Retro Show – The Social Part

Another weekend and I’m back at Londra Camp or perhaps even the Hotel National in Belgrade. Loads of the best retro trucks in the UK and a growing number from Europa and all the kings of the road you could ever hope to meet and listen to stories from. The shows this year have become more and more social but combine this with trucks from my childhood and once again an awesome weekend was had by all. For me meeting these Kings of the road is what it’s all about, the stories they can tell, the places they have been and the trucks they have driven, my generation can only dream. To name a just a few people I stood and chatted/listened to this weekend;

  • Charles Russell
  • Roland Simey
  • Nick Bull
  • Karl Skilton
  • Andrew McDevitt
  • Kevin Mackin
  • Paul Rowlands
  • Baz (if you know you know!)
  • and of course one of my true hero’s still out and about on the road………
  • These men all need dictaphones and books written about them or by them, Mr Coghill you need to get on with it! As I said in my Truckstar blog, sadly I wasn’t able to enjoy the golden era but chatting to these knights of the road you can get a real idea of the adventure, hardship, bad times and of course good times they endured. For any young drivers of the current modern generation, can you imagine being told to go to Pakistan from London?? No? just to add to the adventure there was no sat-nav, no road maps or readable signposts once past Turkey, for that matter not many “roads” either. One of the best quotes of the weekend from a certain Charles Russell went something like this;
  • “When I was a young owner driver with just one truck, my pal Ralph had his own truck too. I met him on his way back from his first trip to the continent and do you know what he said?? That continental work isn’t for me.”
  • – The Ralph in question was of course a certain Mr Davies. Just brilliant but unless you take the time to talk to these men then you never get to hear such awesome tales.
  • The show itself was once again a triumph. Lee Herbert and his team put on what was the best retro show I’ve been too, that said next year is the 10th anniversary so I can’t wait for that already. Get the date in your diary, next years Retro Truck Show is from September 11th to 13th 2020. There seemed to be more restored/retro trucks than ever before. The quality of these trucks gets better and better and there is definitely more types of truck, not just Volvo and Scania. Renaults, ERF, Iveco eight wheels MAN’s and even a Fiat all being restored back to their former glory. As it goes there was only one Transcon that was at the start of its new life and very much need a good polish! I’m sure there are more Transcons about that could come along next year but after one of Roland Simeys stories I’m not so sure….
  • If you are a truck enthusiast then the retro show is for you. It’s run by truck people for truck people. Evident that the man who runs the show is a gas engineer but grew up with trucks and loves trucks. All who attend are truck mad and as there are no prizes to be won it just shows that all trucks are there as their owners are proud to show them and just do it for the trucks and love of diesel! Not a lot of feed back from those I spoke to other than more trucks the merrier. Perhaps the one thing I did hear from a few people was, there were a lot of new trucks there again. Don’t get me wrong I love seeing them and being able to compare the same make 30 or 49 years apart is a pretty cool concept. I am guessing there is an element of a few new trucks make up the numbers but then again what do you class as a retro truck?? I fine line for the organisers to think about but for me personally I don’t think it is far off perfect at all.
  • Big Boys & Their Big Toys

    Big boys have big toys we all know that, but when two company directors are as truck mad as the drivers they send all over Europe, then why shouldn’t they have a big toy to play with?? If I could afford a truck and trailer to play with then I’d do the same, at the end of the day with directorship comes big responsibility and big stress, so surely that allows big toys?!

    The two directors above are two of the biggest truck nerds you could meet, both nuts about their respective Swedes. The photo was taken en route to the Truckstar Festival in Holland back at the end of July and the two trucks were side by side for a fair distance from what I hear. What a treat for all the drivers coming the other way, 1980’s retro trucking at its best. The other this I hear is that the two of them were giggling like school boys with new BMX bikes oh and something else to do with no speed limiters but I don’t know what they are on about!!

    What a sight, even better with a little black and white. I’m not sure which one I’d rather be piloting, both great to look at, both big cans compared to the competition, both a drivers dream. For me restored trucks don’t get better than these two and I just wish everyone could afford to have a trailer with their tractor units, it just rings every bell on the old skool wall. For me I saw these two and as awesome as the scene is, it just reminds me in every way of two other famous trucks…….

    Truckstar Festival 2019 – The Social Part

    This years Truckstar Festival, well, what can I possibly say on here that would give you any idea on what this years show was like?! What I have thought of doing is making it a two parter, social part and trucks part, so here we go.

    It was hot, now I mean hot, 40’c Friday, 36’c Saturday and a little cooler on Sunday but still over 30. We arrived at the show a lot earlier than in previous years which was good because we got to see plenty of stuff arrive and we were actually in the first wave of old timers arriving. So early in fact that the V8 hadn’t even arrived, let alone be set up and serving like normal. My very good friend Anton Brouwer and his merry team, soon arrived. As you can see above Anton was keen to give me a beer, he did home delivery. The above photo taken by me sitting in my deckchair as the big 140 Super arrived. From this point on the show became what I can only describe as the most social truck show I have ever been too. More so than all 7 visits to Assen or anywhere else for that matter. Why?……. I have no idea, perhaps the heat and the sun? Perhaps everyone trying to get into the shade of the beer tents? No idea but it was awesome. The Dutch are just the best!

    I am sadly to young to have ever had the chance to get to Londra Camp in Istanbul, but like me I’m sure we all have a good idea what that place was like on a weekend, buzzing for want of a better phrase! To me this years Truckstar Festival made me think of Londra Camp. James and I met so many people we knew and have met before or not seen for ages, that we bearly managed to make one whole lap of the show truck area. Every 50 metres we met another old face, with who we shared a joke, a beer and had a catch up. Not only out walking the show. By the time evening came, the beer was flowing, old friends were dancing and drinking, then more people arrived at the V8 bar. Plenty more stories, plenty more cheers when the Danish contingent arrived. Then a little later a few more English, Irish and some Germans appeared. It was an endless flow of truckers from all over Europe, all meeting up for some time out, some beer and a good laugh. As with the big truck stops of the 70’s and 80’s some of these people I haven’t seen for a few years or even met before, but we all have a common interest and a common love of Trucks, beer and meeting new folk. It may be you won’t see them again, but that never seems to matter with trucking people. There is never any “ice to break” or any issue of who’s who, we are all there to have a good time. To me this is how I imagine the golden days of international trucking to be. If you’ve been lucky enough to enjoy such a night off in a far flung corner of europa, with a load of drivers you may or may not know, please please please let me know all about it.

    The Dutch have a great ability to make you feel welcome and to make sure everyone is included and having a good time. For those who have had the pleasure of visiting the V8 Bar in the Oldtimers section of the show, you will know this is exactly what Anton Brouwer and his team manage to achieve every visit. James and I are V8 bar regulars, but we were joined by the Van Der Nunn’s and also by trucking royalty, mr Mike Tasker. MWT is a proper English international owner driver, proper old school. A long time sub contractor to HC Wilson, there is no where in Europa Mike hasn’t been to with one of his V8’s, everywhere that is except for the Truckstar Festival. Apart from being like a kid in a sweet shop all weekend, Mike was a great example of the whole atmosphere of the show. Never been before, but after the first night at the V8 Bar, he has made some new friends and was chatting about all sorts with all sorts of people, drivers, operators and even farmers who just love old V8’s! GW your turn next.

    The Dutch have made trucking a pleasure to be involved with, if you have lost you way with trucks, your job, driving in the UK, then somehow get yourself across the water to, what has become for me anyway, Europe’s trucking Mecca. A few days of trucks in the Netherlands will soon make you realise trucking is cool and well respected everywhere apart from in the UK. Get yourself to Truckstar Festival and this message will be hammered home like Thor in the tool aisle at a DIY shop! There are hoards of youngsters wanting to be truck drivers, most look hardly old enough to drink let alone drive trucks. There are families there who have no ties to trucks or transport and when asked, they will tell you they just love trucks.

    Two Three things I have realised;

    1) I was born 20 years to late to know what real European trucking was like back in the golden days.

    2) I should be Dutch or at least living in the land of the wooden shoe.

    3) If you like trucks you should MUST get yourself over to Holland for the Truckstar Festival. If you don’t…… well……. no euro-pop, accordion, trance music for you! Oh or the best trucks and truck people in Europe.

    TB on The Move – Kyrgyzstan

    My pal and super mega trucker Mat Ireland has a handful of stickers that he is handing out Trucks he meets from far and wide, the further and wider the better! TB on the move is a global thing I’ll have you know. From council trucks in Brazil to Road-trains in Australia, through to Africans, Americans and some of the last Astran trucks to the Middle East, not to mention scrap metal trucks from Ipswich, they all want, crave, strive, are part of the big TB family. Truckers one and all are welcome to my club. Anyway enough of my nonsense and onto Kyrgyzstan. Where?? You don’t need a sat-nav, just follow the sun like John Williams, Dave Poulton and Dick Rivers, it’s South of Kazakhstan, 2 countries above Afghanistan and shares its eastern border with China, its quite a way from the Bad Benthiem border in Deutschland where Mat met this driver. Nice to see he’s driving a proper truck, take note Mat…..

    “I pulled into Bad Bentheim border for my usual walk around with my camera to see what far flung countries some had come from, and that was parked in there! I could see the chap was about so thought he was worthy of a sticker! He spoke no English and my Russian is very limited but he understood it was a present from England, and looked very happy! It’s a long long way to Kyrgyzstan!!”

    TB Roving Reporter – New Zealand

    I do get asked now and again if I’d like to hear or see photos and tales of others more fortunate than myself who have managed to get a job overseas doing something a little different to the UK norm. YES! I want to hear from you all and when you say “I’m not sure what to write” – trust me write what comes and most blog readers will love it. Next up is TB’s new roving reporter in New Zealand, Mr Ed Nolloth.

    Firstly a bit about me. I’m 28 and originally from a sleepy village in Suffolk but now find myself trucking on the other side of the world. I started working in transport at the age of 20 and spent the next eight years working in the office of two well known Norfolk hauliers, starting out as a trainee traffic planner quickly working my way up the ranks. During this time I also acquired my C, C+E and Transport Managers CPC as well as other qualifications. 


    Two years ago I found myself at a crossroads in life where I had spent seven years in an office and I felt a change was needed. It was time to try something new. I applied for a visa in New Zealand and before you knew it I was there, staying with distant relatives who I’d met once before in the UK and looking for work. I had been told work was in abundance in NZ and a week later I found myself working for a large agricultural contractor in the South Island and the rest is history as they say. I just finished two ‘seasons’ in New Zealand with a summer working for Transam Trucking sandwiched in between, something my good friend Mat Ireland got me involved with a few years back as his double driver. 

    Working in NZ has positively changed my life and given me a different outlook on how to live. When comparing the UK to NZ I often list the followings differences; NZ has less people which is turn means less traffic. The weather is much better which in turn makes the people happier and in general friendlier but from a truck driving point of view there is far less legislation which in turn makes it far more enjoyable. The kiwi idea of a traffic jam is four cars waiting at a one lane bridge, a far cry from a thirteen mile queue on the M25. 

    After nearly two years in NZ it’s starting to feel like a normal way of life but at first it was like an adventure, something a lot of truck drivers in the UK only dream about and for me this dream has become a reality. 
    I worked for an agricultural contractor based on the Canterbury plains in the South Island of NZ with a fleet of mainly Volvo and Mercedes trucks. I was lucky enough to be rewarded with a brand new truck at the beginning of my second season and became rather attached to it. The hours and shift pattern was varied as to be expected for the type of work. During silage season it would be a mid morning start but this meant working into the early hours of the following morning. In my first year this didn’t faze me but the second year my situation changed as it often does and I met a young lady who was also a truck driver. 

    When I first went over I had every intention of just spending six months out there and settling back into life as I knew it in the UK but I enjoyed it so much I was itching to go back. The job itself was awesome and everyday was different, spending most of time driving around paddocks and on challenging terrain. For me truck driving has always been about getting up before everyone else and getting ahead in your day, this turned out to be quite the opposite so it took me a little time to adapt. 
    For those who don’t know the driving hours rules in NZ are very different. Firstly they still use paper log books, a far cry from digital tacograph cards. You are allowed to work up to fourteen hours a day every day with a ten hour break after each shift. During this fourteen hour shift you are permitted to take a thirty minute break after five and a half hours work. This means two breaks are required a day giving you a total of thirteen hours work a day. You are allowed to work up to seventy hours a week before a twenty four hour break is required and your week resets. On a drivers log book you only have a ‘work’ and ‘rest’ column which makes the whole process a lot easier than changing mode switches. As a British citizen with my C+E licence I am able to drive in NZ without sitting any practical or theory exams and there is no such thing as a CPC. I have recently acquired my NZ licence as I have plans to stay and this only involved a theory test to gain my class 5.
    NZ has lots of different heavy vehicle combinations with the most common being a ‘truck & trailer’ which in UK terms would be an eight by four rigid followed by a two axle dolly attached to a three axle forty foot trailer giving you a maximum total length of twenty three meters. Another popular combination is a ‘B train’ where a tractor unit pulls two trailers. On my first day I was shown the truck & trailers in the yard and remember thinking there is no way I will ever be able to reverse this but it’s now like second nature. It’s safe to say my first attempt practicing between some road cones in the yard wasn’t pretty. 
    The purpose of this blog was to prove it’s not as hard as people think to follow your dreams, anything is possible with a bit of hard work and determination. I have recently been back to the UK to visit family and upon my return I will be changing jobs for a new challenge having felt like I have achieved everything I wanted to from my previous one. I’m not one for changing jobs regularly but my new one will give me more time off with the chance of bigger trips around the country for more money. I’m even shopping my golf clubs out to NZ in the view of enjoying a round or two on my days off. 
    Until next time…

    Pop Quiz: Rock n Rollers

    Pop quiz for a Saturday, well there is a small quiz and a few photos of trucks! As the summer season is upon us for music gigs and of course the seemingly endless festivals that go on all across Europe every weekend, I thought you may like a little delve into pop history. I do always wonder whether the artists that UK trucking companies support are aware of what goes into their nightly shows across the continent. I mean do a gig, sing a few songs, have a few beers, sign a few autographs, wreck the odd hotel room, then on to the next town or city. Meanwhile the truckies are busy doing the same all the hard work. I’m sure dismantling a stage, boxing it up, loading it in the right order and getting off to the next city with enough time to do the reverse and get everything set up again is some what of a logistical headache.

    How many of the musical lot are aware that there is a team of hard working men and women making these gigs happen and helping them earn there millions. Well I can happily say that at least three legendary artists are clearly aware as they have been photoed with the rigs that keep them touring. So here’s the pop quiz; Who are the three artist in the three photos?

    1. Not crocodile Dundee pictured with trucks loaned by the manufacturer as they sponsored the tour.
    2. His majesty the 2nd photoed with one of the greats. Just look at the stickers in that windscreen.
    3. Proper hardcore, full on rock n roll royalty. No modern artist could imagine the lifestyle this lot had. I know the band unsure of the artist!

    Please give all answers either in the comments box below, or leave a comment on the FB page. If you have any photos of the rich and famous with your truck then please send it to me via PM or email. Then we can have another round of Pop Quiz, I have seen a photo of a certain neighbourly Australian next to one of her tour trucks but couldn’t find it for this blog. 5 points on offer for Artist and/or band. Answers on a postcard!