Truck of the Year

By: Warren Aitken


A stunning reminder of a tragic accident has landed the Yates family the coveted 2019 Owner//Driver Tranzmile Truck of the Year award. Warren Aitken writes

Truck of the Year
Owner//Driver’s Warren Aitken presents the Tranzmile Truck of the Year trophy to the Yates family of Kiama, NSW

It was an extremely competitive field for the 2019 Tranzmile Truck of the Year award and while it really could have gone to any of the 12 entrants, it was the Yates family with their T909 Kenworth that secured the votes from Owner//Driver readers.

The ‘Kyecon’ Kenworth was December’s Truck of the Month so it still fresh in everyone’s mind. The beautiful black T909 belongs to Peter and Sheridan ‘Shez’ Yates. Together they run Yatcon, a civil construction company in Kiama, NSW.

However, tragedy had struck the Yates family in June last year when their 10-year-old son Kye was killed in an ATV accident on the family farm. It was a devastating accident that no family should ever have to endure. Kye was described as "an old man in a young man’s body", his capacity for generosity, care, compassion and thoughtfulness was well beyond that expected from a boy that age.

Since he was five years old, Kye had been the family’s driving force when it came to fundraising for the i98FM Illawarra Convoy. He began by persuading his dad Peter to drive the company Iveco in the convoy and ended with the Yates family sponsoring a yearly FMX show that brought hundreds of people and thousands of dollars into the event.

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Even still, this wasn’t enough for the plucky Kye. He hounded his father to bid for the lead truck role in the i98FM Convoy, all in the name of charity.

Five days after Kye’s passing, and filled with grief, Peter rang Suttons Trucks and ordered Kyecon. With assistance from Michael Maranda, the local Kenworth salesman, the truck was put on the books and Peter left Michael in charge of producing a truck fit for a 10-year-old legend.

While the Kyecon truck was being constructed, the Yates family set about the other half of Kye’s dream, achieving the lead truck position in the i98FM Illawarra Convoy. In order to achieve that there was an enormous amount of fundraising required. The previous year the position went to Rob Starcic and the Team Dandaloo boys who raised over $300,000.

At the start of November 2019, with the stunning Kyecon truck sitting outside the family home, the Yates family took part in the live auction for lead truck position. With an incredible bid of $500,000 they achieved Kye’s dream. What was even more incredible, a few days beforehand they had also topped the auction for lead bike as well with a bid of $108,000. Leading bids on both truck and motorbike had never been achieved before and neither had a there been such a massive fundraising amount $608,000.

Then in December 2019 the Kyecon Kenworth took the Owner//Driver Rig of the Month title.

Following 2 months of voting, the Yates family’s stunning T909 voting eventually handed the Yates family the coveted Owner//Driver Tranzmile Truck of the Year trophy as well.

"It’s just been awesome," Peter Yates says. Describing the award as "a pinnacle" of Kye’s dream, he was extremely emotional when he explained the journey that the Kyecon Kenworth has been on since its creation.

"Once we got Rig of the month I thought, ‘man we could win this for Kye’," Peter recalls. "When I found out, I was actually on the boat about 20 miles off the coast and couldn’t believe it."

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It was a privilege to be able to inform Peter that the public had voted Kyecon the Truck of the Year. His first call he made was to his wife Shez, which he also admits came with a few tears.

"It’s just the summit, we’ve reached the pinnacle. Everyone dreamed of what’s happened," Peter says, referring to the win with deep emotion.

"To build a truck, with the help of Suttons, and then to reach this, with all the community support, it’s awesome."

So, congratulations to Peter, Shez, and daughters Bella and Alysha. They have been through a tragedy that no family should have to endure. But with the help of many companies and individuals, they have a truck and a legacy that Kye would be extremely proud.

The Kyecon Kenworth T909 is an extremely deserved winner of the 2019 Owner//Driver Tranzmile Truck of the Year.

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