Metallic DAF

Hey Ben how are you doing? I thought since I not been able to get many truck photos at the moment I would send you a little trip I did a few years ago.

The office called me up asking me if I wanted a few weeks work as things were a little quiet. They focused on two jobs one involved been in my own truck for Trans Am and the other would then be jumping into an EST truck for another two weeks with a different artist. I’ll focus on the Trans Am one as I have more photos of that job.

The job involved taking one of our little trailers to Heathrow where I would load Backline for Metallica that was coming in by airfreight. I then had to take a leisurely drive over to Berlin to a Tv studios. Since I was in no big rush it was the day boat from Harwich to The hoek and then across to Hengelo and into Germany via Bad Bentheim. This would see me go past Osnabruck- Hanover- Magdeburg and then up into Berlin. Working out my timings I realised I could do this during the day as we usually work night times which then ment I could go to Marienborn services just on the A2 there and look around the museum.

This was the old customs checkpoint from east to west Germany and it looks like they just closed the doors one day and walked out. Now you can park in the services and wander around the old huts. It’s all very interesting and worth stopping. After been educated it was time to crack on to Berlin where I then realised the Christmas markets were on. I parked for the night in the Avus autohof and didn’t venture to far. The next day saw me Drive to the the Tv studios which just happened to be beside Berlin Templehof airport which was famous for the Berlin airdrop we tipped the truck in good time and I took myself off to meet a friend and a walk around the airfield before visiting a Christmas market then back the venue and discuss plans then it was time for bed as I had a double drive to Paris for another tv show the next night. We wrapped up the Berlin show and the People in Paris got into contact with me with regards to parking they needed to have me park off site as the place was only small which in itself wasn’t an issue but sounded a bit of a ballache to find.

Part 2. Berlin to Paris. 
Once on the road to Paris we retraced our steps to a certain point. This time it was Hanover-köln-Aachen into Belgium liege to Mons then down to Paris. On arrival to Paris the bus caught up with us and we went together into the Tv studios. The representative of the studio came out to show us where to unload ETC looked at the truck and asked me where the rest of it was. Turns out they didn’t realise we had a small trailer on and the bus and truck could fit in the garage where we unloaded and happily stayed all day. Once we tipped it was straight to bed and exactly 9hrs on the button the band had finished and it was time to pack up as quick as we could and head to London For a radio show. My little holiday at the start of the trip was well and truely over…  (No photos of this section as it was all go go go)

Part 3 Paris to London.
Leaving Paris behind it was time to head to calais. In the middle of the night in 2015 calais at night time wasn’t the best craic but since I was in a rush it was straight into the train and ship across. Next destinationThe iconic Maida Vale studios in London for the bbc rock show. Iv been here a few times before and the lads are decent enough at security and it’s literally a case of abandon the truck on the street and leave it there so that was that. Once I was tipped it was time to to fire off a few emails as the next gig was a secret show we were doing at House of vans . This is a skatepark under Waterloo train station which doubles up as a small concert venue so had to get various different permissions to park there. Once the Maida Vale sessions were over it was quite late which ment a nice easy drive around to Waterloo and park up. On arrival my heart dropped when I saw graffiti absolutely everywhere and thought the truck was gonna get done over. I went out and spoke to the lads doing it and they assured me the truck would be ok as it’s one of the only legal graffiti places in London and they don’t dare do anything stupid to ruin that. A bit of a sleepless night and I woke up to our sister company EST truck beside me who brought in extra Audio etc for the show. We tipped everything out and I went off to swap trucks and then reload for the same kind of agenda. All in all was a great little trip. Hope you enjoyed it and here’s photos of London.

By Joey McCarthy @katterjok

MAN and Machines

It’s been a fair while since I have been able to do a good blog on the logistical magician that is Steve Marsh of Express fame. Recently the Marsh MAN has been seen frequenting the A55 and the green roads of Ireland, in fact this week he has two trips to the Emerald Isle booked. Last week however it was a different story. A lovely little bit of logistical excellence with minimal empty running. Load Northern England, tip and load Italy, then back to Northern England.

Marshy is based near Warrington in the North West of England, not a million miles from Liverpool. The job started on Thursday, with the loading of a transformer housing from Sherburn in Elmet in Yorkshire. The little MAN TGL was built to Marshys own strict requirements and although it added a fair amount of weight, the importance of a sliding roof on the 12 tonner has been proven over and over. The truck has everything required to load a large but sensitive item through the roof and transported over 1200 miles to its destination. Once loaded it’s off down the A1, A14, M11, M25, M2, A2 to Douvres. Boat to Calais and then off down through France, up and over Mont Blanc and into Italia.

Break time in the Alps

Once into Italy, time was ticking for Marshy to take a weekend break. Having got most of the way down towards Subbiano in Tuscany, Steve parked up Saturday afternoon in the last services before the delivery point to take a well earned rest through to Monday morning. Up and away Monday to Subbiano, tip the transformer housing off for testing and then straight on to the reload. What a nice little reload it was! So a little empty running from Subbiano upto Comezzano-Cizzago near Brescia, just the 246 miles, to reload a small aeroplane back to the UK, loading Monday evening.

Loading finished Monday PM, then it was back onto the autostrada and head towards the Blanc and a full retrace of his steps back to Calais. A couple of stops along the way to make sure the plane hadn’t moved were required by Mr Conscientious as you can imagine. The plane was only 300kg all in, made from carbon fibre and fitted with a litre 2 litre engine. The hardest part of the load were the wings according to Marshy as they were so light and couldn’t rub on each other.

#volvogate

Another Calais Dover crossing and then back up North to Kirkby near Liverpool. The plane was delivered on Thursday last week to a flying school on a farm, so the final stretch was probably the hardest part, down through a farm track, plenty of bumps and pot holes and not to mention the low trees! All said and done, it’s all in a days work for the little MAN and it’s pilot. Another round trip complete and another couple of happy customers. The trucks capabilities, the sliding roof, the tail lift to load and unload the plane…..experience is key people, experience… is… key…

A little mileage breakdown just for fun? Yea go on then, why not!

  • Empty – Warrington to Sherburn in Elmet = 72 miles.
  • Loaded – Sherburn in Elmet to Subbiano, Italy = 1230 miles.
  • Empty – Subbiano to Comezzano-Cizzago = 246 miles.
  • Loaded – Comezzano-Cizzago to Kirkby = 1002 miles.
  • Empty – Kirkby to Warrington = 19 miles.

To sum up then;

  • Total miles = 2569 miles.
  • Loaded = 2232 miles.
  • Empty = 337 miles.

The American Road Trip – Part 9

Eventually all good things come to an end and the adventure is over and we arrive in Portland, Oregon for the last race, but not before dinner at Hooters and a walk around town to see what’s going on. As it turns out it has more homeless drug addicts than I’ve never seen before.

So the journey ends here and it’s been a brilliant and eye opening experience as I mentioned earlier the team was badly managed but having spoken to others in motor sport since who have told me it’s better at other places but not by much so I’ve concluded that Motorsport definitely isn’t for me.

I’d like to say thank you to Dave Nickalls who I shared a truck with and who I have known for a few years now. We had a chance meeting 4 years ago in a German autohof, when he worked for Red Bull Racing. Dave has become a friend and worked for me driving my trucks a few times. Dave was also the one who invited me out to America and gave me the opportunity to take part in this trip.

The American Road Trip – Part 8

Once the race is over and the trucks loaded it’s the last drive the big one! 2050 miles in two and a half days. I haven’t written much about the actual driving yet so here it goes, how I see it. 

Most of the roads are straight flat and there isn’t much to look at so it’s necessary for the trucks to be able to do the same speed as cars as 56mph would be torture. The drawback is that it’s a lot more tiring as your always on it, trying to pass some or being held up by someone albeit not much as the car drivers in America get a move on as well unlike home! You’re not likely to encounter many people dawdling along in the middle lane at 50mph and if you do there doesn’t seem to be any rule against just undertaking them. In most places you can just use lane 3 in a truck anyway. As a result after 11 hours (which you can do every day of the week!) driving you do feel properly f**ked you can see why some drivers here feel to use amphetamines to stay awake when driving. As for the speed it work’s for the reasons mentioned and because of how the trucks are designed with the double drive bogies and axles on the back end of the trailers, they are surprisingly stable when tanking along at 75mph or even 92mph which I reached (accidentally honest) at one point. 

The cabs are brilliant to be honest. I think what we had was technically a fleet spec motor but still better than anything we have in Europe, the space is awesome and so comfortable it’s like driving around in a studio flat. The Freightliner itself is a nice truck, we never found out the horsepower of the trucks as it’s not written on the side of the motor or on the engines. The Detroit engine pulled well still doing 50mph loaded at 36 ton up some big hills easily as steep as Bourge-en-Bresse and as I said before they have the Merc gearbox working better than Mercedes do!

The last 4 hours of the drive are the best by far. We travel on the I84 which runs along the Columbia river and runs side by side a train track the views are stunning. It is up there with the best roads I’ve ever driven. The freight trains you run alongside are incredible we counted one to be 90 carriages long at least 1.5 miles but more likely 2 miles long!!

The American Road Trip – Part 7

The next day at the track we get our duties over with a lot quicker than we’d like, then go for a walk to see the sights. As you can imagine with the size of an Indy Car event, there are loads and loads of different trucks and vehicles. Race teams the world over use high spec, top quality trucks and Indy Car is of course no different, some may even say these are better than the rest! Big trucks, big paint jobs but still a few oddments. Just when you think you have seen an amazing cross section of US trucks, you come across a Ford Cargo!

The day cabbed Ford Cargo may be a rarity but not unique. What I am sure is unique in North America is a fully liveried in Liverpool Football Club colors, Volvo VN. Soccerball is not my sport, but some of your are football crazy, so if you move to the United States and want to personalize your truck…….well, paint it red and add some famous Scouse names and phrases and Robert is your mothers brother!

The American Road Trip – Part 5

Eventually once the torture is over, the race is cancelled 30 laps before the finish due to the weather, so it is time to pack away ready to head off for the next race. The next drive is 877 miles which is do-able on a double drive but not necessary so we are stopping in Indiana where most of the other teams are based. We are taken out for the night by Geoff, a former truckie for Carlin Motorsport who now works at a different team based in Indiana. Geoff takes us to a place called the 1911 grill which is a really cool sports bar and includes a ski ball alley, a shuffle board table and a go kart track… yes that’s right a go kart track!! Believe it or not, the best meal of the whole trip, a steak to die for!

The American Road Trip – Part 4

The next morning (05/09/19) we set off at 0800hrs to finish the last bit of the drive to the track. We spend the next few days setting up and working at the track which if I’m honest wasn’t very interesting. The time management at the team isn’t very good, so there’s a lot of time standing around with nothing to do and by a lot I mean around 9 hours a day, so there’s plenty of time to wander about and see what else is going on between duties.

The American Road Trip – Part 3

We set off on September 4th and it’s 1240 miles from the workshop. We are double manning in two Freightliner Cascadia’s. I drive a Mercedes-Benz Actros at home so there are some familiar sights and sounds right away as Mercedes have some steak in Freightliner (Both owned by Daimler – TB) as the gearbox is the same, albeit hooked up better than it is in the Merc and the steering wheel and a lot of the buttons and dashboard are the same. Our first destination is Kenly 95 a truck stop in North Carolina. Some of you will know the truck stop shop in Lymm and some of you will know the one in Brescia est (Italy)… well if those two had a baby then put it on steroids you’d get this place! There’s so much in there it’s hard to know what to look for in there. It’s so big it has a Peterbilt truck on a turntable in the window and a Kenworth with a trailer on the shop floor. The highlight was the aisle of stack exhausts that from the other side of the room looked like a church organ!

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