In most cases when a truck is sign written with the owner’s name, their hometown is also featured, but in the case of Jye Savage, who operates under the banner of JS Haulage, his address is simply ‘Australia’.
“Wherever I need to go, I will go,” he said as the sun shone down on his 2008 Kenworth C508 at the Castlemaine Truck Show late last year.
Along with partner Sam, the owner-driver operates the big C508 on heavy haulage, with the couple taking the plunge into running their own operation in 2020.
With his father Noel Savage having been a truck driver for 44 years, Jye followed in his footsteps, first hitting the roads in an R-Model Mack with a 320 Coolpower and a 12-speed gearbox.
Upon gaining his semi licence he soon found himself behind the controls of Kenworth C508 day cab – the very same truck he owns today.
“It’s also the first truck I ever took to a truck show at Heywood. Five years later down the track I bought it. It has got about 850,000ks on the clock – a lot of hard kays.
“The last owner had it sitting around a fair bit, but it was always well looked after.”
Having worked as a driver for a few years on a variety of hauling assignments, Jye and Sam had a helping hand as they set up their own operation culminating with the purchase of the Kenworth, which had started its working life as a log truck.
“Lyndon Joslin, a fella I had known for a while, had been pushing me and pushing me to buy my own and we came up with a plan to help us both, and he helped get me going.
“I wouldn’t be able to do it if it wasn’t for him. I wanted something no-one else has got, I wanted a day cab C5. She’s a bit different and we made it happen.”
Rated at 115 tonnes, the C509 has 600 horsepower under the long bonnet and a six-rod suspension under the rear end, and upon purchasing the Kenworth, Jye was soon adding his own touches to make the Kenworth stand out.
“The engine had recently been rebuilt, and it was blue with an orange chassis initially. We painted her up and fitted it out with a new bulbar, chrome rims, deck plates, lights, and a big set of pipes,” he said with a smile.
Completing the outfit is a Drake 4 x 4 float and dolly which Jye purchased brand new last year, which saw him make the trip up to Brisbane to collect his custom-built trailer.
“It’s a pretty unique trailer, the first one Drake built with all 4 axles steering. It has all the bells and whistles on it -matched up with the truck she looks pretty cool going down the road when she’s clean but in this industry it’s hard to keep them clean!”
Despite the ‘Australia’ reference on the door, Jye and the C508 are based just off the Hume Highway at Avenel north of Melbourne with his work schedule seeing a mix of both urban and country hauling assignments.
“I do a lot for Turf One Australia; I move all their gear. It is a lot of suburban stuff, but I am starting to do a bit more country work, which is what I want to get into – more off road with logging gear and tractors, that sort of stuff.
“Where we are at Avenel, it’s nice and central – just an hour to Melbourne or an hour up the bush, so we can just run anywhere from there.”
Having come out of the various Covid lockdowns in Victoria, the Castlemaine event was the first opportunity Jye had to take the Kenworth to a truck show, with the truck being a popular choice for visitors on the day.
“It’s the first show I have taken it to, it’s a good day out, we won’t win anything prize-wise but it’s good to get out and about and catch up with people that you only pass on the road or see them in a truck stop.”
As the business grows, Jye reckons he has a good backstop with Sam taking on a larger role in the administration side of things.
“(I’m a) typical truck driver! I can drive and find the work. Sam is starting to get involved a lot more with the paperwork side of things now, and teamwork makes the dream work.”
And building on the dream is what the young couple are doing.
At this stage Jye reckons he won’t be expanding the fleet anytime soon, but it would be fair to say that the 14-year-old C508 will be the mainstay of the JS operation for some time yet.
“Everyone says it’s just an old Kenworth, but I would rather sit in my old Kenworth than a new Volvo – one headache is enough.
“But we will see what happens, you never know what’s around the corner. It’s always been a dream, and the dream has come true.
“We do our best and sign off with the best service we can, and we will see where we go from here.”