COOL weather and bright North Coast sunshine welcomed the 35th annual Grafton Truck Drivers Social Club June long weekend truck parade and show, with this year's event best described as a battle of the bold and the old with examples from both ends of the trucking spectrum drawing large interest from drivers and the public alike.
All American Custom Chrome's and ScuzzTrans's bold Kenworth (Hot 425), Peterbuilt (Optimus Prime) and Western Star (Ned Kelly) were a huge hit showcasing their mobile examples of fine custom artwork, alloy and chrome to both the public during the parade through Grafton and drew many interested admirers and enquiries once the Big Rigs were all gathered back at the Hotel 5.
Owned by Scott McSweeney, Marsell Watego and Andrew McSweeney respectively, the level of detail and customisation was something not regularly seen at the Grafton event.
Only departing from Sydney the evening before and having to give the trucks a final clean-up before the parade at 10am, Scott was only too proud to show off the results of his efforts and his 1993 Kenworth T900 with a 'tuned' 425 Cat 5406C stirring a 18-speed road ranger with custom interior including timber floor boards certainly had tongues wagging.
Parked not far away, another vehicle creating much interest was Kirby Maxwell's recently completed and rare 1971 Oshkosh R Model.
For those that ran the Pacific Highway during the 70s through to the late 90s, would remember the Maxwell's towing Oshkosh based out of Kew just north of Port Macquarie.
What many don't know is, in 1997 Kirby reluctantly sold this classic, but upon finding it again 10 years later in Adelaide, in a much dilapidated condition, he re-acquired it and brought it home to Kew to be restored. With this being the Oshkosh's first public outing, Kirby couldn't have been happier with the results and was proud to show off details, including the "old fashioned" hand signwriting and Indian artwork as well as the installation of a 400hp 3406B Cat motor. The judges agreed, with the truck taking out two awards, including the Golden Oldie.
If there was an award for the truck that had travelled the farthest to attend or the loudest air horns of the parade, then Wayne Burridge's Mack "Tanami" Titan, belonging to HSM Contracting and Haulage, would definitely have been a shoe in. Wayne, a Graftonian who works at the Broadmeadow coal mine west of Mackay hauling tripple side tippers grossing 120 ton, brought the truck the 1400km home on his week off to enter in this year's event. With a Gen II Signature rated at 630hp pulling all that weight through an 18 speed and "some bloody big diffs", Wayne had a beaming smile on his face with the results of his efforts on this mining workhorse.
But it was another local, a recluse, who created the most interest of the day for those who had gathered at the Hotel 5. Who would believe an Autocar with a genuine 671 miles on the odometer existed? Many locals knew of the
existence of this truck but had never seen it. Purchased new by the late Doug Scott in 1970, this rare example of the White trucks stable was driven from Sydney to Grafton by Doug and then parked in a rural shed where it stayed for the next 42 years!
Although it was parked under cover, this recluse wasn't well protected and suffered over time from vandalism and vermin and was not in a good shape when Des McLennan and Michelle Price obtained permission from Doug's family to tidy the vehicle up to put on display. The 250hp NH Cummins ran just like new, well basically because it still was!
With plans to re-expand next year's event with a move back to the Grafton Showgrounds to accommodate more vehicles and the ball to be held at a separate venue, one can only look forward to the surprises, high quality and opportunities to catch up that next year will bring.
Prime mover 0 - 11 mths Danny Kingsley, Kingsley Transport
Prime mover 1 - 5 yrs Trevor Schmitt, Justin Booth Transport
Prime mover 6 - 10 yrs Scott Perkins, StockTrans
Prime mover 11 - 15 yrs Rod McRae, Daniel & Son Transport
Golden oldies Kirby Maxwell, Maxwell Transport
Best rigid vehicle Rick McLennan, McLennan earthmoving
Fleet 4 or more StockTrans
Best recovery vehicle Mick Simpson, Maxwell Transport
Best speciality vehicle Bob Connors, Ballina truck & trailer repairs
Best members truck (Neil Pearce memorial trophy) Trent Gordon, Greensill Bros
Best bush log truck Trent Gordon, Greensill Bros
Best livestock Scott Perkins, Stock Trans
Best Ford/Sterling Mick Simpson, Maxwell transport
Best Freightliner Brenton Cromack, Cromack transport
Best Iveco/International Simon Wright, Daniel & Son transport
Best Isuzu Josh Fields, BGC Haulage
Best Kenworth Murray Schaeffer, Nicholson & Page Transport
Best DAF Neil Sandoz, Daniel & Son transport
Best Mack Andy Saggus, BKB Logging
Best Volvo Peter Millard, Daniel & Son transport
Best Western Star Danny Kingsley, Kingsley Transport
Best other makes Kirby Maxwell, Maxwell transport
Rex Wright memorial Simon Wright, Daniel & Son Transport
Best presented stand Scott McSweeney, All American Custom Chrome
Best new display truck K&J Trucks Coffs Harbour
Club person of the year Tim Wright