Now 11 years old, truck loving Jack Riley is already changing gears like a pro and hopes to one day run his own transport business – with his mum, MC driver Corrina Riley, by his side to manage it.
By the time he was five-years-old, Jack was already racing motorbikes. At seven, Corrina bought him his only paddock-basher (a Toyota Sportivo) to drive around their 40-acre property. She’s taught him to drive forklifts, excavators, pallet jacks and, of course, trucks.
“He loves anything with a motor, just like his mum,” said Corrina. “He’s such a little legend.”
Corrina works for Gaffs Heavy Diesel and Haulage, carting general freight throughout Queensland. She drives a 2012 Peterbilt 388 (better known as ‘Salacious Pete’) and works the strawberry season from around May to November, and then transports counterweights and oversize loads in the off-season.
Jack has been learning in a 12-speed Mack and also drives Pete.
Though Pete is now getting fixed after damage caused from the recent rains, Corrina and her beloved truck should be reunited in no time.
“Jack loads my truck and can literally drive anything. The strawberry season starts in about five weeks. As soon as we hit the strawberry farms, he’s straight behind the wheel,” Corrina added.
Corrina generally runs from Caboolture to the markets and home-schools Jack from the truck while she works.
Along with teaching her son to drive a truck, Corrina has also helped numerous women either get their start in trucking or upskill.
Shortly after, she offered to take another truckie under her wing. Rookie truckie Joanne Boland, 49, had been working in a barber shop and wanted to get her start in trucking, so Corrina happily brought her along for the ride on a trip from Gladstone to Brisbane.
“Jack sees what I do in training women up and helping where I can and because I have a lot of respect for women in trucking, he sees that as well,” said Corrina.
Though Corrina has undoubtedly already taught her son Jack so much about trucking, she credits those around her with playing a big role too.
“I’ve been a single mum from day one, so everything he’s learnt has been from me and all the friends along the way,” she said. “I want to thank all the people who’ve helped. Even though he’s a kid, people take him on board, especially the smaller companies out on all the properties. Jack has learnt so much from so many people giving him a go.”
“He’s absolutely truck-mad. My boss Andrew Gaff has also taken him for drives on a property – and it’s people like that that really do help the industry. Kids like Jack are the future. If it’s in their blood, it’s in their blood. Twelve-year-old Charlotte and Jack will be the next generation of school truckies!”