Giti Tyres Big Test - Jimmy's judgment
There is an immediate clue that veteran truckie Jimmy Clark is a bit of a traditionalist: When given the chance to help spec a new Kenworth K200 for his boss, he opted for a good old 18-speed Roadranger manual, rather than the easygoing automated manual alternative.
We understand that his stunning-looking new Kenworth is something of a pat on the back for Jimmy – a reward for his loyalty to Patumahoe potato, onion and carrot growers and marketers A.S. Wilcox & Sons….who he's worked for since 2003.
Old-school preferences are hinted-at again when the 50-something Jimmy mentions that really, he would have been quite happy staying at the wheel of "the old girl" – the Wilcox Kenworth K104 he'd driven for the last 14 years. When the boss initially talked new truck, Jimmy suggested maybe just a new trailer to go behind the old Kenworth would be nice.
So, in the light of these indicators it's not surprising that when he's asked about the high-fallutin', high-tech safety features that are offered with the North American cabover these days (some standard, some optional), Jimmy is pretty staunch in his opinion.
Pirelli Trevor Test
It's an impressive-looking beast, the A.S.Wilcox & Sons K200 Kenworth as it sits at the company's Patumahoe HQ, ready for another run down to Matamata to bring back a load of onions or potatoes.
Driver Jimmy is proud of his new ride but reckons he would have been happy with a new trailer to go behind his old K104….but the bosses thought differently.
So we're off down to the Waikato with a load of empty produce boxes to swap for a load of full ones for the trip back.
My son Hayden jumps into the driver's seat for the run across to Tuakau, out onto State Highway One at Pokeno and on down to Ohinewai.
As he says: "It's an easy run with only empty spud boxes on the back, but a good chance for a novice like myself to play with an 18-speed. Because most trucks we test drive have AMTs, it's been a year since I last ground some teeth.