Monday, October 23, 2017

Grossing 50 tonnes, the truck owned and driven by Harry van Dalen that took out top honours drives past the grandstand.

Locally and across international borders, they come from far and wide to the Netherland’s premier truck show event – the Truckstar Festival.

There is a lot going on in the European transport industry. Regulations have not only been tightened for the construction and operation of commercial vehicles, but also for the truck owner and driver.

With the ever-increasing competition from Eastern block operators, the profit margins have become very slim for West-European hauliers, most notably those working in international transport. Despite this there is a substantial shortage of professional drivers, due partly to the Euro economy experiencing considerable growth in the past few years.

One thing that has not changed is the enthusiasm of truck drivers for their profession. This could be nowhere better witnessed than at the recent Truckstar Festival in the Netherlands, where no fewer than 2300 rigs gathered to celebrate the 37th running of this event. Heavy vehicles of all makes, ages, shapes and countries came to the motor racing circuit in Assen.

From our ‘You’ll only see it Europe’ department. The winners of the Special Paint competition came from Great Britain and Switzerland.

During the two days more than 60,000 spectators passed the gates and it was not only a festival for the drivers and their families, but also a good chance for the general public to have a meet-and-greet with this very important industry. It was nice to see that so many appreciated the hard work that professional drivers do day in and day out.

Dutch conversion specialist Vlastuin showed the first
T-series Scania based on the new S730.

In the paddock were fair-sized displays of new heavy rigs courtesy of truck importers, customising specialists and parts dealers. One vehicle that stood out from the crowd was a big blue bonneted Scania S730 tractor. This new generation 3-axle rig was converted into a T-Series model by Vlastuin in the Netherlands, a firm that has modified 50 cabover Scanias in recent years.

There were fields full of shiny American rigs, classic trucks, heavy haulage vehicles, army trucks, and wreckers. Saturday night saw the truck light show.

As for the action department, the highlights included the stop-and-go, slalom and caravan races. On Sunday the highlight for owners and spectators alike is the ‘Mooiste Truck van Nederland’ (Most Beautiful Truck of the Netherlands) competition. The winners in this popular event are selected by a public and professional jury. It is made up of eight categories, from refrigerated rigs to container haulers and cattle trucks to tankers. Prizes can also be won for best paint, best interior and best customising.

The 2017 top honours went to owner-driver Harry van Dalen with his immaculate 50 tonne gross Volvo FH16 750 6-axle tractor- semitrailer. The six-month-old working truck stands out through its American style custom features and magnificent special paint and airbrush motifs based on a Bon Jovi theme.

Each year the Truckstar Festival attracts more and more truck owners from abroad too. Some come for the prize money, others bring the family and come purely for the fun. In short, the action-packed weekend was not only a celebration of trucks and drivers, but also a great promotion for the transport industry in general.

Most heavy haulage units came to the show with an impressive load on.

This immaculate S730 combo from Denmark took the Show Truck trophy home.

Old school Euro-cool was there in force. More than 150 classic trucks could be admired at the show grounds.