Sydney Convoy marches on

By: Warren Aitken, Photography by: Warren Aitken, MW Photography


MG 7442 Edit copy The Winston Express crew turned up with a large number and a lot of shine MG 7442 Edit copy
MG 7563 Edit copy It might not please the greenies but even the volunteers in charge of parking love a little smoke from the classic trucks MG 7563 Edit copy
MG 7596 Edit copy No, this wasn’t a reflection of the coffee clientele. I staged this purely for comedic effect MG 7596 Edit copy
DSC 4910 Two of the real heroes, Nathan Flint and Tom Walsh from NETS DSC 4910
DSC 4911 These local heroes hadn’t had a lot of down time lately, thankfully these SES volunteers spent their day of supporting the Convoy for Kids. From left: Evan Gray, Jerome Jones, Emily Gray, Mell Weissflog, Jessica Weissflog, Kelly Jones and Anthony Smith DSC 4911
DSC 4915 Not the big rigs I was expecting but super cool anyway. Stavros Zervas with his 1927 Roadstar and Peter Trees with his 1927 T-bucket DSC 4915
DSC 4918 One of my favourites for the day. Raymond Taylor with his Traffic Logistics Hino. Supercool! DSC 4918
DSC 4923 I gathered many of the Winston Express team in for a bit of a group shot DSC 4923
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DSC 8228 Parking was premium, so the marshalls had to do a good job organising. Big appreciation to all the volunteers DSC 8228
DSC 8234 It was all smiles as the Pearson’s team get ready to head into the show. From left: Chris Mule, Lynette Gaylord, Janelle Smith, Isaac and Moses Elbaz, and Tom Haley DSC 8234
DSC 8235 The Bakewell Haulage was another standout and proudly standing with it was driver Luke Curtis with Bailey, Cody and Harmony DSC 8235
DSC 8239 The Cameron Transport crew were out enjoying the beautiful weather. From left: Peter and Joseph Munoz, Hope Neilson along with Jamie and Lea Russell DSC 8239
DSC 8245 My pick for top truck: Winston Express’s stunning Mercedes looked awesome. Full credit to the driver Chris Munoz (left) with help from Alexis Munoz DSC 8245
DSC 8253 The Convoy for Kids team. From left: Leanne Towle, Kirrily Chidgey, Jennifer Towle, Suzanne Stevens, Brett Thompson, Pam and John King, and Ros Anderson DSC 8253
DSC 8256 Another feature that appeared more than once were the commemorative Tom Seccombe shirts, made to raise funds for mental health support in honour of a great young bloke from Coffs Harbour. Here’s Jodi Ferris from Sydney posing alongside my apprentice truck photographer Michelle Williams DSC 8256
DSC 8273 John Grimsey stands proudly with his 2004 K104 flat roof Kenworth. John spends his days moving containers around Sydney in this classic DSC 8273

The Sydney Convoy for Kids emerged from a lockdown-induced delay to dodge the city’s deluge and take new route, raising much-needed funds for charity along the way

If you are on top of your truck shows and charity convoys you would know the Sydney Convoy for Kids is regularly run in the latter part of the year. Therefore, seeing an article like this in the May issue of OwnerDriver magazine would normally mean either I am really slow at submitting it or I’m a fortune-telling wizard pre-empting the event.

Sure, my editor will willingly attest I am a little slow getting my stories in. I live by the Douglas Adams quote: "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." But I’m not seven months slow, nor am I some kind of clairvoyant Hogwarts-type character as I look terrible in a pointy hat and my beard is too short.

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The truth is, the 30th running of the Sydney Convoy for kids, which should have taken place last October, was postponed. Surprise, surprise – it was affected by that virus and all those lockdowns.

Instead of cancelling though, the committee chose to postpone it. Postpone it until the 20th of March 2022 in fact. This allowed me to be able to get down and along with my apprentice truck photographer I managed to snap some shots and catch up with a few folks out raising money for NETS (Neonatal & Paediatric Emergency Transport Service) and the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation.

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It should be noted that, although the lockdowns and border closures had changed from late last year, the cosmic world or the fates or whichever religious deity you believe in, it still managed to throw a spanner in the works for the Convoy for Kids committee. This time it was by dumping enough water down that the event’s regular destination was more suited to a water polo carnival than a truck show.

As the saying goes, some days you’re the pigeon, some days you’re the statue and with mere days till the event, the committee were no doubt feeling very much the statue. Instead of a further delay, the convoy committee combined their event with the inaugural Harmony Day event being organised by the team from Turbans for Australia and Liverpool Catholic Club. Thankfully the 30th running of the Convoy for Kids would still go ahead.

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With all the challenges surmounted, and with Sydney actually throwing on a near perfect weather forecast, it was no surprise that at 5am on Sunday morning there were trucks already rolling in.

Sydney Dragway at Eastern Creek was the formation area for this year’s convoy and while I wasn’t a pleasant sight at 5am, some of the trucks definitely were. Grabbing shots was proving difficult at the early hour as, due to daylight saving, it was still awfully dark at that time of the day in Sydney. As I awaited the rising sun my apprentice took the time to point out her fees for the day were ‘coffee, coffee and coffee’ It was a subtle hint for me to join the other early convoy arrivals and line up at the coffee van.

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While I couldn’t get photos I could mingle around and talk to many of those that had been trying to shine their trucks up the previous day in-between showers of rain. Many of those I spoke to had been supporting the event for years, some even since the beginning. It’s a charity event that has lasted so long because of the good it has done.

Previous years has seen entrant levels reaching as high as 800 trucks. Unfortunately, when you factor in the convoy running at a different time of the year, as well as the weather in the preceding week (which had been about as pleasant as a Bachelorette TV marathon), let’s not forget many truckies were out literally keeping the country afloat as the east coast was flooding. All that resulted in a much smaller convoy than previous years. What they lacked in numbers though they made up for in noise and enthusiasm.

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When 7am rolled around the convoy lead off from the dragway and down Ferrers Road towards Preston. The advantage for me and my apprentice was we were able to grab some convoy shots as the trucks left Sydney Dragway, then jump up onto the M7 as the trucks rolled down Cowpasture Road and beat them to the Liverpool Catholic Club.

I managed to capture a few shots as the trucks arrived and parked up for display, though I must admit the smell of the sausage sizzle dragged me into the event area well before the last of the trucks arrived.

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The Harmony Day event that had been arranged by the Turbans for Australia team meant that it wasn’t just a truck show. There were rides and events for all the kids (apparently I’m ‘too big’ for the fun rides) as well as plenty of small stalls and markets for the adults. There was entertainment going and the Convoy for Kids merchandise tent was flat out.

All in all, credit goes to the Convoy for Kids committee and the Turbans for Australia team. Life threw a lot of obstacles at them all and as a team they overcame them for a successful 30th running of the event.

A special shout out must go to Mother Nature. During a period of pretty dismal weather, she took the day off and ensured the sun shone for the Sydney Convoy for Kids.

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