It’s fair to say that Mini Truckin’ is now truly embedded in the Australian custom car culture. Celebrating 15 years, East Coast Cruise and its sponsors have been a substantial influence in supporting this subculture from the early days. After hosting at different motels for the first three years, then Merimbula in 2005 ECC landed in Batemans Bay, NSW and settled in for the following 9 years. Although this was a great location for the event problems arising from the lack of support from local authorities eventually forced ECC organizers to look towards greener pastures. Luckily they found The Station Resort, on the outskirts of the lakeside town of Jindabyne, in the Snowy Mountains. ECC had a trial run at The Station in 2015 and was invited back for a second year. This is a big deal for ECC as it’s the ultimate venue for us minitruckers and the show, with plenty of on-site accomodation, two full bars, a restaurant, showgrounds, trailer parking, and a kick ass function room for the awards night dinner.

Words: Jamie Starling & Topher Fierek | Photos: Avit “Toasty” Chauhan

The weekend takeover of The Station, which has since been dubbed “The Compound” starts with a now customary hijacking of the entry signage. Minitruckers approaching the venue after driving from all over Australia are greeted by the familiar ECC logo. Once they drive through the gates entering The Compound they are further assured that they’re in the right place with a line up of welcoming Negative Camber rides layed out along the entry road.

With the venue already full of keen Mini Truckers by Friday night it should have been no surprise that a few impromptu parties developed. By the time the sun had gone down there were DJs spinning in two different areas of The Compound, one at the Kountry Kustoms camp, and the other on the main street with a smoke machine and disco lights illuminating the street. Those who weren’t dragging their knuckles down the strip were sitting in deck chairs outside their rooms observing trucks scraping by on their sills. Noise complaints were made to the authorities by residents over 3 kilometres away. It was a good night!

Although plenty of folk arrived as early as Wednesday to get settled in, the Show, Games and Awards Dinner are held on Saturday. So by the time Saturday morning came around there were already gnarly hangovers being nursed when owners started lining their trucks up behind the limbo at the show entrance. It has to be said that the results of the limbo are fiercely competitive so the old PVC poll had to go and Tom of EZ Customs built a new tube steel limbo arch which incorporates a laser distance meter to accurately measure the roof height of each entrant. The winner of the coveted Limbo Legend trophy was later awarded to Darren ‘Dags’ Wilson with his roof chopped Toyota Hilux measuring in at 1160mm.

The philosophy behind ECC is to find a mini truck friendly venue and set dates that work to get everyone together to hang out for a few uninterrupted days, to get away from the daily grind and catch up with friends in the scene and show-off what each other has been busy building throughout the year (or years). To see all the trucks and customs layed out on the grass this year, and the smiles from attendees was evidence that the formula works. But, with pleasure comes pain, and that’s where the club games come in. The games this year consisted of a cruel relay where contestants had to drink a concoction of chilli, tuna, orange juice and milk, and run 15m wearing womens finest one piece summer bathing suits to hand over to their team mate to do the same. This was followed by a bizarre challenge, who could eat a combo of dry Weetbix coated in Nuttela & a whole banana the fastest whilst wearing a dental mouth guard. And the final test of endurance, the traditional Tug-o-war. Despite their all night partying the club that walked away with their heads held high was Kountry Kustoms.

Lowest Truck Limbo Contest:

Fast forward to dusk and the line for the Awards Dinner started to form outside the Bistro. Once through the line hungry mini truckers were faced with a bountiful buffet of roast dinner goodness before securing their tables for the evening. This year the tables were adorned with custom illustrated activity placemats by Mark Larkin Art, ECC crayons and a stack of stickers. The stage was again graciously hosted by the mainstay ECC MC’s Jamie ‘Mega’ Smith and Aaron Gregory of Memphis Hell. And were kindly assisted by the 2016 Mayor of ECC, Shaun Lizza; the Mayor is elected for their selfless efforts in helping promote the event throughout the year. On the opposite side of the stage were two layed out trucks, Steve ‘Wang’ McInnes’ Nissan Navara sporting tangerine orange paint with OG Cali style airbrushed graphics and Shaun Dougall’s body dropped, gun metal grey Isuzu Frontera poised in prime position to complement the atmosphere of the room.

With a table full of trophies by Make This to hand out, and piles of freebies from the sponsors the MC’s and Mayor were lucky to get through everything before the sun came up the next day, let alone the After Party. Amongst the trophies on offer was the best of show, Minitruckin Marvel which was no surprise when it was taken by Michael ‘Bobbin’ Ellard of Severed Ties with his Holden Rodeo, Severed Ruby. The crowed favourite, People’s Choice went to Steve McInness of Negative Camber with his outstanding old school inspired orange Navara. And the highly anticipated Hall of Fame inductee of 2016 was David ‘Slam’ Nutton of Forbidden Fantasy for his consistent and admirable contributions to the scene. The awards event wrapped up at 9pm for the masses to move across to Happy Jack’s Tavern for the After Party.

DJ’s Tisco and Rabbit were already rocking Happy Jack’s when the excited truckers made their way over to the pub. Many rounds of pool were played and the more serious Jenga competition got underway without a moments hesitation. There was even a chess tournament going on. The pub was jumping until close when everyone made their way out the front door and were instantly back on the main strip where early party leavers had already started hanging out.

It was a perfect weekend to celebrate 15 years of ECC and the Australian mini truckin lifestyle. The Station has re-energised the show and we look forward to it being the new home of ECC for many more years to come.

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