The Race to The Finnish Line – Day 5, 6 & 7 Part 1!

Day 5 and 6 are nothing special. Just waiting for the boat from Rostock to Hanko. The boat is a freighter so it’s a similar experience to spending a couple of nights in wormwood scrubs!

Day 7 (Where it gets interesting!)

Up at 0500 for breakfast and a shower ready to get off of the boat at 0600. The sat nav makes depressing reading straight away telling me it’s a 10.30 drive to the delivery and I was hoping to get the load tipped this afternoon so have a quick check of the maps and it appears to be taking me 60 miles around the house to get there so I input the new route and it becomes a 9.10 which I can live with as it usually knocks time off on route.

Everything is fairly easy going for most of the day pretty much like driving up to the Mont Blanc tunnel in the winter. It isn’t until the last 100 kms that the conditions begin to change and I start wondering what’s in store in 60 kms when I have to turn right off of the main drag.

The Race to The Finnish Line – Day 4

Tuesday 5th March

I managed to get about 4 or 5 hours of sleep during the day and wake up at 1700 so make myself something to eat then go and use the typically poor showers in the services (might as well have been in Moto Thurrock with the state of them!)

I get my card back in at 1830 quick check of the load and the truck and set off for Rostock 484 miles away. As anyone doing Germany regularly will know it can make or break your delivery schedule with some of the epic traffic jams they tend to get so I’m glad I’m running through the night probably the best way to travel in Germany. I head to Liege then onto the border at Aachen where I stop for 15 minutes for the mandatory brockwürst mit brothen and a großr kaffe and crack on. 



It’s fairly run of the mill stuff on the drive nothing much exciting to report. I arrived in Rostock at 0530 and head on into the AS24 pumps to top up on the much cheaper German diesel as I don’t fancy paying the extra 9p per litre in Finland.

Then it’s on into the port to check in for the boat when the offices open. I’ve got 18 & 1/2 hours to wait until it’s time to board so it’s time to have some breakfast and get my head down for a few hours once I’m checked in I’ll take a walk into town this evening to find a beerhaus and a good schnitzel! before boarding the boat tonight.

The Race to The Finnish Line – Day 3

Monday the 4th of March 

I checked out of my hotel at midday and walked back to my truck to be greeted by the Douane’s who ask to take a look in my cab and the back of the trailer and to check my CMR’s. They’re satisfied and leave me, they go and start knocking on other doors even though the curtains are drawn and the drivers could have been driving all night for all they know. 

I take a walk back over the road to get some provisions for the week at the supermarket and head back to the truck to count down the remaining 7 hours of my 45 hour break! I call my uncle and business partner Mark to check how he’s getting on today as he’s the one bringing the Finnish load over to meet and swap over with me.

1915hrs and I’m finally allowed to put my card in and I’m chomping at the bit to get a move on now!

Me and Mark were originally going to meet in Calais to swap trailers but due to the delays I suffered on Saturday in Barcelona we will now be meeting in a routiers in Cambrai. I do my walk around checks, grab a coffee and set off into the night.

I made it to Cambrai at 0415hrs and me and Mark swap trucks. I am now swapping from my new Mercedes-Benz Actros into my old DAF XF as the trailer that I have hired from Karl Skilton is a standard height trailer and I don’t have a dual height 5th wheel fitted to my new truck yet. 

Once my break is finished I set off towards Mons in Belgium to get the maximum out of a 10 hour drive for the day. I had originally planned to drive through Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to get to Finland but I’ve been over and over it and there’s no way I’ll make the delivery on time thanks to the hold up on Saturday (loafing in Barcelona) so I’ve booked the boat from Rostock to Hanko which I’m not looking forward to as I loath sitting on the boats for 30 hours but it has to be done to stick to the delivery schedule. I’ve eventually parked up In Aire de Says at 0730hrs on 9.59hrs driving so hopefully will makes Rostock tomorrow in one shift. Now all that’s left for me to do is have something to eat and get some sleep.

Show Truck Stacks Up

As we know Eminox supplies bus, truck, non-road mobile machine and rail manufacturers around the world, as well as being the major European supplier of emission control exhaust systems for retrofit to vehicles already in service. For more information, please visit www.eminox.com


Eminox Case Study: April 2017

This award winning show truck from Ian Maclean has now been finished off with classic Eminox twin stacks. Ian was looking for the perfect finishing touch for his Scania 143M show truck, it is branded Peter Roff in tribute to the haulage operator. All his vehicles were fitted with Eminox stacks, so this was the ideal way to complete the look. 


He contacted Eminox’s Stoke centre, who specialise in Custom exhausts, including stacks, tailpipe conversions and sidepipes, in April 2016. Images of previous show trucks helped the Eminox team to understand what Ian wanted, various ideas were discussed. The final decision was to go with high top twin stacks, but also incorporate a switch over valve and twin side pipes.


The system was fitted by engineers at Eminox’s Stoke centre over 4 day’s with updates being sent to Ian, we think the result is 10/10. Ian says, “This is exactly the end result we had dreamed of for our award winning show truck.” He knew Eminox was the only way to go! To view the full custom exhaust range, including the iconic stack design, please visit: www.eminox.com/exhaust-conversions 

To enquire about an exhaust conversion, please call: 01782 206300 or email: ​ stoke@eminox.com 

Transam Pre-Christmas Trucking by Mat Ireland


It was one of those trips. I received a call from a good friend of mine asking if I would cover for him for a few days. He lives in the south of France, and his son’s 18th birthday was the day the tour was scheduled to finish. Originally his brother was going to cover for him, but he was so busy with his own work he could not take the time off, so I happily obliged. The schedule was easy enough. Take my friends car to the 02 in London, and take over the truck. Go to Dublin for two shows, ship back, tip off at Heathrow for the equipment to be air freighted to the States and go home, what could go wrong!

   Well we didn’t even leave London before it all changed! Just before I went to go and load out sunday evening I got told by our lead driver to go and wait at the coach parking as Dublin may well be off. Sure enough, due to illness we were not going to cross the Irish sea this time. Come the morning a desicion will be made what is happening. I was asked if I had my passport as there may be some equipment to go back to Holland, no problems, I would be happy to get back across the water one more time this year, where as everyone else had their sights set on home having been away for some time at this point. The first part of the new plan was to head north to near Wakefield, where several trucks would be tipped and the loads shuffled about depending on what would be going where. A few of us (myself included) were told to wait at Markham Moor truckstop initially as the loads we had would not be required initially. I decided to stop at Stibbington diner en route to eat as my culinary experience in the past of Markham Moor has left a lot to be desired, and sadly i think this is still the case, the place could do with a overhaul. We soon moved onto the Stockyard truckstop, which was closer to Wakefield and also Robin Hood airport, where the airfreight was planned to be going from instead now. Close to 5pm, I got the call from the lead driver. “I have just finished loading the trailer for you, you have Germany Belgium and Holland to tip, I will be with you soon to swap trailers” quite a change them, and as yet no details where exactly but they will follow tomorrow. So after swapping trailers I headed back to the yard to swap into my own truck for the trip, and made my way the following evening to Harwich for the night ferry out.


The Germany part was to just outside Stuttgart, over 8 hours drive from the Hoek of Holland. Upon disembarkation and with my split ferry rest finished I was off southbound. I decided to head across towards Nijmegen and then south towards Venlo as a couple of months previous one of the main motorway bridges to the north of Breda had been closed to anything over 3.5 tonnes, clearly some cracks had been found. It was a fast and uneventful route across, and with a 15 minute stop at the German border for a brew while my German OBU toll collect unit fired into life I was off again south. There is a choice of 2 routes south from here, either the 3, which is busy but generally 3 lanes, or the 61, which is a tow lane most of the way and a lot is no overtaking for trucks, not ideal. I plumped for the 3 because I did not want any hold ups. Luckily for me, the traffic flowed well, I think being so close to christmas helped. After contacting the company I was heading to I was going to get there just before they closed for christmas, but they would wait for me! Sure enough, 5:45 in the evening I arrived outside their gates, they had to unlock the back gates for me to get in as some builders had decided to park opposite their gate so I had no chance of getting in that way. Straight onto a bay, and within 5 minutes their equipment was off, probably one third of a trailer maximum. I decided I would be best putting in a 10 hour day with 3 drops still to do tomorrow I may need all the help I could get. I got back between Karlsruhe and Mannheim and managed to squeeze across the back of some parked trucks in an Autohof with about 15 minutes to spare on my time. Across the road I had noticed a 24 hour truck wash, that was plan one for the morning then as both the truck and trailer were dirtier than a tramps pocket!


After my 9 hours off, freshly showered and fed I rolled around to the truckwash at about 4am. two trucks stood in front of me, and before long a few behind, yet not much seemed to be happening. After a brew I wandered up to the front to see only one man working that i could see, I decided to give him a bit longer to see if things got moving, which they did of sorts, we all moved in front of one of the doors, but by now, with almost an hour lost nd still 3 trucks to wash i had to abandon my plans. After having a quick work, I drove straight into the wash, and straight out the other side and off north, sadly I didnt have the time to wait about and get the truck clean. Thankfully despite the lost hour i didn’t suffer with traffic issue. I had opted to return back via the 61 as I was heading to a small town called Tildonk just outside Brussels. I arrived here just before 12, and after backing in the man in charge said to me “Ah we were just about to go to lunch as the boys are hungry, but we will offload you first. Would you like a coffee?” English companies take note!! This is how to treat drivers, with a little respect, not disgust! With drop 2 prompty off, I now had the afternoon to get to Utrect and 2 deliveries fairly close to each other, but first I had to have a 30 minute break as I would not quite make it otherwise, so I opted for Meer truckstop. After a wander around the shop and in the rather empty parking area with my camera I was off again. The first drop was not easy to find as it was in a transport yard but the signs saying they were also in there were not too obvious. once again, straight onto a bay and with 5 people in the trailer I was almosty in the way trying to help!


With that done, one was left to do, so straight ‘around the corner’ (about 5kms roughly) to the last drop. A good friend of mine now works in the office here, and was shocked to see me appear at 4:30 on their last day before christmas! They had actually forgotten that any returns would be coming back. He made me a coffee and we chatted about work and also his newborn son, I dont think I have ever met a prouder dad! By the time the coffee had been downed, their warehouse staff had offloaded the trailer and I was empty and good to go. 


All that remained to was get to the hoek for the night ferry home. The traffic there was really quite busy, but I managed to make it in and park waiting with about 20 minutes driving left on my second 10 hour day, good job I decided to do one the day before too. 


Whilst on the boat I bumped into a friend of mine who works for a company I do casual work for, he was on his way back home for christmas after being away for the last 6 weeks. Once off the boat in the morning it was just a case of straight back to the yard, empty the truck and go home. That would have been it for christmas, but being very bah humbug and with a holiday looming I had volunteered to another company to work if need be, so christmas eve found me back down Harwich picking up a Visbeen fridge but loaded with post from holland for Hounslow and Slough and collecting mail to return, a nice easy run to round the week, and also the year off.

Been There & Done it

  

One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is the variety of people I get to meet. Some days it will be directors in suits and big board rooms, the next day it could be a scrap yard with nothing but metal, dirt and sheep skin coats, then on other days you get the ones somewhere in the middle. Often you meet the directors and no matter the size of business I think the transport industry is still a place where a vast majority of the big bosses have been there and done some of it. A recent meeting with a pair of directors unvailed not only two good old boys who have clearly worked hard to get where they are today but also a pair who have started at the bottom and worked their way up. I often here drivers moaning about how their bosses have no idea how to do the job but it’s worth remembering that those bosses have to have experience of something to get where they are. Anyway these two directors have built up a great business and are definitely still on the up, putting the hours in is nothing new to getting to where you want to be and one of the two told me how he started out.

 

“Back in the day, 1983, I joined PHS as a 19 year old not knowing what to do with myself, after 6 months as a trainee accountant for an insurance business.

So day 1 I remember being given the keys for a Dodge Commodore and one delivery to CNC in Horley, Surrey – no training, no showing where the controls were, just off you go! I reckon in a while I will be able to remember the reg number. I then had a year driving all over the country in a variety of 7.5tonners. I met and worked with some amazing people at PHS, many of which I am still in touch with now. 30 years ago one of our part time Saturday workers went on to become the MD of the business I currently work for. Just proves that great relationships last over time.

 Fast forward 3 years I was the Operations Director of a business that went on to become a £12m business with about 100 staff over 4 locations. PHS Transport was bought by Nightfreight on 5th November 1993 and I then became a regional Director of Nightfreight in the South of England.”

And that as they say was that! Onwards and upwards from the days of PHS and Nightfreight to where he is now, with a successful worldwide freight forwarding, transport and distribution business. If your reading this as a boss, a manager or a director then please feel free to email me with your story. We all started somewhere and most forget that applies to those at the top as well as the bottom! 

 

English Driver Attacked in Calais

 

Mick Youngs life was at risk as a metal pole was shoved through the windscreen of his Scania, is this what lorry drivers should have to put up with in European member state as they are trying to get home with another load of chips for our supermarkets shelves???? NO ITS BLOODY NOT!! And what’s being done about it?? The useless thoughtless celebrities of the U.K. are gifting these thugs with food and double decker buses to live in. What idiots these people are and it clearly shows they know and care as little as our politicians. I give it a week or two before that double decker bus is wrecked and burnt out by the immigrants. They have no interest in what they are offered by those wanting to improve their own celebrity status. All they are interested in is  putting lives at risk and all in the name of getting into the UK to live a free and supported life. But why should the unsung heroes who bring all of our worldly goods and supplies from Europe who are going about their daily jobs driving the trucks that keep Britain moving/eating/drinking etc etc have to continue to put up with the violence and damage that these mindless thugs are doing to the trucks and trailers that are more than imperative to the way the UK lives and breathes. 

  

I asked the driver of this Scania, Mick Young, to write a small piece about his terrifying experience in Calais this week. You might have seen Mick in the news already, but here is what he told TB; 

“I had just loaded a full load of frozen chips in Belguim. On my way back to Calais I rang my company to find out if there was any delays on the ferries or train , they told there were no problems on either. Three drivers who were 15 and 40 mins in front of me went straight into Calais and straight on a boat, so wanting a shower and a meal I decided to go to the boat. Coming off the motorway going down towards the dock I was following a local Calais haulier , there were police on every junction as usual. We were travelling down the dual carriageway when we came to a stop, I was next to the Calais driver and he told me to wait he was on the phone to a friend who was 5 mins in front of us. The French driver then said no problem so I followed him, we got down just after diesel alley and he came to a stop again. Within  seconds we were surrounded by 100’s of immigrants they threw huge lumps of concrete and traffic cones in front of me and started throwing big rocks, bricks and concrete lumps at the lorry and then a massive metal spike came straight through the windscreen followed by lumps of granite which landed in my passenger footwell!!  I was showered in broken glass and my forehead was cut and bleeding. My right eye had glass in it and I couldn’t see, all the time the truck was getting smashed to bits, so I tried to reverse but noticed what I thought were headlights behind me. I managed to weave through the objects in the road but there were still immigrants trying to open the trailer doors and also they were trying to get on the trailer axles. While this was going on I later found out a French Police riot van had stopped on the opposite carriageway, but the scum then threw rocks at the van and the Police drove off (unbelievable). Getting to the dock the French security searched the truck and gave me medical attention i.e. cleaned the blood off my head and put plasters on and they also cleaned and bathed my eye. They said they were embarrassed to be French that this could happen in their country. They then gave me coffee and water and put me on the next ferry. I got back into Dover and got pulled by the UK Customs, who searched me and the truck looking for these dirty rotten scum. I dropped my trailer in Dover and my eye was killing me so I went straight to A&E, who cleansed my eye it’s fine now. I had a windscreen put in the truck the next morning and was told there was roughly £2500 of damage to my truck which is my pride and joy! (Any celebs willing to pay for this?? -rd.) Then shipped straight back out to Germany!!!! We shouldn’t have to experience this in any way, but nothing will ever change either government doesn’t care , I have now been told I’m a liar and attention seeker by these people who defend this and say these people have a right to a better life in this country !!! Then you get Jude Law out there yesterday saying let them all come too this country , he might have a different view if they set a camp up in Kensington or where ever he lives !!!” 

  


A couple of points, the windscreen on a truck is made of state of the art, toughened glass that is hard to  break. It’s a daily occurance for nuts, bolts, stones and what ever else to be thrown onto a windscreen by the vehicle in front and most of the time the worst you can expect is a small chip in the glass. 

Also another very valid point to remember about the ridiculous laws that the EU and UK governments apply to our lands is this – You see the photo at the top of the blog, the immigrants that are holding poles and putting them through Micks windscreen and glass in his eyes and face – if Mick is then found to have any of these thugs hiding somewhere on his truck he can be prosecuted £2000 per person. 

Yes really! Mick is attacked and his truck has thousands of pounds worth of damage, yet he is still the only one in that photo that will be prosecuted or convicted of anything. Once again this is a case of the government protecting the thugs and instigators and prosecuting the innocent victims. 

We need something to be done before the first drivers are killed. We need some celebrity support for the drivers that fill our country with all our luxuries. But I will just add it’s not just UK drivers at risk. The immigrants also seriously attacked approximately 12 trucks that night, 2 other English,  a Turkish driver (also needed medical attention),  2 French trucks and the rest were Eastern European.

Please share, read and retweet this blog to everyone and every where we can. Our lorry drivers are what keeps our country alive. We can’t live without them no matter what the out of touch celebrities and politicians tell you. Remember the fuel protests in the early 2000’s? It took one week for the shop shelves to be empty. Next time your eating a bowl of supermarket chips just remember a lorry drivers life was put at risk for your enjoyment! 

Mick Youngs truck in its former glory before the thousands of pounds worth of damage were done.