Victoria’s best at Castlemaine Truck Show

By: Warren Aitken


It’s one of the last shows of the calendar year, but it’s certainly not the least. Deals on Wheels headed to Victoria in November to soak up the vibe of the Rotary-run Castlemaine Truck Show

 

It wouldn’t be a real truck show without at least one extreme Pete, and this one fitted the bill perfectly

There has always been certain things I’ve wanted to accomplish in my life – see a Kiwi win the Bathurst 1000 (several times now), photograph a whale breaching (just the one time), order one thing of every section of a McDonalds’ menu just so the server can’t ask, "would you like blah blah with that" (seriously, $48 spent and I forgot friggin’ fries), and spend a weekend experiencing Victoria’s Castlemaine Truck Show.

After many years of enjoying the Adtrans-sponsored Castlemaine Truck Show from afar, thanks to the power of social media (including Owner//Driver’s regular coverage), I finally had the opportunity to go forth and experience one of Victoria’s best truck shows. Living vicariously through images on social media is nowhere near as good as being there, trust me. It was an awesome show.

For the record, not only was it my first time at the truck show, it was also the first time at Castlemaine itself. I’d seen plenty, I mean plenty of photos from previous shows and the quantity and quality has always been top notch, leading you to naturally assume it must be a decent size city to host such high calibre rigs.

In a showground full of big Kenworths, Mustafa Sular’s superb Scania stood out. Mustafa has owned the Scania for two years, towing for AirRoad. Truck Shine in Campbellfield jumped on board with him and along with help from family and friends they’ve turned the rig into a working showpiece

The truth be told, Castlemaine has a population of less than 10,000 people. With several trucking companies based out of there, including the famous Thompson Transport, Castlemaine has its fair share of outstanding rigs that turn up to support the Rotary-run show.

The nearby towns of Bendigo, Ballarat and everywhere in between supply a vast number of entrants each year. However, it’s the out of towners that take the numbers into the hundreds, including some from other parts of regional Victoria as well as Melbourne.

There were more than a few interstate trucks too, including Ryan Demasi’s stunning Hulk-inspired Kenworth which came over from Perth for the show. The always impressive south-east Queensland-based SRV Freight Lines had a few of their best on show as well.

The attendance numbers were staggering, including a couple of celebrity appearances. TV identity Yogi was there, as well as Laurie Williams and his Phat Trucks display, including the crowd-pleasing Bullet Burnout Truck.

I had to take a second look at young Miles and his big K200. Wettenhalls is not the name you expect to see on the side of a 250 tonne rated heavy haulage truck, but it showed how in the dark I was. Wettenhalls has been getting a lot of work out of the big Kenworth and Miles does a great job of making it look brand new

TRUCKS AND SWAGS

The show, which ran over the entire weekend of November 23 and 24, is slightly different to your standard truck show. I arrived on the Friday so I could have a good look around and get an idea of how things would run. I was a little surprised to find I wasn’t as early as I thought; there were plenty of trucks that had already rolled in and lots of swags rolled out as the owners and drivers were knee deep into polishing and preparation.

The whole show has a very country town feel and I guess that’s why it’s become so popular. Drivers have been turning up to Castlemaine for years and see it not just as a day to show off their pride and joy but also as a weekend to catch up with mates. Sure, the competition to blind the guy next to you with the reflection off your rims is intense, but there is also a fair intention to just get blind with the guy next to you once the polishing rags are down.

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HIGH-FLYING ENTERTAINMENT

As well as the early birds rolling up on Friday, marques were being set up while a huge ramp was assembled. Oh, did I forget to mention the entertainment as well? As for food, there was a lot more options than your standard Dagwood dogs. Elsewhere, there were trade stalls, craft stalls and even remote-controlled trucks.

There were plenty of activities for the junior truckies too, notably a couple of lunatics on FMX bikes pulling gravity-defying moves in the middle of the showgrounds – definitely mad but highly entertaining.

I shouldn’t forget to add that those camping in the showgrounds over the weekend were also catered for, with a showing of the movie Duel projected on a giant screen on Saturday night.

Back to the trucks – the Castlemaine Truck Show allows for you to turn up either Saturday or Sunday. They have a special ‘Truck of the Day’ prize for those that registered and arrived on the Saturday and then on the Sunday they have a parade through town and a full prize giving in the afternoon. I was extremely impressed by the amount of people lining the streets to watch the convoy roll through.

There isn’t that many streets in Castlemaine so full credit to the rotary volunteers who managed to hide all the trucks down the side-streets and get them rolling with such efficiency. Extremely impressive!

All in all, I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed my first Rotary Castlemaine Truck Show. It’s always the people that make or break any show and everyone there was super friendly. The standard of trucks would rival any show I’ve been to.

There were so many trucks I would love to shine a spotlight on but thankfully I have their names and numbers of many, so stay tuned for some pretty cool stories to follow.

Thanks again to all those involved in the Rotary Castlemaine Truck Show. I will definitely be back.

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