebuilding from the ground up."

Bruce has been driving for Fabian Farm on Mangrove Mountain for the past six months. Before that he was with Central Coast Civil behind the wheel of a 580hp (433kW) Scania.

"They say driver comfort, but there’s nothing like driving a real truck," Bruce says, adding that he prefers an 18-speed manual box over an auto any day.

That the weather changed dramatically from constant rain in the days before the convoy to fine weather overnight influenced Bruce and his co-drivers in turning up.

"We drive tippers, so if it was raining we were staying in bed," he laughs.

Lee Duce, another Central Coast resident, was pleased to be driving a 50th Anniversary Kenworth K200 for SRV Road Freight.

"It’s unit number 5," Lee says.

Lee was in Newcastle with his son Bailey and daughter Leilani. He’s been with SRV, which is based at Ormeau in south-east Queensland, for around 18 months.

His regular run is between Melbourne and Brisbane along the Newell.

"I only ever run up the coast road when I go home," he says.

Although it was his first Newcastle and Hunter Region Road Transport Awareness Day, Lee plans to make an effort to attend as many truck shows as he can, including next year’s Casino Truck Show.

"I’ve been to a couple of other ones. I used to go to the Central Coast Convoy for Kids a fair bit, but I was disappointed to find out that they’re not operating anymore."

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Wise move

Maddox Haulage, which operates out of Thornton near Maitland, had three of its six trucks in the convoy.

Shane Lamborn, driving a 1998 Kenworth K100K for the company, was making his third appearance at the Awareness Day.

Not bad, since he’s only had his truck licence for four years.

Shane, who brought along his nephews and nieces, says he got into trucking through his father-in-law Neil Coughlan.

"He’s a truck driver, and I was working up in the mines and got made redundant," he says.

"I thought I’d give it a go, and loved it. I haven’t looked back since."

He enjoys driving the Kenworth, with its 18-speed Roadranger ’box, although he admits he hasn’t been behind the wheel of anything else yet.

"I do Newcastle to Sydney, and a bit of local stuff," Shane says.

However, despite the presence of Maddox Haulage, Best Presented Fleet winner Betts Bower, Kalolane Food Services and Toll, there were some noticeable fleet absentees from this year’s event, although the aforementioned outfits more than made up for that.

‘Snow’, who drives a Toll T409 SAR, has been to every Transport Awareness Day since its inception. He’s been with Toll for the past 15 years, before that with R&H Transport Services, which Toll bought out.

Toll’s trucks regularly turn out for the Newcastle event, with seven in the convoy this year.

"We only have it once a year, it’s local, and it’s a good cause for the Westpac Helicopter," Snow says.

"One of our drivers who just retired, his son is a crewman on the helicopter."

It was the Westpac Rescue Helicopter which attracted most of the kids’ attention when it landed in the middle of Foreshore Park after buzzing over the TruckRight Industry Vehicle.

As usual, funds raised from the convoy, truck show and auction were donated to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

Next year’s Newcastle and Hunter Region Road Transport Awareness Day is scheduled to be held on November 6.

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Giving back to the industry

Jason Kemp (above) may seem a familiar face to readers.

In fact, he appeared in Owner//Driver’s February 2014 issue as a line-haul heavy haulage driver for George MacDonald & Sons, an article that also profiled his extensive road transport career both in Australia and overseas.

Now he owns and operates Advanced Driving Training. He’s also on the Transport Awareness Day committee.

Jason had a number of trucks at the Awareness Day, including a 2010 Scania R480.

"It’s a great truck for learners," he says.

"It’s got the Opticruise automated manual gearbox in it, and it covers HR through to MC."

Jason says the pursuit of a lifestyle change was the reason he switched from line-haul to driver training.

"I thought I would set my own hours, and do what I wanted to do and be my own boss," he says.

"But I’m working harder than ever now."

Nevertheless, Jason enjoys his new role of helping to mould the drivers of the future, as well as upgrading licences to B-doubles.

"I try and do it properly, all the time, because that’s the way it should be done," he says.

"The RMS [NSW Roads and Maritime Services] has set a standard; my standard is well and truly above that.

"Turning blokes out in one and a half days, it’s just not right.

"I say to my students: ‘I don’t care if you ring me with a dumb question because there’s no such thing as a dumb question’. The only dumb question is the one that’s not asked."

Jason joined the Transport Awareness Day committee around two years ago, something he had in mind after opting out of long-haul driving.

"I’m born and bred around here, but working interstate you can’t get to committee meetings," he says.

"Being home every night I can get involved in it, and try and promote the awareness of the transport industry, not just within the industry but to the general public."

Jason’s Scania had the honour of leading the Awareness Day Convoy through the streets of Newcastle after emerging as the highest bidder through the silent charity auction.

"It’s all for a good cause," he says.

"I had the unfortunate mishap to require the Westpac chopper once upon a time. No questions asked, they just turn up and do whatever’s needed."

That was when he was riding a motorbike along the notorious Putty Road.

"I got T-boned by a car; it did a screaming U-turn in front of me and I was airlifted out to John Hunter Hospital.

"I’ve had my ups and downs over the years," he adds.

"I’ve probably played too hard and I’ve got the battle scars to prove it."

To further promote the Newcastle event, Jason plans to add Transport Awareness Day signage to the Scania and attend other trucking events in Sydney and beyond.

"I’ll try to get people to travel a little bit further to Newcastle," he says.

 

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