Brisbane Truck Show links with NRL for official launch

By: Greg Bush, Photography by: Greg Bush

The combined launch of the Brisbane Truck Show and the NRL’s Magic Round has put the limelight firmly on the sunshine state’s capital

Brisbane Truck Show links with NRL for official launch
A new Iveco Stralis X-Way prime mover hauling a Barker trailer is the Brisbane Truck Show's promotional rig


When truck driver Glen Schmidtke, behind the wheel of a brand new 460hp Iveco Stralis X-Way, rolled onto Suncorp Stadium’s northern forecourt in Brisbane on May 7, it signalled the beginning of a brief but unusual alliance between two distinctly different industries.

The occasion was the combined launch of the National Rugby League’s (NRL) ‘Magic Round’, and Australian Heavy Vehicle Industry Week which culminates in the Brisbane Truck Show.

HVIA CEO Todd Hacking at the combined media launch of the Brisbane Truck Show and the NRL's Magic Round.

The NRL ‘Magic Round’, which kicks off on May 9, will showcase eight league matches across four days at Suncorp Stadium.

Monday, May 13 is the beginning of Australian Heavy Vehicle Industry Week, which includes the annual NatRoad conference on May 15, followed by the Brisbane Truck Show which runs from May 16 to 19 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC).

Significantly, 2019 marks 50 years of the Brisbane Truck Show which is operated by Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA).

"We have a very proud 50 year history here in Brisbane," said HVIA CEO Todd Hacking at the media launch.

"We started off with 21 exhibitors at Rocklea. We’ve now got 300 major exhibitors over the four days.

"It’s now not a local event, it’s an international event and we celebrate that at what is the best venue in Australia, the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre."

Former Rugby League international Darren Lockyer is the NRL's Magic Round ambassador.

Hacking explains that, for the first time, the HVIA has partnered with the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council’s subsidiary, Brisbane Marketing, to add an extra dimension to this year’s truck show – the Southbank Roadhouse.

The area around Stanley St Plaza and Little Stanley St will be closed to traffic, replaced by displays of the latest in truck and trailer technology, surrounded by restaurants, cafes and bars.

"Vehicle manufacturing in this country was on the decline, particularly passenger cars, but it couldn’t be further from the truth when you talk about trucks and heavy vehicles in general," Hacking says.

"We had a record year last year, and we’re having another boom year this year.

"You only have to look behind me," he says, referring to the new Stralis.

"We’ve got the Iveco Stralis X-Way, built at Dandenong in Melbourne, and the Barker trailer.

"Barkers started in 1974, a family-owned company in Woodend in Melbourne. Combined, they’ve made the journey from Melbourne up to Brisbane."

Previously having the job of taking the Australian Trucking Association’s Safety Truck to various events around the country, Glen Schmidtke had returned to driving linehaul and Sydney-Newcastle runs over the past year. However, he was happy to receive the call to collect the Brisbane Truck Show’s promotional rig from Iveco headquarters in Dandenong and drive it north for the launch. The trip included a stopover at Rice Graphics in Wodonga for the fitting of the new curtains.

Glen Schmidtke drove the Stralis on a promotional run up from Melbourne.

However, after a few thousand kilometres in the Stralis, he admits to being surprised at its performance.

"It’s a comfortable truck; it goes well, even though this one is only a 460.

"The automatic transmission on it I found very good," Schmidtke says. "I think it will fit the market perfectly where they’re aiming.

"I used to work on the 2150 and the 1370 ACCOs when I was an apprentice back in the ’70s. It’s a big improvement from the old days."

The Iveco Stralis X-Way will be on display for the duration of the Brisbane Truck Show.

Brisbane is the place to be for trucks and Rugby League in May.

Guests at the media launch, including Harvey Lister, chairman of AEG Ogden, and former rugby league international and NRL Magic Round ambassador Darren Lockyer, had the opportunity to view the new Stralis at close quarters.

AEG Ogden manages sports venues and convention centres around Australia, including Suncorp Stadium and the BCEC.

"I think we’re looking at somewhere around 160,000 people both attending the Magic Round and the Brisbane Truck Show over the next week," Lister says.

"The fans who come to the Magic Round and the fans and buyers who go to the Brisbane Truck Show are going to be blown away at what they see in both locations."

Darren Lockyer and Todd Hacking get a closer view of the Stralis outside Suncorp Stadiium.

Meanwhile, despite having little association with road transport, Lockyer is impressed with how truck technology is evolving.

"They’re big toys," he tells Owner//Driver. "I don’t have a licence to drive one but my kids; I reckon they’d be pretty interested and keen to go and have a look."

Lockyer does boast a trucking connection, however. His parents ran a truck stop at Wondoan in western Queensland for three years in the late 1980s.

"Dad used to pump the fuel and mum used to look after the café," he says. "I wasn’t even a teenager but I used to help dad pump fuel into these trucks."

Lockyer believes that the Brisbane Truck Show following a few days after the NRL’s Magic Round is good news for the Queensland capital.

"It’s great for the city, it’s great for the NRL, and it’s great for the truck show to have people come in to watch rugby league."

As for the May 10 Friday night game between his old club, the Broncos, and the Manly Sea Eagles at Suncorp, Lockyer believes it’s a winnable game for the Brisbane team.

"There’s been a couple of changes to the team this week, so I expect them to come out and play well."

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