Maintaining a trucking tradition

By: Peter Schlenk, Photography by: Peter Schlenk


Owner-driver Jimmy Russell is determined to keep the tradition of tarping alive.

Maintaining a trucking tradition
Jimmy Russell's Kenworth T909 won the trophy for Best Highway Truck at last year's Bega Convoy for Kids event.

 

Tarping is considered one the dying arts in the transport industry.

Not long ago, tarps were all that kept the freight protected from rain, dirt and mud.

It was an essential part of a good operator’s overall responsibility and meant the driver had to know how to neatly fit and tie down a tarp.

Times have changed and today there are tautliners, wingliners, slide-a-sides and Freighter’s new AutoHold.

But Owner//Driver recently caught up with Jimmy Russell, who is keeping the tradition of tarping alive.

Jimmy, who drives a Kenworth T909 hooked up to a flat-top trailer, credits his father for showing all the skills he needed to make it in the road transport industry. His rig is a perfect example of how to tarp correctly.

"It’s only a load of steel and didn’t really need tarping, but sometimes for the sake of keeping things neat and tidy, I throw the tarp over it," he says.

"I suppose it’s a matter of pride in the job I do, and I do everything to the best of my ability."

The 909 is Jimmy’s second truck as an owner-driver. His dad, Ron, drove trucks for many years and went into business for himself in 1989 with a dozer, before moving into transport to cart hay and doing any local work that came along.

Timber, steel and bricks make up the majority of Jimmy’s freight these days but he handles any general work, running mainly between Bega, Sydney and Melbourne with the occasional run over to Adelaide. He has stuck with a flat-top, finding that it still suits his needs the best.

"There’s always freight around that tautliners can’t do," he says.

"It doesn’t always work out though. You ring up some days and they want a tautliner when I have a flat-top and vice versa."

The T909 is around three years old and has notched up more than 400,000km. With its bright purple and white scheme, it attracts a fair bit of attention.

The Kenworth last year won the trophy for Best Highway Truck at the Bega Convoy for Kids event.

"It was great to get that bit of recognition," he smiles. "Even though it sees its fair share of dirty work, it’s a good looking highway truck," he says.

Read the full story on Jimmy Russell in the September 2014 edition of Owner//Driver. Click here to secure your copy now.

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