Truckie ditches lavish corporate life to drive road trains in WA

road trains

Greg Ross had a life many people would consider glamorous, marketing luxury cars like Jaguars and Ferraris for the Barbagallo Group in Perth. 

He was a man about town, appearing in the media and hanging out with high-profile friends like former Formula One World Champion Jack Brabham. 

  • Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to receive the latest news and classifieds from Australia’s transport industry.
  • Don’t miss a second and subscribe to our monthly Deals on Wheels magazine.
  • Sell your truck with Australia’s #1 truck classifieds

But after decades in the fast-paced corporate world, Ross was exhausted. 

“I knew inside, I was burnt out,” he tells Deals on Wheels. 

“I just didn’t want to give up the perks.

“I had a fabulous life, and I didn’t want it to be like that saying, ‘Old rooster one day, feather duster the next!’” 

Ross and his wife at the Supercars Championship in 2018

Ross moved on from marketing to take up a position as Acting CEO of a theatre company, but continued to feel dissatisfied with his life. 

After his uncle passed away in 2009, he travelled to New Zealand for the funeral – where he finally reached a turning point. 

“I loved my uncle dearly – he was the one who was really responsible for my love of cars,” he says. 

“There was a lot going on for me after the funeral.” 

Ross, his brother and his brother’s ex-girlfriend stayed up late reminiscing and drinking wine, until suddenly Ross was confronted with the truth. 

Ross at the wheel of a BGC 510 Kenworth in Koolyanobbing, 2015

“My brother fell asleep, and his ex, she looked at me and she said, ‘You’re not happy.’ 

“I said ‘Well, my uncle has just died.’ And she said, ‘Cut the bullshit.’

“So I said ‘To be honest, no – I’m not happy. I hate my life.’ 

“That was the first time I had really said it out loud.”

On the plane home to Perth, Ross decided he was going to ditch corporate life for something completely different. 

“I was 60 years old at this stage, but I knew I was still healthy and well. 

“My kids asked me if I was going to retire, and I said no – I’m going to drive trucks!” 

Ross spent two years driving a pocket roadtrain for ACH in Perth (2021 – 2023)

At the time, mining company Fortescue Metals Group were advertising jobs for truckies, driving road trains with five trailers – up to 190ft long. 

Ross had driven trucks in the past – but not for over 20 years. Nevertheless, he decided to chance his arm. 

“The manager rang me and said ‘Greg, I’m not quite sure why you’ve applied – there’s nothing on your resume about trucks.’ 

“I told him my situation and he offered to make me a deal. 

“He said he’d bring me up to Christmas Creek for three or four days and see if there was any hope for me. 

“If not, he’d pay me for two weeks’ work and then fly me home.”

Ross’s trial was a success, and he stayed with the company for the next 11 years. 

Now at the age of 73, he’s still driving trucks – and loving it. 

Rocky Gully White Road Boss coming through a dry creek crossing on the Gunbarrel Hwy, 1982

“I’m free as a bird now,” he says. 

“When I was an executive, I could never switch off. If someone had a problem, I had to deal with it. 

“Now if something goes wrong with the truck, I just ring up the company and say “B****r me, it’s stopped working!’ 

He adds: “I sit down and wait with a sandwich and a coffee and a 30-year-old manager turns up looking angry and stressed that everything is going wrong. 

“And I look at him and I think ‘I should really talk to you about cardiac arrest.’”

After decades of conforming to a corporate dress code, Ross has grown out his hair and embraced his identity as an “old hippie”. 

Hippie though he may be, he has a taste for the finer things in life – and says he’s grateful that trucking pays well.

road trains
Rocky Gully White Road Commander crossing the Commander River, Pilbara 1979

“My wife is German and we like to fly to Europe two or three times a year. And we like to fly business class,” he says. 

“We’re Platinum members with Qatar Airlines and the CEO of Lufthansa actually paid for us to travel first-class on the train. 

“People probably don’t realise that the long-haired louse they see in business class is actually a bloody truckie, but we live a great life.” 

Because of his age, Ross has to get a medical every year to ensure he’s still fit to drive. 

He has diabetes, but is otherwise fit as a fiddle – and has no plans to retire anytime soon. 

“What I’ve seen a lot with truckies my age is, as soon as they stop driving, they lose their purpose and they become old men. 

“Trucking keeps me young – I still feel like I’m in my 30s or 40s. 

“And I love the trucking life, I can’t help it. It’s a madness, and it should be curable – but it’s not!”  

READ MORE:

Send this to a friend