New Zealander Guy Knowles could well have ended up spending his life working with horses…not the big horsepower generated by 15-litre Cummins Signature 600 engines.
His father Trevor was a champion racehorse trainer and owner, winning the Centenary Melbourne Cup in 1960 with Hi Jinx.
Guy’s first few years earning a wage were spent with his father working as a stable hand, but that’s where his association with racehorses ended.
Today, Palmerston North-based Guy Knowles and his wife Helen run a trucking business that is the envy of many. It’s a manageable size, giving Guy the chance to spend plenty of time behind the wheel as well as run the business with Helen on a very personal level.
“We’re hands on… we’ve got to be because we take so much pride in what we do,” says Guy.
The Knowles have four immaculate K200 Kenworths in harness, all powered by Cummins Signature 600 EGR engines. The Kenworth Aerodynes are 8×4 rigids pulling 11.5-metre five-axle trailers, and under NZ’s permit system have a 23-metre overall length and an allowable gross weight of 50 tonnes.
While Guy Knowles might well have become a famous racehorse trainer just like his father, he decided early on to pursue a different career path – a path that became a passion. After years working as a driver and then owner-driver with a number of fleets, he started out as an independent trucking operator in the late 1990s.
Building a reputable business.
“A lot of people said I wouldn’t last out there,” says Guy, a smile creasing his face. His comment isn’t uttered with arrogance, just a sense of deep satisfaction that he has succeeded by building a reputable, customer-driven business and operating immaculate equipment.
“Having the right gear and maintaining it right is critical,” he insists.
He runs his trucks under a full maintenance contract with Kenworth distributor Southpac Trucks and is a great believer in the system. “If the maintenance is all looked after, it takes that concern out of the equation and you can focus on running your business. It’s peace of mind,” he states.
Cummins in Palmerston North also provides back-up whenever needed, support that is rated highly by Guy Knowles.
Knowles is a strong advocate of the Signature 600 EGR engine. “I can’t speak highly enough of the EGR product. We’ve had a great run out of ours… we’ve never had one stopped on the side of the road,” he says with conviction.
Very good reports about the ISXe5.
While he’d be happy to continue with the EGR Cummins, he reveals his next new Kenworth will have the ‘e5’ version of the Signature 600 that uses AdBlue for emissions reduction. “I want to see how it goes against the EGR engine… I’ve heard very good reports about the e5,” he comments.
Guy Knowles looks to change out his trucks every four years or 800,000 km. “We get great resale… buyers know what they’re getting because we don’t scrimp on anything.
“We sell our trucks as complete truck and trailers units with permits. We’ve never had to trade a truck,” he reveals.
His expects his next new truck-and-trailer combination to be in service early in 2016. It will be the same configuration as his existing trucks, able to transport up to 150 cubic metres at a time.
The Knowles trucks operate mostly in the North Island but go to the South Island when needed. “Whatever we load we deliver,” he insists. “No one else touches the freight. We don’t tranship so we know there’ll be no damage.”