Brian Barnik was of­fered a job as the reg­u­lar driver of a new Ken­worth T610 SAR. He jumped at the op­por­tu­nity, write Peter and Di Sch­lenk

Owner Driver - - OWNER // DRIVER -

KEN­WORTH’S NEW T610 models have hit the ground run­ning with a num­ber of fleet op­er­a­tors snap­ping them up.

McPher­son’s In­ter­state Trans­port, based at Myrtle­ford in Vic­to­ria’s high coun­try, was one of the first to pur­chase a T610 SAR, with driver Brian Barnik be­ing the lucky re­cip­i­ent. Brian jumped out of a Transtar to drive the 610 and re­ally no­ticed the dif­fer­ence with the mod­ern Ken­worth.

“This en­gine feels like you are in a plane tak­ing off – it has a nice note to it as well,” Brian smiles. “I could re­ally get used to driv­ing this.”

The SAR is kept busy do­ing Carter Holt Har­vey work, car­ry­ing tim­ber to the main­land cap­i­tals of Syd­ney, Ade­laide, Bris­bane and Mel­bourne.

“No-one knows what it is,” Brian says of the new Ken­worth. “It doesn’t have many badges, just one Ken­worth badge on the grille.

“I can’t fault it, re­ally. There have been a few mi­nor things but the ride is ex­cep­tional. On the run from here to Ade­laide I didn’t feel a bump.”

The T610 SAR looks the goods in McPher­son’s colours and Brian takes a lot of pride in it, just as he does with his own Ken­worth.

“I’ve got a 1978 Ken­worth with an 8V92 Detroit in it and am restor­ing it slowly. It was orig­i­nally a Goul­burn-based truck and is a very orig­i­nal old girl.”

Brian is a Ken­worth man through and through. He even has a Ken­worth tat­too to back it up.

How­ever, he ad­mits he’s not crazy about the plas­tic switches and the cur­tain tracks on the new model, but he’s more than happy with the cab space and the smooth ride.

“The X15 Euro 5 Cum­mins sounds great and pulls very well. Alan [McPher­son] has specced it up very heav­ily with the in­ten­tion of do­ing some float work later.”

McPher­son’s also has its own earth­mov­ing and land­scape busi­ness in Myrtle­field. Even­tu­ally the truck will be fit­ted with hy­draulics.

Land­ing the job in the T610 al­lows Brian to work out of his home town.

“I grew up in Myrtle­ford and it’s good to be here. My mum and dad are get­ting on, so now I can help the old man a bit.”

Brian has been in and around trucks for decades. Although his par­ents weren’t in­volved in the trans­port in­dus­try, they were friends of the Rouse fam­ily, lead­ing him to start work at John Rouse Trans­port’s yard be­fore he even left school. There he would help wash and grease the trucks.

Back then John Rouse Trans­port had three trucks in its fleet, but now John’s son Kurt runs over a dozen. It led to led Brian do­ing 15 years as a me­chanic and 17 years driv­ing.

“I just loved trucks. It’s a dis­ease,” he ex­claims.

“Once you are into them you can’t get out of them.”

By the time Brian was 19 he was look­ing for a change of scenery and headed for Queens­land, land­ing a job work­ing on Peter­bilts.

“I en­joyed do­ing that. Peter­bilts

“This en­gine feels like you are in a plane tak­ing off – it has a nice note to it”

are a dif­fer­ent class of truck but I got the itch to drive and started with Rich­ers Trans­port in Mary­bor­ough.

“That was my first in­ter­state job, run­ning down to Syd­ney in a Mack Vi­sion. That was my first banger and was fol­lowed by an Iveco Pow­er­star. I thought that was flash.”

Based in Her­vey Bay, Brian went to work cart­ing milk out of Ip­swich to Her­vey Bay.

Then came a stint with Emer­ald Re­frig­er­ated Haulage run­ning sup­plies out to the mines.

“They were yel­low and white rigs. It was all hand un­load­ing and that was very dif­fer­ent, but it was a cool job.”

A few other jobs fol­lowed, in­clud­ing a stay with Ge­off Richards Trans­port do­ing pro­duce and ex­press.

The move back down south came in 2013 and Brian found a job in Mel­bourne but left be­cause of con­tin­u­ing main­te­nance is­sues, which led to reg­u­lar run-ins with the road and trans­port au­thor­i­ties.

“I was al­ways break­ing down; it was a night­mare,” he re­calls. “Ba­si­cally, I pulled the pin and then Macca [Alan McPher­son] came and saw me.”

Work­ing out of Myrtle­ford also means more fam­ily time with wife Melissa and daugh­ters Milena (Mil­lie) and Haylee, although it’s not un­usual to see one of them along­side Brian in the truck.

“Melissa and I trav­elled all over Aus­tralia to­gether in the truck, even af­ter Mil­lie was born,” he says.

“A friend of mine calls her ‘Park­ing Bay’ as that was the only time you got to see her. We al­ways caught up with mates and friends in park­ing bays,” he laughs.

Melissa doesn’t have a truck li­cence but en­joys go­ing along for the ride.

“She came with me to Syd­ney last week,” Brian con­tin­ues.

“I’ve al­ways done the fam­ily thing; try­ing to take the fam­ily or one of the girls when they’re on school hol­i­days. And there is plenty of room in the T610.”

The Barnik fam­ily: From left, Melissa, Milena, Haylee and Brian

The T610 SAR at Myrtle­ford, Vic­to­ria, with Mount Buf­falo Na­tional Park in the back­ground

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