Glen (Gleno) Hadden

From about the age of 8 Gleno used to put up a tent in the backyard, light a fire and boil the billy. His old man still tells the story of Glen serving up smoke flavored tea to the family and how they were too scared not to drink it because they knew how much effort had gone into making it.

When he was about ten years old the neighbour’s family all went four wheel driving and they took young Glen along with them. He was hooked, from that moment on he knew that’s what he wanted to do. He also had his first goal in life too, he knew his first four wheel drive had to be a 60 Series Toyota.

And it was because basically Gleno is a bloke who’s good at kicking goals. From that first bush experience Glen’s been spending as much time as he can camping and off-roading, it’s a way of life for him and his family. As a kid growing up his parents weren’t exactly rolling in money so a whole lot of his early adventures were with friends and cousins.

At 13 Glen got into clay target shooting, working his way in first as a trap boy and then ending up competing in competitions. This was pretty much the pattern of his life from then on, he’d see something he liked and work his way into it until he’d succeed. Always interested in machinery, especially four wheel drives, by 14 Glen got himself a job in a workshop after school doing the cleaning and running around.

Once again opportunity knocked – this time it was speedway racing – and Glen grabbed it and shook it silly.  He took the $40 a week he was earning at the workshop and bought his first racecar, an LH Torana. The next fifteen years saw Glen competing regularly, working his way through the classes to feature in Modified Production. The racing taught Glen heaps about vehicle tuning, skills he’s developed even further since. And the racing experience itself you can see every time Gleno gets behind the wheel. He’s one of the most confident drivers in the off-road world, constantly surprising people with his ability to get vehicles through tight spots with minimum damage.

Ten years ago, having started a family and needing to concentrate on getting his business built up, Glen left the world of racing but his interests in making things handle and go fast have never waned. These days the Roo Systems workshop is recognised as the premier four wheel drive workshop in Australia with a reputation for extracting more reliable performance from the vehicles they look after than anyone else in the country. That’s why you’ll see Roothy’s vehicles at Roo Systems, because like Glen he doesn’t want anything but the best for his trucks.

Gleno nearly kicked the bucket 6 years ago when he copped a rare viral infection called ‘toxic shock strytococcal’. He took six months away from the business to recover but still reckons that facing death that time was the kick in the arse he needed to change his priorities in life. He doesn’t bother seating the small things in life anymore, Glen ‘Hasbeen’ Hadden just goes for gold. That’s when Roo Systems was born and soon after he started traveling with Roothy on DVD trips. The two blokes formed a bond from sharing adventures in the bush that only those people who’ve done it would understand. Roothy soon realised he could rely on Gleno as much as he could Roo Systems themselves, and anyway, he was the only ‘sponsor’ who’d ever offered to wash up after Roothy’s cooking segments…

Everybody who gets to know Gleno winds up liking him. There are blokes working at Roo Systems who went to school with him and Roothy still reckons he’s the best bloke to travel with he’s ever met. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how tough things get, Glen Hadden is the ultimate optimist. He’ll just grin, make a joke out of it and punch on harder than before. That’s just one of the reasons he’s out there featuring in the DustemUp DVD’s.

Roothy

John ‘Roothy’ Rooth is the best known bush mechanic in Australia. His cheeky style of driving, ability to keep an old truck running and comical bush cooking segments for over fifteen years of 4WD Action presentations have earnt him a place in the hearts and minds of Australia’ bush loving demographic.

It’s been a long track to the top though. His early years were spent on a sheep station in the Flinders Ranges in the days when all roads north of Adelaide were still dirt. His boyhood mates were the local Adjamanta kids and his passion was machinery. After leaving school he worked as a bridge carpenter in country NSW before a broken arm – motorcycling! – and Gough Whitlam’s government saw him go to university to study Australian History. He supported himself maintaining mining machinery on weekends and fixing bikes during the week. A year’s high school teaching followed and then back to the bush, this time prospecting for opal and gold. John and his brother Nick kicked off a company called RBM, Rooth Brothers Mining, possibly Australia’s worst run business but a whole lot of travel and fun!

Those bush years saw plenty of job experience including driving and maintaining harvesters, running a shearing team (and filling in for the cook), shooting feral pigs for the German market and filling in for the primary school librarian. He also began writing for magazines as a freelancer.

After selling up in Lighting Ridge Roothy took off overseas thumbing rides overland from Indonesia through Asia, India and Europe. Along the way he did a lap of Burma on an old BSA, drove six wheel drive buses in Nepal, got thrown out of Tibet by the Chinese army and ran out of money courting an Irish girl in Cork. A trip to an Aussie bank in Dublin, a new account and John bankcarded his way back to Australia just in time to take up a job testing motorcycles for Two Wheels magazine.

The next six years saw a lighting fast progression through the publishing company ranks as lifestyle magazines took off – if anyone knew about lifestyle is was John Rooth! However the country kid couldn’t handle Sydney and after six years on the city treadmill that saw him rise to managing editor Roothy left to go bush again.

After finally getting nailed down by Karen – his long suffering Handbrake – Roothy gave up the tour bike business to raise a family and get back into magazines, building a career with 4WD’s, caravans and motorhomes just as this market kicked into top gear. His practical knowledge as a bush mechanic and love of travelling this country soon saw John back on the tracks, this time hosting DVD’s for Express Media.

This time around Roothy kept coming up against new gates and restrictions traveling the land he loved. It prompted him to start the ‘Don’t Lock Up Australia’ protests which eventually morphed into the bush recreation lobby group ‘Unlock Australia’. His passion for the cause, prompted by three teenage children who all love their time spent camping, saw John leave full time work in 2013 to devote his time to getting the Unlock ball rolling.

Then along came Dustem Up and the chance to saddle up Milo and hit the tracks again with his old mates Hasbeen and Kenno. Did he think about it for long?

Would you?