Ryan & Luke Johnston in Hernes Freight Services distinctive purple Western Star driven by father Shane.
Ryan & Luke Johnston in Hernes Freight Services distinctive purple Western Star driven by father Shane.

Idea becomes big rigs reality

OFTEN an individual will have a great idea but without the help of a larger organisation would struggle to make that idea come to fruition. This is the story behind the conception and organisation of the 2012 Casino truck show.

After the demise of the Lismore Truck Show, Casino local Darren Goodwin felt there was still a need for an annual truck show to be held in the Richmond Valley. But without a club or organisational structure behind him how was he going to stage so large a event in such a short time, keeping people interested in a truck show for the area? Enter Stuart George and the Casino Beef Week committee.

With the experience and structures already in place from hosting an annual major event, such as Beef Week, as well as an attitude of promoting and supporting events for the local area, Stuart and his committee were only too willing to help bring Darren's idea to fruition.

Would it be supported, would people attend? Come the morning of Saturday, September 15, Darren couldn't have been happier, as the trucks rolled into the Primex showgrounds for marshalling before the event.

The 86 prime movers were far beyond the initial 50 Darren had hoped for. Polished and shining, they included nine prime movers belonging to Jon Kelly's Heavy Haulage Australia fleet, which will be featured in Foxtel's upcoming show 'MegaTruckers' (the controversial pilot aired earlier this year in February on the A&E channel).

With TV cameras in tow, filming for the final episode of the upcoming series, Jon used the event to unveil his latest creation to the public and to the industry: a restored 1990 500HP V8 Mack Value Liner. Jon admitted to having a soft spot for the Bulldog classic.

"I cut my teeth on Super Liners and Value Liners, when I was sort of old enough to drive and appreciate a good truck and they have a lot sentimental value," he said, adding he called them "a real truck".

Jon said he had been looking for a V8 Mack for two years and had been eyeing this truck for while but it took some time and convincing, for the former owner to part with it.

All original from front to rear, with full Mack driveline, including Mack 12-speed and 44,000lb diffs riding on a camelback rear end, Jon spent the past four months and more than $100,000 restoring the Bulldog back to original condition, with all new interior, lights, wiring, tanks, rims and tyres and, as with the rest of Jon's fleet, the Bulldog oozes quality in the dark grey paint scheme with blue trim.

But HHA's trucks weren't the only dark grey prime movers oozing quality. Normally at truck shows it's the bonneted trucks that grab most of the attention but Troy Hoswell's Hozzi Transport Kenworth K108 Aerodyne excelled as an example of just how polished and customised a working cab-over can be. Originally built by Thorpe Custom Trucks in Victoria, Troy had recently purchased the truck, with time only to add a couple of minor touches, in between towing fridge vans. But it definitely stood out from the crowd. With the mirror finish tanks, skull tail lights and female forms on the side skirts, it took out the 'Custom Truck' award for the day, which was no mean feat considering the fierce competition.

The support shown by the locals for Darren, Stuart and the Beef Week committee's efforts was a welcome sight. Some, like Tim Zielstra and Alayne Hall from Ballina, had only found out about the show the night before and made the effort to attend, along with the drivers of many local fleets of surrounding towns, including Herne's, Mills, Viel & Santin and North Coast

Petroleum, to name just a few.

Everyone used the opportunity to make new friends and catch up with old ones. With a laidback atmosphere and entertainment supplied, everyone seemed impressed with the quick format for the day and with the presentation of trophies and prizes finished by 3pm, everyone was able to get on with having a chat and enjoying themselves.

Darren is already talking about improvements for next year, based on feedback surveys and it sounds like many others are looking forward to returning to Casino.



Best Bonneted: #5 Flynns Transpor

Best Rigid: #77 Cromack Transport

Best Scania: #47 Shoebridge Transport

Best Volvo: # Cromack Transport

Best DAF: # 82 McColls

Best Japanese: #33 Sullivan Transport

Best International: #65 Daniel and Son Road Transport

Best Iveco: #70 Viel & Santin Transport

Best Peterbuilt: #60 Watego & Sons Transport

Best Freightliner: 1st #81 Cromack Transport, 2nd #38 SR Haulage

Best Mack: 1st #17 Heavy Haulage Australia 'Ten 4', 2nd #11 Heavy Haulage Australia 'HHA-78';

Best Western Star 1st #1 Viel & Santin Transport, 2nd #6 Hernes Freight Service

Best Kenworth: 1st #59 John L Pearcel, 2nd #19 Heavy Haulage Australia 'Tri Me'

People's Choice: #58 Ned Kelly

Best Aerodyne: #35 Nicholson & Page

Best Argosy: #40 Viel & Santin Transport

Best Fleet: 1st Viel & Santin Transport, Runner-Up: North Coast Petroleum

Best Rig under two years: #2 S.R.V. Road Freight

Best Rig two to five years: #52 Rowell Freightlines

Best Rig five to 10 years: #20 Kyogle Grain Supplies

Best Rig 10-15 years: #48 Kingsbrae Transport

Best Rig 15 years and over: #79 HJ Cook Livestock

Best Classic: #79 Roject Logging & Earthmoving

Best Rigid: #77 Cromack Transport

Best Tilt Tray: #12 Heavy Haulage Australia '1 Bent 1'

Best Heavy Recovery: #21 Grafton Heavy Towing

Best Heavy Haulage: #19 Heavy Haulage Australia 'Tri Me'.

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