Owner operator and President of the Lights on the Hill Memorial committee, Gary Simpson, has a long history of service to the road transport industry.
The well known transport operator had just delivered a train engine to Townsville for rail freight operator Aurizon when Big Rigs caught up with him.
The 67-year-old Gary was in the cabin of his 10th anniversary Kenworth T601 powered by a Cat 15 motor, with an 18-speed gearbox and was waiting for news about a backload.
“I think I may have a train alternator to take back. I have been a subbie for Jim Latter of Conshift,” he says.
Simpson has been an owner driver for the past 10 years and has been around trucks since he was just five years old. “My dad Eric Simpson was a truckie and I just love the lifestyle,” he says, adding that he stops at roadhouses when hungry and doesn’t carry a gas cooker when away from his Acacia Ridge base.
“I like to buy meals at roadhouses so that it keeps staff employed and my favourite food is fish and salad,” Simpson says, adding that he also likes to stop at cafes in small towns.
Contrary to what many other truckies think, Simpson reckons there’s no real shortage of rest areas.
“I think the drivers who say there is a shortage are mostly the ones who cook their own meals at them,” he says.
As a youngster Simpson was a rugby league forward for the Campbelltown Kangaroos which is now a feeder club for the NRL’s West Tigers. An all-rounder, he was also a cricketer back then too.
He hopes to continue working as an owner-operator for many years to come.