Ti­tan’s tops on tim­ber

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Todd Ma­ly­cha has long had a yearn­ing to drive Macks, and he’s a happy cus­tomer now be­hind the wheel of Corbet’s Tim­ber Haulage 2005 Ti­tan. Peter and Di Sch­lenk write

In 2014, Cy­clone Mar­cia carved its way through the Queens­land coast, flat­ten­ing acres of pine plan­ta­tion around By­field, an hour or so north of Rock­hamp­ton. To­day, around 40 trucks run 24 hours a day, five days a week, to sal­vage the pine be­fore it rots.

An­drew Corbet has nine trucks haul­ing pine, one of which is a 2005 Mack Ti­tan with an en­thu­si­as­tic Todd Ma­ly­cha be­hind the wheel. The Ti­tan has re­cently been re­built and re­fur­bished in Corbet’s own work­shops.

“They just don’t make trucks like this,” Todd says. “The 600hp Cum­mins in this Ti­tan is just awe­some.”

Corbet’s Tim­ber Haulage trucks work dou­ble shifts, keep­ing them run­ning around the clock from Mon­day to Fri­day, so Todd shares his Ti­tan with an­other driver, Barry Mer­chant.

The pine is hauled to Glad­stone port where the ma­jor­ity is chipped for ex­port, though the trip suf­fers two ‘log jams’ on school days, with the roads around By­field School a no-go from 6-9am and again from 2-4.30pm.

“We’ve got two years of work here haul­ing out mil­lions of tonnes of tim­ber. Each shift you do a trip and a half, so you don’t get bored. It’s a pretty good job!” Todd says.

The fold-up B-dou­ble Kennedy trail­ers were

built in 2002 and have since been re­fur­bished. Al­though Todd is no stranger to haul­ing logs, he ad­mits op­er­at­ing the El­phin­stone fold-up B-dou­ble takes some get­ting used to.

“I al­ways think I’m go­ing to do some dam­age but no — they’re great; well de­signed and easy to op­er­ate,” he says.

Todd started in the forestry in­dus­try in Mt Gam­bier, South Aus­tralia and has spent 20 years on the road, haul­ing logs and run­ning in­ter­state.

“I loved trucks as a kid and there plenty around Mt Gam­bier,” he re­calls. “I started driv­ing when I turned 16, but got caught drink driv­ing. When I got my truck li­cence at 25, it set­tled me down be­cause be­lieve it or not I was happy driv­ing.”

At first he drove for Daryl Smith Haulage, plus the black and gold trucks of Mt Gam­bier Tyre & Brake Cen­tre. “That was an ad­ven­ture, I’ll say that much!” he ex­claims.

MACK MEET­ING

He’s driven mainly Ken­worths and Volvos over the years, with just the oc­ca­sional Mack, in­clud­ing a Su­per-Liner out of Mount Gam­bier.

“I was in a pub and spot­ted a bloke with a Mack cap on,” Todd re­calls. “I’d seen a Mack Su­perLiner around town and he told me it was his truck. I ended up work­ing for him. He was a crook but you get that.”

Todd left Mt Gam­bier and moved to South Aus­tralia’s River­land dis­trict be­fore re­lo­cat­ing to Queens­land, which is where he’s been for the past cou­ple of years.

His ca­reer has in­cluded road trains, haul­ing triples to Dar­win for ABC Trans­port, and over to Perth for HPS Trans­port.

“The only thing I re­fused to do is live­stock,” he says, which brings him to an­other of his pet hates — cows on the road. “I hit one a cou­ple of years back in Ma­landa and wrote my 4WD off. I took them to court and the judge said that ac­cord­ing to a 1947 law, cows have the right of way in Queens­land.”

He hasn’t ven­tured into the world of fuel tankers or wide loads ei­ther, and his job be­fore get­ting back on the tim­ber was driv­ing tip­pers for the Martin Group.

“It was a good change,” he says, “but the chance to get be­hind the wheel of the Ti­tan was too good to refuse.”

It’s the V8 Ti­tan that main­tains Todd’s level of driv­ing en­joy­ment, he ad­mits, adding: “If you don’t en­joy what you’re do­ing it’s just a job, but I look for­ward to go­ing to work with a great com­pany driv­ing great gear.”

LOOK­ING GOOD

While Queens­land is in­fa­mous for sub-stan­dard roads, Todd sim­ply be­lieves in driv­ing to the con­di­tions.

“The road into the plan­ta­tion is pretty nar­row, so you’ve got to drive ac­cord­ingly,” he ex­plains. “The roads are a bit or­di­nary but you have got all your call points. If you’ve got an­other bloke com­ing out, you back it off and give way to the loaded truck then away you go.

“I like com­ing through loaded be­cause you can just lug the old girl. She blows a bit of coal but plods along.”

And there’s an­other rea­son to drive care­fully; Todd doesn’t want to spoil the Mack’s ap­pear­ance.

“The rig looks great — a lit­tle bit of scroll work and a few stick­ers, and it looks a mil­lion bucks,” he says. “Why drive a new truck when you can drive one as good as this?”

The Ti­tan was too good to refuse

In brief

Driver’s name Truck Engine Trans

Freight car­ried

Reg­u­lar run Corbet’s Tim­ber Haulage Ti­tan with fold-up B-dou­ble trail­ers

Com­pany Todd Ma­ly­cha

Corbet’s Trans­port

2005 Mack Ti­tan 600hp Cum­mins 18 speed Logs

By­field to Glad­stone, Qld

Todd Ma­ly­cha prefers driv­ing Macks to any other make

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