Chatteris and Ely companies celebrate success at Truckfest 2019 - and Wisbech firms gets a special mention for their input

PUBLISHED: 10:59 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:00 13 May 2019

Chris and John Sallis with the Volvo FH N111HFF - P J Lee & Sons, Ely. Truckfest 2019. Picture; GARY MALKIN

Chris and John Sallis with the Volvo FH N111HFF - P J Lee & Sons, Ely. Truckfest 2019. Picture; GARY MALKIN


Local companies enjoyed success at Truckfest, the biggest outdoor trucking festival in Europe. Attracting the biggest names in the haulage industry from around the United Kingdom some 3,500 trucks were in attendance.

Chris and John Sallis with their Volvo - P J Lee & Sons. Picture; GARY MALKINChris and John Sallis with their Volvo - P J Lee & Sons. Picture; GARY MALKIN

Amongst those were Rowell's Transport from Chatteris and P.J.Lee & Sons, Highflyer Farms from Ely, both of whom had enjoyed success during 2018 competing at truck shows around the country.

At the Peterborough Truckfest. Rowell's entered seven trucks from their fleet and P.J.Lee & Sons, entered one of their Volvo FH's (2016).

Monday afternoon saw the award presentations in the main arena where both were invited as grand finalists and neither was to be disappointed.

The best kept new truck was won by Rowell's Scania AT18ROW while they also achieved third in Best Kept Fleet against strong opposition.

Scania R AT 18ROW - Rowell's (Swedfest) . Picture; GARY MALKINScania R AT 18ROW - Rowell's (Swedfest) . Picture; GARY MALKIN

For Chris Sallis from 'Highflyer Farms' it was also a double win, their Volvo FH taking Best Company Owned truck and the main prize, the prestigious Best Overall Working Truck.

Following their success, a spokesperson for Rowell's said; 'We are delighted to have won two trophies, as Peterborough is such a massive show it's even more satisfying to be recognised as one of the top three fleets. As you can imagine we were even more made up when we got awarded a 1st for Best New truck with our Scania AT18ROW. As always it was a brilliant weekend at Peterborough along with some great results for us'

After the show I was able to visit the Champion Volvo along with driver Chris Sallis at P.J.Lee & Sons Highflyer Farm's, Ely.

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The truck is a 2016 Volvo FH painted in a special metallic grey colour mixed specially for Highflyer Farm's along with Post Office red. Detailed airbrushing on each corner in black show Peter J Lee (Senior Partner/Founder) and the famous 'Highflyer' racehorse from where the farm takes its name.

The paintwork was carried out by Kirk Coachworks in Wisbech who have always customised the Farm's three truck fleet. The truck works all week operated by the farm, hauling produce from the fields to points around Cambridgeshire and the Fens.

When the truck is not working, usually on a Saturday, driver Chris, spends hours polishing the hard working truck. Ahead of a show the truck works right up until the show day and is then washed, panels and wheels removed and polished before heading to the show.

On arrival the truck is re-washed, panels removed, cleaned and polished, this is an ongoing process for the duration of the show as showgrounds are often dusty places for which judges make no allowance.

For Chris the breakthrough came at last year's Truckfest East where the Volvo won Best Company owned truck and Best working truck in show, this was then repeated at a further three shows.

'Winning at Truckfest East was great as it was our first win but to then go on and beat stiffer competition at the larger Truckfest in Maldon later in the year was even better. To win the double again at Peterborough, against all the top trucks in the Country is on another level. The response from this win has been greater that any of the others. It makes all the hard work worth it and my Father John is just as much part of this as I am'

When I photographed the truck with trophies it had just finished a regular day's work having been in fields and farmyards around Cambridgeshire.

For farm operated truck this is a huge achievement against the top haulage companies from around the UK.

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