FEATURING everything from 60-year-old vintage trucks to shiny mean machines armed with powerful V8 engines and plush leather upholstery, Truckfest is a petrolhead’s dream.
The popular event made its first trip across the Irish Sea this year to celebrate its 30th anniversary and gave trucking fanatics from across Ireland a rare insight into the world of big rigs. The event drew to a close on Sunday after two days of fun and festivities featuring some of the biggest names in the road haulage and trucking industry.
Event organiser Bob Limmings, a director of Live Promotions Events Ltd, said the event exceeded all expectations. He said: “From the moment we welcomed the first visitors through the gates yesterday (Saturday), we were overwhelmed by not only the sheer number of people but also their warmth and friendliness. While around 65 per cent of visitors will have been avid truck enthusiasts, 35 per cent of the people here are families enjoying a nice day out, and that’s really great to see.”
Mr Limmings said the success of Truckfest 2012 had inspired him to hold other events here.
“Bringing Truckfest to Ireland is something that was long overdue and doing it this year was the perfect way to mark our 30th anniversary,” he said. “We look forward to Truckfest Ireland being an annual event and I am confident that other events will be a great success here, based on the extremely positive response we’ve had from visitors.”
The event, which was held at the King’s Hall, Belfast, gave visitors an opportunity to get up close and personal with their favourite trucks and sports cars and also featured thrilling displays of monster trucks Bigfoot #17 and Slingshot and daredevil bikers Broke FMX. Among the trucks on display was an eclectic selection of vintage vehicles like the 1950s’ Leyland Comet as well as a host of modern machines adorned in artwork of Titanic and local stars like Rory McIlory.
Trucking fanatic James Pyke made the trip from Kilkenny and said the event was just as good as any he’d attended before. He said: “It’s nice to see such a big event taking place a bit closer to home. The event itself is of a very good standard with a good selection of stalls, entertainment and activities to keep the little ones entertained.”
Among some of the more familiar faces at the event were Coronation Street stars Samia Ghadie and Ryan Thomas, who play Maria Connor and Jason Grimshaw in the soap. Samia said: “It’s great to be here and meet everyone. There’s a lovely friendly atmosphere and I’ve especially enjoyed meeting all the Coronation Street fans!”
Ballinderry resident Joe McIlmurray has been driving trucks for 60 years and had never attended a trucking event before. He said: “In all my years as a truck driver, I’ve never seen anything like it. There is such a wide selection of different trucks and I can’t believe how the trucking industry has evolved over the years.”
Linda Murphy travelled from Cork to attend the event. She said: “Having had no interest in trucking whatsoever, I have to say it’s been a great family day out and it’s been quite educational. I had no idea trucking was so popular!”
WJ Heron, from Ballyward, said: “We have had a lovely day here. On every corner there’s something different to see.”
Truckfest is set to return to Northern Ireland next year.