Big rigs return to Alexandra

By: Peter White, Photography by: Peter White

Making up for three years of lost time due to COVID-19, up to 14,000 people flocked to the Alexandra Truck, Ute and Rod Show in Victoria on June 12

Big rigs return to Alexandra
The trucks lined up in droves for Alexandra 2022 in June


Andrew Embling is a member of the Alexandra Truck, Ute and Rod Show’s organising committee and has been involved with the event since it began 25 years ago. According to Andrew, this was the Victorian town’s biggest truck show ever.

"We had 315 registered trucks, 77 registered utes and 25 registered hot rods," he says. "Our crowd was one of the biggest we’ve ever had; we were estimating between 12,000 to 14,000 people."

Andrew says the show took up 2.75 kilometres around town. The reason he thinks the show was so popular this year was because of its three-year postponement.

The team at Alexandra tried to cater for everyone, with wood-chopping events, the annual truck auction, and country rock music from Simply Bushed.

Alexandra’s main drag, Grant Street, was packed to the rafters

However, there was one not-so-little surprise waiting for truck enthusiasts. The new Kenworth K220 was unveiled to the public only a few weeks ago, but Andrew and his team managed to bring it to Alexandra for the show, thanks to Hallam Truck Centre.

"We were lucky enough to have the K220 – straight off the line from Brisbane, here in Alexandra," Andrew adds.

This year was Oliver Russell-Lothian’s first experience at the event, bringing a Kenworth T659 on behalf of Dirt Rock Civil (DRC).

"I brought the truck up here to get our name out there as well as to show off how awesome our trucks are," he says. "This is my first year bringing the truck and it has been a bigger turnout than I expected."

Oliver Russell-Lothian with Dirt Rock Civil's Kenworth T659

DRC’s main line of work is hauling rock – usually big boulders along with a bit of quarry work on the side.

"We’re based out of Cardinia and we’re all over the state," Oliver says. "We’ve had a few trucks go up to New South Wales doing contaminated work, but everywhere – wherever the job is – we’ll get to it."

Paul Johnston from Johnston Transport in Yea returned to the event this year, bringing 10 of his Freightliners to Alexandra.

Paul Johnston brought his sons to the show

Paul explains that he regularly attends truck shows but the pandemic knocked that on the head in recent years.

"I’ve missed a couple, obviously because of COVID and that, but I come quite often," he says.

The 10 Freightliners included a 2001 C12 Century Class which Paul says has been very reliable for the business he operates with his wife Belinda.

"The engine’s done 4.35 million kilometres and it’s still going. It works every day, runs interstate along the east coast and up to Cairns. They’re used for carting steel mostly, with flat top trailers, tarps … old fashioned stuff."

Adam Locket with Graham Sutherland’s ’87 Kenworth

An interesting restoration project also attended the show this year – a 1987 Kenworth W model. Adam Locket, who drives for Graham Sutherland, has been coming to Alexandra for at least 15 years. He brought the Kenworth to Alexandra to show off the project truck.

"He picked it up brand-new from Kenworth in 1987 and has owned it ever since," he says. "It’s one of the last W models ever built. It’s got an 892, 13-speed, three fives, air glide. It’s done 2.8 million, it was rebuilt at 1.8."

Adam explains that the truck isn’t in use anymore and the team is focused on restoring it to its former glory.

"It’s retired now," he says. "It sat in the shed for the last eight years, it hasn’t been registered or used the whole time, we just started doing it up.

"We’re midway through restoring, we’ve done from the cab down," Adam explains.

Trucks squeezed into every available space

"We’ve still got to restore the paint on the cab and redo the linework – we’re going to leave the paint original. It’s as original as they come.

Adam says it still has a spring seat. "It’s like a time warp this thing. There’s nothing on it that wasn’t on it when it came out of the factory in ’87."

For those intending to visit the Alexandra Truck, Ute and Rod Show, mark the 2023 Queen’s Birthday long weekend in the calendar.

For more on the 2022 Alexandra Truck, Ute & Rod Show, see OwnerDriver's July edition.

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