Ti­tans be­neath the South­ern

A brute of a truck and tough driver to match

Big Rigs - - NEWS - Owen Or­ange

BIG gear holds a very spe­cial fas­ci­na­tion to such a wide and var­ied ar­ray of peo­ple, as the huge ma­chines roll on through.

Ad­mir­ing kids of all ages and gen­ders stand mo­tion­less tug­ging at the air in earnest hope of an ear­shat­ter­ing blast from the air horns of these much loved ti­tans of the high­way.

To those of us whose lives re­volve around the heavy trans­port world, ap­pre­ci­a­tion comes into play, no mat­ter what brand name you care to fol­low.

The bull­dog breed blood­lines may have hit their straps with the in­tro­duc­tion of the leg­endary B-model.

And most likely the pearl of them all were the Bi­cen­ten­ni­als.

Mack’s ex­ten­sive pedi­gree has yet in­cor­po­rated the com­mem­o­ra­tive 50th an­niver­sary mod­els into the cov­eted line-up of tried and proven work­horses.

One such unit is the Lim­ited Edi­tion South­ern Cross Mack Ti­tan. Num­ber Seven of the ‘edi­tion’ has found a home in the Bal­lard sta­ble.

The truck used for live­stock haulage mostly in Out­back Queens­land has a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion heavy trans­port driver and good mate Scott Heat­ley at the helm.

Just as many of us in the truck­ing game did, Scott learnt his trade from the knowl­edge handed down to him from his fa­ther.

There is no sub­sti­tute for hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence.

Scott’s dad, Mick, has that ex­pe­ri­ence in spades. Mick is an old school Black­all Freighters driver and still pulls road trains for Black­all shire.

Other trans­port op­er­a­tors that have had a huge in­flu­ence on Scott’s driv­ing ca­reer are Dave Bie­len­berg, Peter Baker and Stumpy Walker.

These blokes also gave freely of their time and well prac­tised know-how.

The value of hav­ing some­one re­li­able to pass on the good oil when you strike a snag is im­mea­sur­able.

Yes, I have driven with Mick in years gone by. But that doesn’t mean that we are old.

No, it’s just that we know a lot of older peo­ple, is our ex­pla­na­tion.

I’m quite proud of the fact that I have driven with two gen­er­a­tions of com­pe­tent op­er­a­tors who share a sim­i­lar pas­sion for the big bangers.

Many of us who spend a fair amount of time out on the black stuff of­ten whiled away the lonely grave­yard shift lis­ten­ing to au­dio books.

Scott al­ways re­minds me of one such char­ac­ter from the writer Lee Child. Jack Reacher: he’s a six foot five, 250 pound keg of dy­na­mite when en­raged and a gen­tle giant when he’s not.

Scott tells a good yarn of how he res­cued a young calf from the top deck, fear­ful of it be­ing tram­pled.

“I just got up in the crate and grabbed it, tucked him un­der me arm, and climbed out over the side and down onto the ground. Put him in the tool box on the trailer, with a cou­ple of old bags to keep him warm, sweet as a nut mate!”

A story proven when he shows me a photo sent to Scott by the own­ers of the stock, the calf now grown into a fine, fat beast.

Now who, would have the strength and agility to com­plete such a feat? Just think about the cir­cum­stances here for a minute.

You’re com­ing out over the top rail, some 4.6m off the ground.

Clam­ber­ing down the side of a stock crate with the use of one arm, the other arm is clutched onto a weighty, kick­ing, writhing, mass of fright­ened bovine.

No, not just any­one could achieve such a task. You’re one tough hom­bre old mate!

Scott reck­ons the Bal­lard Ti­tan is by far the best truck he has ever driven, pow­ered by the full grunt MP10 en­gine at 685HP with the au­to­mated MDrive trans­mis­sion that seems to be han­dling the rough stuff in the bush with­out any is­sues.

Any bad press that stock­ies re­ceive is usu­ally un­sub­stan­ti­ated or mis­in­formed.

Blokes like Scott just love their job haul­ing live­stock, and could see them­selves do­ing noth­ing else, and take huge pride in what they do to the very best of their abil­ity.

Scott reck­ons to be good stock car­rier, you need to be for­ever mind­ful of your driv­ing, so the an­i­mals keep their foot­ing.

An equal mix­ture of driver, stock­man, vet, book­keeper and me­chanic.

There are so many as­pects to our ever-vary­ing job de­scrip­tions, be­neath its vast canopy of heavy trans­port. Scott’s story is just a snip­pet of one.

And I think of him in his South­ern Cross driv­ing be­neath the South­ern Cross in the sky that leads us through the Out­back as we drive with pride.

With­out trucks our way of life would not sur­vive.

❝up I just got

in the crate and grabbed the calf, tucked him un­der me arm, and climbed out...

PHO­TOS: OWEN OR­ANGE

RE­TURN OF THE MACK: From the Bal­lard fleet, Mack’s lim­ited edi­tion South­ern Cross Ti­tan with driver Scott Heat­ley.

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