The sandpit in Ballarat, where Donald’s Sand and Soil is based, was originally part of a garden supplies business which he eventually sold. He chose to keep the wholesale operation. Since then the garden supplies business has gone through a few sets of hands including Porter Plant. Ray’s three sons-in-law have more recently taken it over, successfully, bringing it, for Ray’s family, full circle.
Ray services the sandpit with his own truck, a Fuso Shogun, which he took delivery of last year following a pivotal moment at the Brisbane Truck Show. In just two months he has clocked over 13,400 kilometres, mainly between Ballarat and Geelong. On the return leg he has clocks 100 kilometres daily. The Shogun replaces a commercial vehicle he had previously owned for around six years. It was high time for a new truck.
“You’ve got to go new these days with all the developments in truck technology,” he says. “The engine technology, for example, has come on by leaps and bounds. You’ve really got to update your vehicle every five or six years to stay abreast of the latest gear. It’s much safer, easier on the driver and keeps VicRoads from pulling you over.”
Developed as a showcase of Daimler’s cutting-edge powertrain hardware with the latest safety systems, the Shogun was officially unveiled at Brisbane, where Ray first laid eyes on it. He attended in May, with the idea of purchasing another European cabover prime mover. But once he saw the Shogun, being able to sit in the truck and talk about it with on hand representatives at Daimler, he was sold.
The suspension valve on the seat of his last truck desperately needed replacing, restricting adjustments. According to Ray he put up with it for a while. Now he’s in heaven with a whole new seat. The comfort of the seating, he says, is remarkable.
“If you’re getting into the cab early in the morning and then climbing out of it later that same night it makes a real difference,” Ray says. “At night you feel refreshed after sitting in it.”
The nature of the work, which has meant long hours in the vehicle, and much over time, for someone of his experience, makes it imperative that he has a newer truck with the latest in cab comforts and features.