7 am. The alarm sounds and i drag myself out of bed to a cup of coffee and head to the shop. I am a "HGV technician". Well, hairy arse diesel fitter to give it its unofficial name. Awoke by the smell of diesel and the sound of a DAF straight 6 every day i'm just one link in the chain that connects the nations roads together. However, my role is a mere backstage support to the real stars of the show, the drivers and their rigs.
"Breaker breaker that's a big 10-4". long gone now are the days of the CB and true brotherhood between drivers in the UK. Coming from a haulage background in a small family fleet this community spirit was still there and is truely the lifeblood of the industry. This romanticism was first introduced in the 70's thanks to films such as "convoy" and "Smokey and the bandit", as well as the lure of the great adventures of the middle east. With these drivers all reaching the end of their careers and young men and women reluctant to start, this community is slowly dying. However, there is a hope...
Truck-fest is one of the worlds biggest celebrations of all things with big horsepower and big wheels. It's where drivers, owners, managers, mechanics and fans all turn out in their thousands to celebrate these machines and the people who drive them. This year my coverage was from Truck-fest Scotland up in Edinburgh. In my opinion, the best of them all. The north of England and Scottish fleets boast some of the most customized, cherished and hard working vehicles in the whole of the UK and the best of the best were all on display to see here this year.
Just one of R.H Scott's imposing and impressive Scania R Series topline log haulers proving even the hardest working trucks can clean up nicely!
The levels of pride and customization put into each truck on display were amazing. With each manufacture's stand adorned with their favorites from above the border, as well as each company's line ups, there was definitely plenty to experience! My favorite vehicle on show? An easy decision for me. Paul Hinchcliffe Transport and their unbelievable DAF XF Euro 6 tag axle super space cab. The truck itself was presented by Kelsa, the leading truck customization company, and was adorned with all the best parts in the Kelsa catalog as well as a vast array of other extras such as side lockers, straight pipe exhaust stacks, fully custom interior and covered chassis. Despite the gloom of the weather, my mission to recreate one of the most famous photos (Also of this DAF) was an astounding success! Two shots were all that was needed to capture the glistening red paint and mirrored Alcoa Alloy wheels in the perfect Truckfest moment that summed up the quality turnout perfectly.
It wasn't just the most popular manufacturers such as DAF and Scania that were out in force. The less popular brands were showing off their prides and it's fair to say that they were up there and fighting it out with the best of them. One of these was Renault. As one of the less popular brands, Renault trucks have always been looked down upon in UK trucking culture. However, since their takeover by Volvo, quality and style have improved dramatically- And so have the sales. Around the Renault stand the manufacturers selection of vehicles was perfect bringing everything from the plain workhorse to the show ponies and everything in between! Here's my choice. This new Range T is the perfect balance between show truck and work truck and, with its inspiration being the A-team, this is the Range T that Mr T would have dreamed of! Adorned with bull-bars and beacons; the red, grey and black livery of the famous van works perfectly with the aggressive lines of the new Volvo derived cab and is a truck that brought generations together the whole event.
This Renault is the perfect example that the lightest of customization and a cleverly thought out livery is all that's needed to stand out from the crowd.
So there we have it. I could talk for pages more and break down every truck and every photograph but other work is calling-And that is the best bit. These trucks, these people, become the celebrities for the weekend and their trucks immortalized in photographs but once its over and they have rolled out in a symphony of chrome and steel will be back to it. Monday morning. 7AM; 6AM, 5AM. Whatever the time may be, the weekends celebrities will be back on the road and doing what they do best. Keeping the world turning. 18 wheels at a time.