Bright banger

grabs at­ten­tion wher­ever he goes, cour­tesy of the bright yel­low Ken­worth T909 he drives for D&G Trucks in Wagga Wagga.

Deals on Wheels - - Contents - Peter & Di Sch­lenk write

Shane McMa­hon’s eye-catch­ing yel­low T909

Shane McMa­hon drives what would have to be one of the bright­est trucks on Aus­tralian roads.

“There is only one like this in the na­tion. I can as­sure you of that!” he claims.

“It has been in a crash and when it was be­ing re­built they wanted to paint it a dif­fer­ent colour. Some­thing that would stand out and that it does.”

Shane drives the T909 for D&G Trucks in Wagga Wagga and is one of the six trucks in their fleet. D&G is owned by Dar­ryl Brown­ing and Gus Urquhart and Shane de­scribes them as top blokes.

“They re­build a lot of trucks and are known through­out Aus­tralia. Peo­ple phone them from Perth and Darwin look­ing for trucks be­cause they don’t muck around. They do a re­ally good job,” he says.

The T909 had gone over on the left-hand side and has a new cab and bon­net.

“They don’t muck around; if some­thing needs to be fixed, they fix it. I know that this is as good as the day it was as­sem­bled in the fac­tory,” Shane ex­plains.

The boys added a de­cent set of ex­hausts that set off the rig, which Shane has pi­loted for the past six months.

He was in a 408 be­fore this one; it was a good truck, how­ever the Icepak gave up on him.

“So they told me to jump into this one and I’m not hand­ing it back. It is just so dif­fi­cult to keep clean,” he gri­maces.

The truck gets a wash ev­ery week and if Shane is away for any length of time, he gets in and gives it a wash him­self.

“Yeah, she’s bright! Dur­ing the mid­dle of the day when she is clean, you’ve got to have your sun­nies on be­cause she is hard on the eyes. How­ever, when a bit of cloud comes over or just on dark, she turns lime,” he says.

A while ago, Shane got pulled over and the first thing the po­lice of­fi­cer said was ‘God mate, who painted it this colour?’

“I replied that my boss had and asked why? He said that he had seen me com­ing for miles. I have to be­have, this thing stands out. It’s not hard for them to pick me out, plus it costs too much,” he muses.

Shane says the 909 is great to drive, has a nice long wheel­base, 50-inch bunk with a soft mat­tress and Icepak. It is a great op­er­a­tor’s truck and is very ver­sa­tile. The D&G fleet is very ver­sa­tile with drop decks, ex­tendible and widen­ing trail­ers plus tip­pers, he adds.

“He’s got a bit of ev­ery­thing and you need it these days be­cause you just don’t know what is go­ing to pop up,” says Shane.

Shane has brought ma­chin­ery over to Ade­laide and had an­other load of ma­chin­ery to take back to Syd­ney. Har­vest time will see him pulling a road train filled with grain.

“We do a fair bit of har­vest work which I en­joy, so the va­ri­ety of work is ter­rific,” he says. “I think it comes down to the way you present your­self and your gear and look after the freight. Loy­alty has gone in this game.”

Shane says if you turn up with dam­aged ma­chin­ery, it’s the last job that you will get.

“The bosses said to me if you go and buy a new car and it’s got a big scratch on it, you would not be very happy, so we do our best to look after the freight,” he says.

When we caught up with Shane, he was about to change a trailer tyre.

“I don’t re­ally like these ones. I would rather have spi­ders. You only have five nuts and not 10!” he chuck­les.

Shane has been in trucks for 25 years; as a coun­try boy, he grew up around ma­chin­ery and farm trucks. He didn’t get into trucks un­til he was in his 20s and a cou­ple of old truck­ers taught Shane ev­ery­thing he knows.

“One was Reg­gie Tappa and he used to run live­stock from down south up to Darwin in a W-model. We did two-up and while you would have to stop and rest them a few times for food and wa­ter, you could hold it flat and get into her. You would just look at the clock and keep it rolling,” Shane re­calls. “They cer­tainly opened my eyes up any­way.”

Ac­cord­ing to Shane, Reg­gie moved up and got a SAR and to­day he has re­tired. Shane picks up him ev­ery now and again and takes him for a bit of a run.

The other op­er­a­tor that taught Shane a thing or two was Richard Sand­ford, who Shane says would be near­ing his 90’s by now. Richard lives in Louth, NSW, and has the nick­name ‘Pip’.

“He did stock as well and was … run­ning all over NSW and into South Aus­tralia. I got sick of the stock and moved away to the mines for a while,” he says.

Shane was work­ing un­der­ground and did it for five years and that was more than enough.

“I prob­a­bly wouldn’t go back to it. I got out be­fore the down­turn. After work­ing in the mines, the mis­sus, Marissa, put her foot down. She wanted a bet­ter a life­style for our two girls, Hallee (13) and Emmy (10) than be­ing stuck out in the bush.

“A lot more credit should be given to the wives of truck driv­ers be­cause they are the ones that raise the kids. She’s top shelf, my mis­sus, I couldn’t do what I do with­out her. As a fam­ily we de­cided to move back home and this job popped up and I jumped at it,” Shane smiles.

Shane likes be­ing home in the coun­try where coun­try val­ues are up­held and he loves be­ing around good peo­ple.

“If you are in trou­ble, they al­ways give you a hand. I learnt the old-fash­ioned ways and val­ues. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I learnt with a cou­ple of leg­ends. I was very lucky,” he says.

Times change and will con­tinue to do so. As Shane rem­i­nisced when un­load­ing, he says there was a time when you could get out and about in a pair of thongs and a sin­glet.

“As with many things, the changes are pos­i­tive but I miss the mate­ship and friend­ship, they are gone. The same goes with talk­ing on the ra­dio.

It’s hard to find some­one de­cent to talk to on the ra­dio – I can tell you,” he says.

Dur­ing the mid­dle of the day when she is clean, you’ve got to have your sun­nies on be­cause she is hard on the eyes.

2013 Ken­worth T909. 97t GCM Cum­mins E5/ 550hp, 50” sleeper/icepack • QLD 07 3171 1773

2013 Ken­worth T909. 50” sleeper, 97T road train B dou­ble-rated. Cum­mins e5 • VIC 03 9998 4888

2012 Ken­worth T909. Cum­mins ISX/550hp, 50” hi rise sleeper • QLD 07 3171 1787

Above: Shane says the 909 is great to drive, has a nice long wheel­base, 50-inch bunk with a soft mat­tress and Icepak

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