For 26-year-old interstate truckie Jakob Batchelor, it’s always been about trucks, with both his dad and step-dad also being truckies.
“As long as I can remember, trucks are all I’ve ever known, what I’ve really loved and my passion. I’ve had my truck licence since I was 19, but I grew up around trucks,” he said.
Also a fully qualified diesel mechanic, Batchelor started a school-based apprenticeship when he was 15, while finishing his schooling.
“The only reason I got a trade was to fill in the time before I could get a truck licence – being a truck driver was always the goal.”
Batchelor had stopped at the Augusta Highway when he spoke with Big Rigs. Based in Adelaide, he drives a 2014 Kenworth T909 for Gilberts Transport Services, hauling triple road trains from Adelaide and into Darwin and Alice Springs.
When asked what he loves most about the job, he answers without hesitation, “It’s the freedom. Obviously I have deadlines and a time allowance, but once you’re on the road, you can run your own race – legally of course! You can do the run how you want to do it, within reason, and they don’t harass you or ask where you are.
“You’re driving well maintained, state-of the art equipment too. The maintenance at Gilberts is incredible. The truck gets looked at every time I get home and before every trip. When the maintenance is top notch, you get that peace of mind when you’re driving in the middle of the desert, that the truck is in the best shape it can be, so the chances of a breakdown are very slim.”
By the year’s end, Batchelor will have been with Gilberts for two years and he says it’s been a great ride.
“The beauty of this job is there’s a lot of people who come here because it’s a really good job. There are a lot of kilometres but they look after you, and people tend to stay in jobs like that. I’ve been really lucky to come into this team and dip into the experience of drivers who’ve been here for over 30 years, who can offer their advice on multiple levels.”
With a new baby on the way, due in January, Batchelor certainly has an exciting year ahead of him. “This is all I’ve ever wanted to do, so it’s easy to say I can do this forever, but with young kids I also don’t want to miss out while they’re young. But for now, I want to keep at it – I’m only 26 so I still have a lot of driving in my career I want to do.”
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