In Pictures: 2015 Castlemaine Rotary Truck Show

By: Peter and Di Schlenk


Saturday night lights. Saturday night lights. Saturday night lights.
Shining light: Trans Australia Livestock Transport’s T909. Shining light: Trans Australia Livestock Transport’s T909. Shining light: Trans Australia Livestock Transport’s T909.
Ron Rice. Ron Rice. Ron Rice.
One of Ron Rice’s trucks leads the convoy. One of Ron Rice’s trucks leads the convoy. One of Ron Rice’s trucks leads the convoy.
Castlemaine Rotary Truck Show 2015 Events TT6 Castlemaine Rotary Truck Show 2015 Events TT6
Castlemaine Rotary Truck Show 2015 Events TT7 Castlemaine Rotary Truck Show 2015 Events TT7
Frank Gattuso’s prize-winning fleet. Frank Gattuso’s prize-winning fleet. Frank Gattuso’s prize-winning fleet.
Variations on a matching colour scheme for Tyquin’s fleet. Variations on a matching colour scheme for Tyquin’s fleet. Variations on a matching colour scheme for Tyquin’s fleet.
Castlemaine Rotary Truck Show 2015 Events TT10 Daniel Whitelock (left) and James Webb. Castlemaine Rotary Truck Show 2015 Events TT10
Castlemaine Rotary Truck Show 2015 Events TT11 Castlemaine Rotary Truck Show 2015 Events TT11
Long-term show organisers Phil Duce (left) and Doug Parsons. Long-term show organisers Phil Duce (left) and Doug Parsons. Long-term show organisers Phil Duce (left) and Doug Parsons.
Paul Askew and his son Daniel. Paul Askew and his son Daniel. Paul Askew and his son Daniel.
Semi Trailer Sales had three Kenworths on show. Semi Trailer Sales had three Kenworths on show. Semi Trailer Sales had three Kenworths on show.
G&J Travis Transport’s Best Classic-winning Kenworth S2 (right). G&J Travis Transport’s Best Classic-winning Kenworth S2 (right). G&J Travis Transport’s Best Classic-winning Kenworth S2 (right).
Castlemaine Rotary’s Rob Cordy congratulates Michael Bransgrove, Saturday’s ‘Rig of the Day’ winner. Castlemaine Rotary’s Rob Cordy congratulates Michael Bransgrove, Saturday’s ‘Rig of the Day’ winner. Castlemaine Rotary’s Rob Cordy congratulates Michael Bransgrove, Saturday’s ‘Rig of the Day’ winner.
NGH Express’s Peterbilt won Best Custom. NGH Express’s Peterbilt won Best Custom. NGH Express’s Peterbilt won Best Custom.
Castlemaine Rotary Truck Show 2015 Events TT18 Castlemaine Rotary Truck Show 2015 Events TT18
Dwayne Slocum, with his son Jarryd and girlfriend Ellie Blight. Dwayne Slocum, with his son Jarryd and girlfriend Ellie Blight. Dwayne Slocum, with his son Jarryd and girlfriend Ellie Blight.
Michael Donimos’s Lalor Towing Ford F650. Michael Donimos’s Lalor Towing Ford F650. Michael Donimos’s Lalor Towing Ford F650.
Castlemaine Rotary Truck Show 2015 Events TT21 Castlemaine Rotary Truck Show 2015 Events TT21
Castlemaine Rotary’s Rob Cordy with Rig of the Show winner Ian Kelly. Castlemaine Rotary’s Rob Cordy with Rig of the Show winner Ian Kelly. Castlemaine Rotary’s Rob Cordy with Rig of the Show winner Ian Kelly.
Matt Kane and his black Mack Superliner. Matt Kane and his black Mack Superliner. Matt Kane and his black Mack Superliner.
John Wilson in front of a Building Products Supplies 2014 Kenworth T909. John Wilson in front of a Building Products Supplies 2014 Kenworth T909. John Wilson in front of a Building Products Supplies 2014 Kenworth T909.

The Castlemaine Rotary Truck Show rounds out the road transport events for 2015 with a stunning display all weekend, Peter and Di Schlenk write

 

Although the Castlemaine Rotary Truck Show is held over a full weekend each November, Saturday has traditionally been quiet, with the majority of trucks arriving in the Victorian town on Sunday morning.

Not so for 2015. On Saturday, November 21, 70 trucks arrived at Campbell Creek Recreation Reserve; some even rolled up the night before.

By the afternoon, 120 entries were lined up ready to be judged.

Michael Bransgrove, one of an increasing number arriving on Friday evening, took the Saturday honours with his immaculately presented 2013 Freightliner Coronado.

The prime mover has clocked up 350,000km running throughout rural Victoria.

"They do a great show here," Michael said, "and there’s always a high standard."

This year the AdTrans-sponsored Castlemaine Rotary Club Show made access even easier, while portable showers and other amenities were brought in for weekend campers.

With a wide variety of food and drink stands, as well as truck accessory stalls and vendors for the enthusiasts, the showgoers and exhibitors alike were well catered for.

And, as usual, the kids were entertained with rides and jumping castles.

The Castlemaine Truck Show was started by Marie and Lil White, who were both involved with the Spastic Society, and it grew quickly as participants and patrons enjoyed the setting and the atmosphere.

Doug Parsons, one of the show’s early organisers, said the show became too big too fast, leading to well-known transport operator Keith Thompson initiating the move for Rotary to take over.

"A few of the old members were a bit negative but it went from there to where it is today — an absolutely tremendous show," Doug says.

"The quality of trucks has increased, as has patronage of the show itself.

"You learn every year and after 20 years I think they are 99.9 per cent up there."

Castlemaine has always been a trucking town, and other transport identities involved from the early days include Phil Duce and the late Ron Rice.

"The gate was Ron’s job and he would stay there from daylight until dark," Doug recalls.

"He wouldn’t move, as long as they bought him a drink and a snack."

Sadly, his familiar face wasn’t at the gate in November as Ron passed away two weeks before the event.

"Ron also did lots of maintenance work around this oval for free," Doug explains.

"He put a great deal into this show, he was on the committee and never missed a meeting. He was there from the start."

This year, in a fitting tribute to Ron, three of his trucks led the convoy through the streets of Castlemaine.

 

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Long Way Down

Dwayne Slocum (above) drove 1350km from Kempsey in a 2012 Western Star, with his son Jarryd and girlfriend Ellie Blight tagging along.

The Western Star was one of four Jordan Reckoski trucks on show at Castlemaine.

Three of the four — a Scania, a Volvo and an older Western Star — are subcontracted to Karras Cold Logistics, while Dwayne’s Western Star hauls cars for Patrick Auto Care.

The Western Star is almost three years old, and has 630,000km on the clock.

Before hauling cars, Dwayne spent 20 years carting sawdust and wood chips.

"Jarryd and I love good-looking trucks and we’ve influenced Jordan," he says, adding that he drove the older-model Western Star before it was modified.

"It was a day cab but over six months it had the chassis extended, two round tanks replaced with square tanks and tool boxes," he explains. "Klos Bros fitted the sleeper."

 

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Back To Work

There were a few rebuilt W-model Kenworths at Castlemaine, but arguably the smartest belonged to Whitelock’s Bulk Transport.

Daniel Whitelock (above, left) says Castlemaine was a great place to show off his trucks, as he believes people enjoy checking out the old gear.

He said this W model was only booked in for a respray but that soon became a complete rebuild.

It’s had a few owners in its lifetime, and Daniel will shortly be putting it back to work, running Bendigo-Adelaide and Bendigo-Sydney.

The W model joins 14 other trucks in the Whitelock fleet, another of which, a T950, was also at Castlemaine with James Webb behind the wheel.

The T950 was originally operated by Preston’s of Leeton and underwent a refurbishment a couple of years ago.

"The truck needs to pay itself off," Daniel says.

"It still has the good old Cummins 400hp and gets better fuel economy than the new ones."

 

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Restored Ford

Michael Donimos’s Lalor Towing Ford F650 was one of the rarest trucks at Castlemaine.

"It’s the only one in Australia," Michael says.

"It has a 360hp Cummins and an Allison automatic. With a GCM of 20 tonnes, I can carry light trucks; it’s very versatile and nimble."

Imported into Queensland, the Ford sat in a shed for two years before being offered up for sale. It then went through a restoration process.

"I grabbed it when I saw it," Michael enthuses.

"It’s a top piece of machinery and this is a top place to show it off."

Michael reckoned Castlemaine was all about having a few beers, talking a bit of crap and catching up with friends.

"It’s a great weekend," he says.

 

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Rebuilt Kenworth

Paul Askew and his son Daniel have put the finishing touches to their 1997 Kenworth T601 following a three-and-a-half-year restoration.

"The truck works every day, towing a fridge van for Rand," Paul says. "It’s had a hard life."

The T601’s birthday included a total engine rebuild, replacement of both diffs, the body repainted and the interior refurbished.

"It’s the beauty of a Kenworth — you can rebuild them," Paul continues.

"It took so long because I have to work it, so it was done bit by bit. But now it’s time to show what we’ve done. Castlemaine is a great show; a good weekend with good people."

 

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John Wilson was busy adding the final polish to a Building Products Supplies 2014 Kenworth T909 when we caught up with him.

"It rarely gets dirty – I love showing it off," John says.

"It’s a company truck although I’m the only one who drives it."

He was able to choose what truck he wanted to drive, he added, explaining his passion for the 909.

This was John’s third visit to Castlemaine, and his second with the Kenworth.

He regularly runs up to Sydney from Melbourne in the 909, pulling a set of B-double tautliners.

"This is everything I wanted, my dream truck. It’s my pride and joy, and Castlemaine is a great place to come and show it off."

 

Relaxed Mack

Matt Kane’s black Mack Superliner certainly stood out from the crowd, especially with the large bulldog on the flank.

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Matt says it’s an ex-Jack Daniel’s Experience truck; he bought it eight years ago with 90,000km on the clock.

"When we got the truck, it did a mixed bag of work — heavy duty, B-doubles and singles but now it has an easy life; it stays in the shed at home with me," he says.

Matt is Ballarat-based and runs 14 trucks, although he’s mostly involved with maintenance these days.

The Mack, a 2005 model, has now clocked up 800,000km and it’s one of the last Macks with a C15 Cat under the bonnet.

"It’s more of a toy than a workhorse now," Matt continues.

"It’s a nice bit of gear and will stay in the fleet forever."

Matt’s been to Castlemaine a few times but is usually a Sunday-only visitor.

"This year we thought we’d spend Saturday night, kick back, talk to a few people, have a few beers and just relax."

 

Castlemaine Winners

Rig of the Show: SDK Transport, Western Star 4894

Best Rig less than two years: RJ & CK Traise Cartage, Kenworth T909

Best Rig 2-7 years: Cornwill Transport, Kenworth T908

Best Rig 7-14 years: Muscat Haulage, Kenworth K104

Best Rig older than 14 years: Cornfoot Bros Earthmoving, Kenworth SAR

Best Classic: G&J Travis Transport, Kenworth S2

Best Fleet: Frank Cattuso Transport

Best Rigid: R&R Logistics, Fuso 1627

Best Tow Recovery: Michael Donimos, Lalor Towing, Ford F650

Best Tilt Tray: Tingay Towing, Hino FD

Best Tipper: S&S Tyquin, Kenworth K200

Best Custom: NGH Express, Peterbilt 388

Best Kenworth: Latorre Transport, Kenworth K200

Best Mack: Ross Transport, Mack Superliner

Best Peterbilt: Keffords Trucking, Peterbilt 379 EXTHD

Best Western Star: Kuchel Contractors, Western Star 4900

Best Volvo: Bjurkic Transport, Volvo FH70

Rig of the Day (Saturday): Michael Bransgrove, 2013 Freightliner Coronado

 

 

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