S & K Whitehead Earthmoving plays a pivotal role in keeping the farmlands, national parks and roads around Corryong in north eastern Victoria in order and runs a fleet of mainly Kenworth trucks including a T409 and a new T410SAR tipper are part of a formidable force that keeps the operation ticking over, day in and day out.
Owner Simon Whitehead is impressed with the ride of the T410SAR, saying he reckons it rides a little better than the T409, “which might have something to do with the more set forward positioning of the steer axle,” says Simon.
Interestingly, he says the forward set steer axle is the reason why the tipping body is positioned further rearward, ensuring optimum weight distribution between all axles. That said, Simon shares that he teaches his drivers and operators to always load the trucks at the rear first so that the load tapers toward the front to eliminate the possibility of overloading the steer axle.
“I’ve had people commenting online that the body is sitting too high and there’s too much gap between the body and cab, but there is good reasoning behind this,” says Simon. “The wider gap between the body and cab is so we don’t overload the steer axle and the body sits up higher off the chassis so the tailgate doesn’t foul the trailer drawbar when the body is tipped right up.
“I like the Kenworths because everything is built properly on them – they’re a proper truck. I have a stock carting mate who goes to some pretty wild places and all his trucks are Kenworths.”
Simon reveals that he has visited the Paccar production facility at Bayswater in Melbourne and was fascinated to see the Kenworths being built. It was an experience, he says, that enhanced his opinion that they are an exceptionally well-built piece of machinery.
“It’s unbelievable to think that in two days they start from two chassis rails laying on the deck and then everything is bolted on to make a fully operational truck that’s driven off the line, that’s pretty impressive,” says Simon.
“It’s a real plus that they are built here, we need to keep our local manufacturing going. It’s a truck that’s built tough to handle tough Australian conditions. You could buy a cheaper brand of truck but when you need to cash it in no one will give you anything for it.
“Whereas if you’re looking to buy an old T950 in good nick, for example, you won’t find one for less than $100,000, especially if it has a Cat engine in it.”
As the conversation draws to a close, it’s easy to conclude that Simon Whitehead has a deep affinity for his team of talented drivers and the fleet of mainly Kenworth trucks that have helped him sustain a successful business in recent years.
Having the ability to cater for the diverse earthmoving, clearing and road maintenance needs of the regional community surrounding Corryong definitely makes S & K Whitehead Earthmoving one of the great allrounders in the highly competitive Australian trucking industry.