Lights of the Riverina

Oaklands 2017 1 Copy Oaklands 2017 1 Copy
Oaklands 2017 2 Keith McBean was one of many who attended the Oaklands’ Truck Show out of respect for his former friend Wayne ‘Marto’ Martin.Driving a Mack, Keith was one of the early birds, arriving on the Saturday. “It’s a good little show this one, and a lot of people come because it’s not far from the Hume,” he says. After 25 years behind the wheel, Keith still enjoys the job but is wary of where the industry is headed, especially with electronic work diaries.“It was bad enough when they were cracking down on spelling and names, so imagine what is going to happen when electronic books come in. It will create a whole heap of headaches!” Oaklands 2017 2
Oaklands 2017 19 Geoffro McKane with Kerrie Martin and Rebecca MartinGeoffro McKane was another driver to bring along one of the old Kenworth T950 Legends. Geoffro is engaged to Kerri Martin, sister of the late Wayne ‘Marto’ Martin. Kerrie and her sister Rebecca accompanied Geoffro to the Oaklands, the trio all sporing ‘Shine On Marto’ T-shirts.In addition a banner on the T950’s cab paid tribute to Geoffro’s good friend.Geoffro says the T950 has now done 160,000km and in his opinion is a beautiful truck.“This is my third year at this show and it’s very special because last year was the last weekend we got to spend with him.Geoffro says Marto loved cleaning trucks and shining them up, while Kerrie was pleased that the Oaklands’ light show was dedicated to Marto. Oaklands 2017 19
Oaklands 2017 33 Luke and Sheree McIntosh who own Kyzer Kustoms brought an example of their handiwork to Oaklands – an International TranStar owned by Shannon Gunn.“We do custom truck modifications, fit all the stainless steel and aluminium to trucks and this was a great job,” Luke smiles. “We also had the interior re-trimmed.”Luke says, according to Shannon, the International featured one of only three bunk extensions that were completed by Truck Art, the others being another TranStar and an S Line.“This truck was originally a day cab. When Shannon found this extender bunk, he got the chassis stretched and put the bunk on,” Luke says.“It’s Shannon’s toy. He really likes the TranStars and the results are something very special.” Oaklands 2017 33
Oaklands 2017 34 Sam Fazzalari rolled up in a 1985 Kenworth K125 which he says has been part of his family for the past 19 years. It’s the third year he’s brought the K125 to Oaklands.“I was only a kid when the old man bought it and I’ve spent some money on it, mainly the running gear. It still drives well, much better than a late model truck.”The K125 has a 400 Cummins under the bunk and a 13 speed overdrive ’box.“The plan is one day to strip it back and repaint it in its original colours,” he says.Sam explains that the Kenworth carted out of Bega and Strathmerton for 16 years with a fridge van but it’s now in retirement, making appearances at shows only. Oaklands 2017 34
Oaklands 2017 37 The Ballerini family of Cobram have been operating trucks for 45 years and Joseph Ballerini brought their latest to the Oaklands Truck Show, a K200 big cab Kenworth.Joseph says there are three trucks in the family fleet that do general freight down to Melbourne and back, as well as country Victoria runs.Joseph’s grandfather started the business with an old Dodge before Joseph’s father Vince joined the business.According to Joseph, a lot of work has gone into the K200 with stainless and chrome added, all completed by Kyzer Kustoms.“It makes it easier to keep clean,” he says. “You just wash and wipe and you’re all done.”Joseph has wanted to attend the Oaklands show for a couple of years but he says something has always come up. This year he made sure that he’d definltely make the trip.“It’s great to catch up with all the boys here and show off the gear so it’s all good.” Oaklands 2017 37
Oaklands 2017 48 David ‘Stumpy’ Connor is a regular at Oaklands each year. For David, it’s all about showing off his truck and catching up with mates.“It’s a great weekend,” he says.David drives a 2015 Kenworth K200 for Canny Carrying Company in Wangaratta. He’s been with the company for seven years.“We have six of these new and I run Melbourne-Brisbane doing one a week up to Brisbane and filling in the week with a Melbourne run,” he says. Oaklands 2017 48
Oaklands 2017 50 Terry Collier had arguably one of the brightest trucks at Oaklands - a 1975 Kenworth SAR which he puts to work daily hauling grain. The colour scheme is a leftover from its days hauling race cars for a previous owner.The original Detroit 8V71 was upgraded to an 8V92T, now putting out 475hp. An 18-speed overdrive box has been coupled to the GM while the rear end is still the original four-spring Reyco.“This is the first time I’ve ever been to a truck show,” Terry says. “I brought the SAR along in memory of my son Lachlan who was a diesel mechanic.”Lachlan Collier died in a car accident close to four years ago, and Terry says it was his son who rebuilt the SAR.“We stripped it back to two chassis rails but didn’t paint the cab,” he explains. Oaklands 2017 50
Oaklands 2017 52 Greenfreight is one of the most recognisable fleets in Australia, as driver Hayden Floate testifies.Hayden drove one of the Greenfreight’s bright green K200s to Oaklands – and it’s a nearly new Kenworth at that. He’s been with the company for three years and says his runs can take him anywhere from Adelaide to Brisbane.“I’m one of the linehaul blokes and I like the variety,” he smiles.Hayden has been driving for eight years all-up and says Kenworths are continually getting better with every new model that comes out.“This one rides a whole lot smoother and the seals are much better making it more driver friendly,” he enthuses.“This is my fourth year running B-doubles and I still have the passion. It’s a great job and Oaklands is an opportunity to show off my truck and represent Greenfreight positively.“I have a passion for keeping the truck clean and shiny so it’s great to bring it over and show it off.” Oaklands 2017 52
Oaklands 2017 54 While offal is not every driver’s preferred freight, it’s what Killen Trucking specialises in.The company, based at Howlong, had three trucks of its 17 trucks on show at Oaklands, with Jared Boyle driving a 4900 Western Star.Killen and is one of 17 trucks in the fleet based in Howlong in NSW, just an hour or so down the road.“I do a daily run down to Colac five days a week and pick up out of there,” Jared says.As like many at the show, the weekend held much meaning for Jared as Wayne ‘Marto’ Martin was one of the groomsmen in his wedding.“He drove me to the wedding in his truck,” Jared says.“I didn’t get to see him last year when he won the small fleet award with Dawson’s and I thought this year I would come across, support and get among it.” Oaklands 2017 54
Oaklands 2017 55 Jared Boyle, Craig Sibraa and Anthony Bartlett enjoying a good day out Oaklands 2017 55
Oaklands 2017 56 Dawson’s Haulage picked up Best Truck up to 3 years with its T950 Legend Oaklands 2017 56
Oaklands 2017 72 Nathan Magill and Chantelle Henderson brought a year-old Kenworth K200 to Oaklands on behalf of Berrigan Hay Logistics.Nathan says the truck is mainly used for hauling straw to Sydney and Brisbane, and picking up from mushroom farms.“Mushrooms are a big thing these days and it keeps me busy most of the year,” he says. “When it slows down I do tipper work.”For Nathan, Oaklands was an opportunity to give the truck a very good polish.“It took me long enough to polish so I may as well let someone look at it,” he grins. Oaklands 2017 72
Oaklands 2017 97 Scott Hawkins, Peter Fruend, Belinda Bice, Georgie Fruend, Tim Hawkins and Kylie Hawkins with Scott’s T401, which picked up the ‘lights’ award on Saturday night Oaklands 2017 97
Oaklands 2017 99 Birkinshaw Transport’s stunning green T409 SAR was the runner-up for Truck of the Show Oaklands 2017 99
Oaklands 2017 127 It was lights on for Gunn Freight’s 1998 International TranStar, which won Best Truck 10-29 years Oaklands 2017 127
Oaklands 2017 210 The Kenworth lights show, including Jimmy Russell’s T909 which picked up the Best Truck 4 to 9 years trophy Oaklands 2017 210
Oaklands 2017 218 Anthony Boland’s 2007 Peterbilt lights up the sky Oaklands 2017 218
Oaklands 2017 234 Anthony Boland’s big white Pete was hard to miss, especially with all lights blazing on the Saturday night.The Peterbilt is one of two trucks which Anthony and his father Nick own, the other being a Kenworth T404.Based at Wynton, both trucks pull a single flat top carting steel between Melbourne and Sydney.“This is the old man’s truck,” Anthony says. “We’ve had it for two years and this is the first show we’ve been to.”The Pete, with a C15 Cat, is a 2007 model and one of the last of the extended bonnets.“It’s a bit old school that suits us,” Anthony says. “We carry steel so we get to play with chains and dogs and tarps.”Anthony hasn’t ventured into interstate driving, his diesel mechanic work keeping him busy enough.“I just get the pleasure to work on them and bring them out every now and again,” he says.“I hope that by the end of the year I will be the one driving it.” Oaklands 2017 234
Oaklands 2017 240 Macklin Transport’s 2007 FM Volvo (left) was the winner of Best Specialised Truck Oaklands 2017 240
Oaklands 2017 242 Historic vehicles make an important part of the Oaklands Truck Show Adrian Creek and his grandson Travis CreekA 1964 International ABD 1840 was one of number of historic vehicles on show at Oakland. Adrian Creek, who arrived with his son Travis, explains that the old Inter was Ron Finemore’s very first truck which pulled a two-and-a-half deck stock crate. Ron has since donated the truck to the Australian Road Transport Historical Centre at Gundagai.Adrian himself is a former Finemore’s driver from as early as 1972.“I worked for Ron for quite a while,” he says. “He already had 35 trucks by then and I still have my logbook.”Back then the Inter cost $8000 and had a 160 Cummins engine, pulled a 34ft trailer and had a capacity of 26 tonnes. It featured air hydraulic brakes and electric bunkers. Oaklands 2017 242
Oaklands 2017 249 NGH Express 2015 388 Peterbilt won the People’s Choice and Best Customised Truck awards Oaklands 2017 249
Oaklands 2017 255 Truck of the show (right): R& S Trucking’s 1993 Kenworth T900 Oaklands 2017 255
Oaklands 2017 271 Gray’s Transport from Finley was voted Best Fleet Oaklands 2017 271

The rigs were aglow and a few tears were shed at the NSW town of Oaklands in March when the rigs from the Riverina and beyond gathered for the annual truck show. Peter and Di Schlenk write


The Oaklands Truck Show was a bittersweet occasion for the family and friends of the late Wayne ‘Marto’ Martin when the Saturday night light show on March 18 was named in Wayne’s honour.

As the venue’s lights were turned off, the LEDs of close to 100 rigs were switched on, creating a spectacular glow around Oaklands’ Recreational Ground.

Dawson Haulage driver Wayne had attended the 2016 Oaklands Truck Show and, together with two other Dawson Haulage trucks, took out the small fleet category.

Four days after the show while travelling near Deniliquin, Wayne was involved in a fatal head-on collision.

The respect that Marto had was evident at his funeral when 110 trucks lined Plunketts Road at Barnawartha for his farewell.

The Oaklands Truck Show Committee says dedicating the light show after Wayne was its way of honouring his memory. In addition, Peter and Michelle Martin, Wayne’s parents, donated a perpetual trophy for the show, as well as the award for the winning driver.

Dawson  Haulage also donated $500 cash towards the winner of the small fleet award the following day.

While it was a big Saturday night, the best was to come up Sunday which kicked off with a bacon and egg breakfast, thanks to the Berrigan Lions Club, while the Finley Lions Club also provided assistance for the truck show.

Tandem sky jumpers parachuting onto the grounds was the first of many events on March 19, including children’s activities and the Rocker Cover races.

As the afternoon progressed, Dawson’s Haulage driver Andrew ‘Dicko’ Dickins did his bit for charity, participating in the world’s greatest shave where he lost his long locks and beard. Andrew, who drove a T950 Kenworth ‘Legend’, later picked up the award for Best Truck 4 to 9 years.

Local driver John ‘Jack’ Henry Good was inducted onto the Oaklands’ Honour Board. The annual acknowledgment recognises the contribution an individual has made towards the industry within the Oaklands’.

Jack says one of the highlights of his career being awarded a certificate, tie pin and belt buckle for travelling 500,000km in a Mercedes-Benz while working for WJ & HE Hayes Transport in the 1970s.

R & S Trucking’s 1993 Kenworth T900 was awarded the trophy for Truck of the Show, while Burkinshaw Transport’s T409 SAR was runner-up.

This year’s two-day event was another success, and the committee, volunteers, industry and families are looking forward to the 10th anniversary 2018 Oaklands Truck Show.


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