This Kenworth is bright as a daisy
IT WOULD probably have been one of the most unusual places I had done an interview, perched under the jinker of a log truck keeping out of the rain, but that's where I found myself chatting to Brad Hermon at the Wangaratta Truck Show and Rodeo in early January.
A sudden sharp shower had seen us retreat for cover, and had interrupted Brad's efforts in preparing his Kenworth T900 Legend tipper for the truck show judging, but allowing some time for him to have a chat about his impressive rig.
Brad drives the Kenworth for Daisy's Landscape Supplies, with the truck based out of the company depot at Carrum Downs in Melbourne's southeast, and is normally seen with a quad-dog in tow hauling a myriad of products.
"Anything that goes in your garden - rock, mulch, sand or gravel for driveways and so forth,” Brad said.
Fertiliser is also a mainstay during the summer months, which was the catalyst for Brad attending the Wangaratta event.
"This time of year we do a lot of farm work with fertiliser. It all came together this week with a load of lime to go to Carboor (northeast Victoria) so I came up this morning and drove through 60k's of bull dust into the job site, tipped that off and came here. I have spent the last few hours washing the truck and fighting the rain,” he said.
With their eye-catching yellow and white fleet colours, there are around 75 trucks in the Daisy's fleet, which ranges from a number of smaller tippers through to SARs, cab-over K-200s and a T950 Legend, along with Brad's T900, which arrived in the fleet mid-2018.
Under the long square bonnet lies a Cummins X15 rated at 550 horsepower, which is coupled to an 18-speed Roadranger and, fully loaded with the truck, rated to 57.5 tonne.
The T900 was built #52 down the Kenworth production line in Bayswater, and underwent some extra customisation before going to work.
"Klos Custom took care of all the accessorising, TFI did the paint and Hercules did the bodies - the T950 Legend in the fleet is #49 and Daisy's always put out well-specced and well-presented trucks,” Brad said
The Kenworth had only clocked up 16,000km with Brad behind the wheel since new.
He got behind the wheel of the T900 out of a T409.
"I had a T409SAR before this, which was a good little truck, and the boss surprised me in the yard with this one Friday night and handed me the keys,” he said.
For 35-year-old Brad, taking on the driving duties of the T900 was the latest instalment in an industry he has had a life-long association with.
"I have been around trucks all my life. I started off doing furniture removals and went on to bigger things - started in tippers around the age of 20 and I haven't looked back,” he said.
He worked over in Western Australia driving roadtrains for McAleese for a time before heading back to Victoria to start a family.
"I did quads out of Port Headland, which was all good fun until the timing was right to come home. I have been with Daisy's for the last two years and I am well looked after here,” he said.
Brad was looking at heading home to Pakenham after the show, where his four-year-old daughter Charlee is also a big fan of the Kenworth.
"I took it home after the Castlemaine Truck Show in mid-November and I reckon it took me three hours to prise her out of the driver's seat - she loves it. Anything yellow she says: 'There's Daddy's truck!',” he said.
Brad's efforts with the polishing gear paid off in Wangaratta as he took out the award for Best Presented Conventional.
He reckons the big Kenworth is more than up to the job and is a good bit of kit to operate.
"She's a good little banger. She floats along nicely,” he said.
"It's like an armchair on wheels.”