In Pictures: 2016 Geelong Camp Quality Convoy

By: Greg Bush


The general public embraced the convoy concept. The general public embraced the convoy concept. The general public embraced the convoy concept.
Brian Buttigieg brought his son Blair to the convoy. Brian drives a Kenworth T609 for Riordan’s Grain Services. Brian Buttigieg brought his son Blair to the convoy. Brian drives a Kenworth T609 for Riordan’s Grain Services. Brian Buttigieg brought his son Blair to the convoy. Brian drives a Kenworth T609 for Riordan’s Grain Services.
Camp Quality’s Lee Emberton and Jo McKeown. Camp Quality’s Lee Emberton and Jo McKeown. Camp Quality’s Lee Emberton and Jo McKeown.
It was a 200km trip for Ramsey James Whelan and Nickel Trading’s Kenworth T909 from Rochester. It was a 200km trip for Ramsey James Whelan and Nickel Trading’s Kenworth T909 from Rochester. It was a 200km trip for Ramsey James Whelan and Nickel Trading’s Kenworth T909 from Rochester.
Cleanaway’s fleet of Dennis trucks tagged along. Cleanaway’s fleet of Dennis trucks tagged along. Cleanaway’s fleet of Dennis trucks tagged along.
By 1.30pm the Geelong Showgrounds were chockers. By 1.30pm the Geelong Showgrounds were chockers. By 1.30pm the Geelong Showgrounds were chockers.
Trucks and bikes at the ready to depart from Avalon. Trucks and bikes at the ready to depart from Avalon. Trucks and bikes at the ready to depart from Avalon.
The queue at the showground gates. The queue at the showground gates. The queue at the showground gates.
Joe Strawford of Riordan Grain Services had the honour of driving the lead truck, a Kenworth T409 SAR. Joe Strawford of Riordan Grain Services had the honour of driving the lead truck, a Kenworth T409 SAR. Joe Strawford of Riordan Grain Services had the honour of driving the lead truck, a Kenworth T409 SAR.
A StarTrack Express FH Volvo joins its Australia Post ‘brothers’ in the airport line-up. A StarTrack Express FH Volvo joins its Australia Post ‘brothers’ in the airport line-up. A StarTrack Express FH Volvo joins its Australia Post ‘brothers’ in the airport line-up.
NGH Express’ Peterbilt makes its showground entrance. NGH Express’ Peterbilt makes its showground entrance. NGH Express’ Peterbilt makes its showground entrance.
‘Muscles’ Gray drove his Peterbilt down from NSW. ‘Muscles’ Gray drove his Peterbilt down from NSW. ‘Muscles’ Gray drove his Peterbilt down from NSW.
NGH Express workshop manager Ian Duncan attracted plenty of onlookers driving the company’s ‘toy’, a near-new Peterbilt. NGH Express workshop manager Ian Duncan attracted plenty of onlookers driving the company’s ‘toy’, a near-new Peterbilt. NGH Express workshop manager Ian Duncan attracted plenty of onlookers driving the company’s ‘toy’, a near-new Peterbilt.
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Steven Bolton, driving a 2009 Argosy for Cardinia-based Andway, is ready to depart Avalon Airport. Steven Bolton, driving a 2009 Argosy for Cardinia-based Andway, is ready to depart Avalon Airport. Steven Bolton, driving a 2009 Argosy for Cardinia-based Andway, is ready to depart Avalon Airport.
Owner-driver David Mendelson, who goes by the name of Independent Equipment Transport, was happy to support a good cause with his Kenworth T909. Owner-driver David Mendelson, who goes by the name of Independent Equipment Transport, was happy to support a good cause with his Kenworth T909. Owner-driver David Mendelson, who goes by the name of Independent Equipment Transport, was happy to support a good cause with his Kenworth T909.
‘Sally’s Nightmare’, a spotless Iveco Powerstar, in position at Avalon Airport. ‘Sally’s Nightmare’, a spotless Iveco Powerstar, in position at Avalon Airport. ‘Sally’s Nightmare’, a spotless Iveco Powerstar, in position at Avalon Airport.
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Churchill Transport’s 600hp Mack Super-Liner. Churchill Transport’s 600hp Mack Super-Liner. Churchill Transport’s 600hp Mack Super-Liner.
Nathan Gordon and Justin Klos up front of Dave Larsen’s refurbished W model Kenworth. Nathan Gordon and Justin Klos up front of Dave Larsen’s refurbished W model Kenworth. Nathan Gordon and Justin Klos up front of Dave Larsen’s refurbished W model Kenworth.
O’Neil Transport from Ballarat had multiple convoy entries. O’Neil Transport from Ballarat had multiple convoy entries. O’Neil Transport from Ballarat had multiple convoy entries.
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Geelong Camp Quality Convoy events TT23 A bonanza under the bonnet of NGH Express' Peterbilt. Geelong Camp Quality Convoy events TT23
En route to Geelong’s showgrounds. En route to Geelong’s showgrounds. En route to Geelong’s showgrounds.
Stars and more stars on this Western Star 20th anniversary model. Stars and more stars on this Western Star 20th anniversary model. Stars and more stars on this Western Star 20th anniversary model.
Wettenhalls' Colac branch operations manager Karl McEwan. Wettenhalls' Colac branch operations manager Karl McEwan. Wettenhalls' Colac branch operations manager Karl McEwan.

Following the success of this year’s Geelong Camp Quality Convoy, Victoria can lay claim to having the most well-attended regional truck shows in Australia. Greg Bush writes

 

Last year, in the lead up to the inaugural Geelong Camp Quality Convoy, organisers expected around 50 trucks to turn up.

Instead, the convoy attracted 197 entrants.

The second convoy, held on February 14 this year, blew that figure away with 372 trucks registered to take part.

The Geelong Camp Quality Convoy was not only a success for the fundraising arm of the children’s charity, but also for Victoria’s trucking industry.

Lee Emberton, state manager for Camp Quality Tasmania and Victoria, and Jo McKeown, Camp Quality’s fundraising coordinator, were both thrilled with the result.

It also reaffirmed the decision to base the convoy in Geelong.

"Certainly we did our research when we were looking at where in Victoria to hold the convoy," Lee says.

"And Victoria is fortunate in that everything is really close."

The Geelong Camp Quality had its origins when one of its volunteers, truck driver Joff van Ek, attended the i98FM Camp Quality Convoy in NSW’s Illawarra district a few years ago.

Joff, also a fire brigade member, returned with the idea of duplicating that event in Victoria.

As Lee explains, the ball began rolling more than three years ago with a number of initial conversations, and then the formation of a committee.

"We delivered the first convoy in February 2015, and Joff stayed on to be a part of Camp Quality and support us taking it to the next level," he says.

 

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Leading the way

As per last year’s event, the trucks congregated at Avalon Airport in preparation for the 36km trip to Geelong Showgrounds.

Normally a 30 minute drive, the larger number of trucks meant that the tail end of the convoy arrived at its destination around two hours after the lead truck.

Also, in a repeat of last year, Riordan Grain Services outbid the opposition to again take the lead truck position.

Riordan’s transport manager Joe Strawford, driving a Kenworth T409 SAR, says the company undertook "some fairly aggressive fundraising efforts among the team".

"And some good industry sponsors and suppliers came on board with us and everyone pulled together so we managed to get lead position again."

Based in nearby Lara, Riordan’s had a total of 17 trucks out of its fleet of 21 taking part in the convoy.

In addition, three Nickel Trading trucks, which sub-contract for Riordan’s, also made the trip from Rochester near the NSW border.

 

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    It was a 200km trip for Ramsey James Whelan and Nickel Trading’s Kenworth T909 from Rochester.

 

Ramsey James Whelan, driving a Kenworth T909 for Nickel, warmed up for the event on the cool Avalon Airport morning by cleaning the windscreen of his fellow drivers, and a few others as well.

"We’ve got four B-doubles on the road, but the fourth one’s not here today unfortunately," Ramsey says.

One of the recipients for Ramsey’s windscreen cleaning was ‘Muscles’ Gray, driving a Peterbilt.

He’s owned the Peterbilt for six years, and as for the ‘Muscles’ moniker, he says it’s the only name that he is known by.

Despite his health issues, Muscles drove down from Tocumwal where he operates a family business, Gray’s Containers, with his brother Barry.

"I didn’t come last year; I was sick, but I can get about now," Muscles says. "I can’t work, but I’ve still got my truck."

 

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‘Muscles’ Gray drove his Peterbilt down from NSW.

 

Show trucks

However, it was the NGH Express Peterbilt which turned heads during the convoy, and again at the showgrounds.

NGH workshop manager Ian Duncan says the orange Peterbilt is brand new, although it took two years to get it to the finished product it is today after being imported from the United States.

Ian says Truckworks in Adelaide converted the Peterbilt to right-hand drive.

"Scotty Seedsman at Aim Autographics did all the graphics," he explains.

"He does all the Southern 80 boats, and this is first truck he’s ever done."

Ian says the Geelong Camp Quality Convoy is the first event of its type he’s driven in since the 1980s.

What better place to parade the Peterbilt, which he says is the star of the NGH Express fleet.

"We do B-triples from Melbourne to Perth, and most of the trucks are Volvo Globetrotters. This is the toy," he adds, pointing to the Peterbilt.

Almost equally as detailed was Dave Larsen’s 1986 Kenworth W924. Nathan Gordon of Clean Fleet Truck Detailing and Justin Klos of Klos Bros Custom Trucks say the W model was originally a John Deere show truck.

"It used to go around the countryside showing off tractors, and then went over to the west and up into Darwin," Justin says.

"We bought it, brought it back to life, worked it, then sold it to Jon Kelly. Jon repainted it and did his bit to it, and now Dave Larsen owns it."

 

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Nathan Gordon and Justin Klos up front of Dave Larsen’s refurbished W model Kenworth.

 

Convoy stragglers

Ross Transport’s well-travelled Mack ‘Devil Dog’ Super-Liner was another eye-catcher, although it brought up the rear of the field, arriving at the showgrounds after 1pm.

And it’s the traffic flow that Lee Emberton would like to see improve for next year’s event.

"All those ideas are already ticking over," he says.

"We saw some breakups in the pack with the traffic lights, so we’re going to petition really hard and we’ll ask to make sure we get green lights and try to keep ourselves as a tight knit group.

"It’s a bit refined from last year, and we parked them well on the oval today, and they’re all on display which is great."

Lee says it was pleasing to see fleets taking part, such as Riordan’s, Wettenhalls and even Cleanaway representatives. It all augurs well for the 2017 event.

"We’re not experts in running convoys, but we want to surround ourselves with experts that are passionate about trucks but also passionate about our organisation," he explains.

"And I think that’s the perfect mix of making this event work."

 

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Wettenhalls' Colac branch operations manager Karl McEwan.

 

Fleet first

Wettenhalls had one of the largest representations, with 21 trucks taking part in the Geelong Camp Quality Convoy.

This includes a DAF CF85, driven by the company’s Colac branch operations manager Karl McEwan.

Karl says Wettenhalls played a part in last year’s event, and covered all costs to again support the 2016 convoy.

"We use a lot of Paccar trucks, so a lot of Kenworths and DAFs; the DAFS more on local runs," he says.

With its auto gearbox, Karl says the CF85 is a "ripping truck to drive".

"It normally tows a 53ft quad van trailer up to Colac from Melbourne each day, but we just cleaned it up and brought it down for the day." 

 

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