Just like everything else there’s been a pause on events over the last few years. The TMC Trailers Trucking Industry Show 2022 show in Christchurch, New Zealand, was no exception but came back in style over November 25-26.
It is without doubt the largest truck and trade event in New Zealand with thousands of visitors through the gates at Canterbury Ag Park, which was packed with all things trucking from all over the country.
Australian suppliers also joining in on the action beginning with trade day on Friday and then open to the public on Saturday. A large area was set aside to host the driving championships with prizes including cash and trips to the next Brisbane Truck Show for the best of the best.
More than the expected 400 trucks turned out for the Show n Shine on Saturday with more than 40 prizes awarded in so many categories I lost track. There were some pretty spectacular rigs with passionate owners and drivers on the field.
The BP classic truck showcase brought a lot of true bits of trucking history out of hiding with many looking like the would be still up to earning their keep on the road. As usual when you get a bunch of old trucks and drivers together the stories come out and many miles were covered reminiscing about when the kings of the road were at their peak.
I was honoured to get a drive in Solly’s magnificent W Model ‘Rocky’ while it was being transported down to the show. No pressure at all as Solly’s MD Ed was sitting beside me in the cab while I polished up a few cogs in the 15-speed!
Showing off hundreds of New Zealand’s best working trucks, embracing the history and heritage of trucking while inspiring the next generation and industry competitions, this event is a trucking carnival that has managed to attract exhibitors, truck drivers and visitors from around the country and Australia.
Walking around it was hard to not be impressed by the quality of the displays, products and just plain fun trucking stuff like the radio-controlled model trucks which were a smash hit. Even big kids got caught having a go. My old mate Yogi Kendall had some fun driving around few of the models.
For me the most impressive thing about the whole show is the way the NZ trucking community seems to have come together to support the event.
Trade day was very well attended and visitors not afraid to get their cheque books out to take advantage of opportunities. I was intrigued looking at the differences in equipment configuration and setups compared to what we run on Australian roads. The twin steer bogie drive with a five-axle trailer is extremely popular across most of the fleet. The TMC display held my attention for quite a while.
I spent several hours talking to visitors at what I considered to be a most important display at the show on the public open day. That was the NZ Trucking Association’s safety education trailer and the Pro-Active Drive driver simulator trailer right beside it where getting into tough situations behind the wheel is done in a safe way.
A constant stream of visitors experienced the virtual reality SafeT360 demo and I’ve got to say when I had a seat in the chair for my turn I was surprised at just how real it looked.
There was also a long queue to have a go at the driver simulator. Fortunately, I managed to have a turn after-hours so as not to disrupt the display on the day.
The instructor ran a distraction simulation for me. Now I’ve done a few k’s over the years and honestly regard myself as a pretty good driver, so I thought I’d be able to manage to do alright.
Simply put the simulator allowed me to drive for a few minutes while it measured my ability to maintain my speed and position within the lane and graph that data. Then just off to the left of the screen a simulated ‘phone text’ appears.
You have to press a button on the wheel to say you’ve seen it and then read the words. Once you’ve done that you press the button again. All the while you’re traveling down the road at 80km/h. This goes on for nine messages that vary in complexity from a couple of words to over seven.
When you reach the end of the simulation you pull over and the thing crunches the numbers. Unsurprisingly, like many before me, I discovered my absolute inability to text and drive! I’d crossed to the wrong side of the white line twice, my speed varied by 8 per cent and my lane position was affected by 30 per cent.
The instructor running the simulation told me more than 80 per cent of people have a collision with road furniture or another vehicle.
The only reason I didn’t have a simulated crash was there was nothing to hit where I crossed the lines, luck was the only thing that saved me. We can’t leave it to luck in reality.
Trucking industry shows, show n shines and other trucking events are an important link to the community. They give the public an opportunity to see us up close and meet us in person. I had a great time meeting with new friends and a few old ones at the TMC Trucking Industry Show. Now I’m looking forward to Brisbane.