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