Used Truck: Wayne's Kenworth K200

By: Peter and Di Schlenk


When owner-driver Wayne Hassett went looking for a new cabover truck, the Kenworth K200 was the furthest thing on his mind. Peter and Di Schlenk report

 

Wayne Hassett has always been a Mack man, although he says he almost bought himself a new Freightliner. That’s until he sat in the cab of a new Kenworth K200.

K200 Front

"My new truck needed to be a cabover to fit in with road train configurations and I liked the Freightliners," he grins. "I was never a Kenworth man and I really didn’t like their look, but then I saw and sat my arse in one of them and that was it. That was the end of it, plain and simple — all over red rover. The only truck I wanted was a K200."

Wayne is a long-time subbie for Jonesway in Perth and was looking to replace his seven-year-old Mack Vision. When Wayne first started with Jonesway, he was behind the wheel of a Class 1 tow truck pulling cars. In total he’s been with the company for 35 years Wayne says he’s always been a subbie for Jonesway, except for one three month stretch when he worked for another company.

"I came back because the grass wasn’t any greener on the other side of the fence, so I learnt from that experience," he explains. "I’ll stay here until I retire. The money is here for me and it’s all good value — Jonesway is like a family."

The first vehicle Wayne drove was a Ford F300. He bought a small tilt tray and then came a larger one. His first prime mover was a Mack Vision.

"[Jonesway boss] Steve Jones is a Mack man with a fleet of them, so initially it made sense to buy the same truck that Steve had. My Kenworth is now one of two in the fleet."

The Jonesway fleet numbers some 59 vehicles, with 11 of them operated by subbies.

"There are a lot of people watching this truck and so far it’s been great! I was a bit sceptical about the Cummins engines; I had reservations due to the reports I had heard about them. But so far, touch wood, it’s been very good with no dramas at all, and fuel economy has been good with plenty of power."

The Cummins ISX is set at 580hp (427kW) and Wayne says he hardly notices the load when it’s doing single trailer work.

The Pilbara Run

When we caught up with Wayne, he had spent the previous three weeks pulling oversized doubles up to the Pilbara, so the Cummins has been earning its keep.

"Being away for three to four weeks at a time, it has been great to have the big cab," Wayne says. It’s nice and has plenty of room. I don’t have to worry about hitting my head and I don’t have a motor to climb over. It rides and steers very well."

Wayne opted for the manual 18-speed gearbox. While being ‘old school’, Wayne goes into some pretty demanding sites and he knows that if something goes wrong, he can always jam a gear and get himself out of there.

"Some of the mines sites can be slippery and wet and I’m confident with the manual," Wayne explains. "A big advantage of the K200 is its manoeuvrability."

Returning from mine sites with a filthy truck is where Wayne’s son, Tyron, comes in. He does the washing and cleaning, both inside and out. He has been keen on trucks since he was six and now is driving a smaller truck around Perth.

Wayne (right) and Tyron

"Tyron would like to eventually take over the business, although I’m not sure he will," Wayne says. "It would mean taking him away from his family."

Wayne has been a single parent for about 20 years and although it has been hard while running a truck, it has slowed him down and given him a view from the other side of the equation.

"Sitting back in hindsight, I think it was a wonderful thing," Wayne explains.

Before the marriage split, I was never home and then after that everything fell apart. Then I was home quite often; I saw the other side of life. Instead of being out working, I had to be home with the kids. That’s why I think Tyron loves trucks so much; he’s been with me since he was small."

Tyron accompanied Wayne when it was time to pick up the truck from the Kenworth factory.

"The factory tour was great", Wayne says. "The next morning on the way back to Perth after camping at a motel in Adelaide, we were walking across to the truck and some blokes asked if they could take a photo.

"I replied that they could go for it. It was on YouTube even before I got it home," he laughs. "It didn’t even have a bullbar and all the stainless steel was covered up."

The Kenworth K200's Painted Cab

While the colours are in the Jonesway livery style, the paint has been has been wrapped around to suit the K200.

Kenworth K200

"Steve Jones had a lot of input on that one," Wayne says. "I ran everything past him and I had the philosophy that if he was happy, then I would be happy too. I know that he likes everything done a certain way — and that’s the right way."

The fuel tanks have been wrapped in stainless steel, for which Wayne says he only needs soap and water to cut down on the polishing.

Inside the cab is Wayne’s home away from home.

The K200 has a microwave oven, fridges — he even has a portable shower, although he says he has to get outside the truck for that, but it’s there in an emergency.

With the extra room in the big cab, Wayne can set up his table and laptop, making it a mobile office.

"When the floods hit, you can be stranded for days, sometimes longer," he says.

"If you have everything on board, you’ve got it easy."

While the K200 is an eye-catching truck, Wayne bought it for work in mind. The majority of his runs involve heading north, taking him all over Western Australia.

The Jonesway business was built on towing and heavy haulage towing, but now the company specialises in over-dimensional modular building loads.

"I do a lot of tilt tray work and now Steve is getting into platform work as well," Wayne explains.

"I enjoy the variety but generally I am in front of a tilt semi. It’s great for an old bloke like me to just hook up the tilt semi and drive off. It looks after your figure very well as there is no hard manual labour," Wayne laughs.

He says a lot has changed in the industry during his working life, the biggest being the introduction of tilt trays.

"If you want to be in it or part of it, you need to enjoy the job; it’s a way of life. I know I’m not going to make a million dollars out of it but I have had a very enjoyable time over the years."

Driving hours doesn’t worry Wayne either as he usually has an over-dimensional load on the back.

"For most of the time when the sun sets, we need to be off the road. Being overdimensional, we only have from sunrise to sunset to travel, so we have cook-ups. I get plenty of sleep and see a lot of Western Australia along the way."

Wayne points out that the other blokes from Jonesway are like an extended family to him. The 11 subbies help each other out, and Wayne believes they could not find a better place to work.

"There is a great group of people at Jonesway Transport," Wayne says. "Steve Jones promotes integrity, responsibility, safety, friendship and mateship and that combination makes it a great company to work for."

In Brief

Wayne Hasset

Name: Wayne Hassett

Company: Subbies for Jonesway Transport

Truck: Kenworth K200

Engine: 580hp (427kW) Cummins ISX

Freight carried: Oversized loads

Regular run: Perth to intrastate Western Australia

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