In the pink… finally

In Features, April 20224 MinutesBy Dave McCoidMay 16, 2022

Spookily fitting – that’s the only way to describe the presentation of the John Murphy Memorial Top Truck of the Year Award for 2020-2021. If you were looking for a metaphor to represent everything this truck stands for, then the presentation ceremony was it.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. The only way to begin recovering from a knock-back is to take your first step forward. Enjoy the journey as much as the destination. And last, and possibly most appropriate: This too will end. All of these expressions are coping tools for life, and man-oh-man, were they ever drawn upon in the six months since Hart Haulage’s magnificent Western Star 4684 won the New Zealand Trucking magazine John Murphy Memorial Top Truck of the Year Award for 2020-2021.

1) Power Retreads director Dave Leicester presents Josh Hart with the New Zealand Trucking magazine John Murphy Memorial Top Truck of the Year Award for 2020-2021.

On a sunny early-autumn day in March, the New Zealand Trucking magazine crew finally rendezvoused at Ambury Regional Farm Park in Mangere with Hart Haulage’s Barry and Josh Hart, and Power Retreads director Dave Leicester. It is worth noting that Dave pulled a rabbit out of the hat to make the event, travelling from Hastings at ultra-short notice. As readers will know, Power Retreads sponsors our monthly Top Truck Award and the annual People’s Choice Supreme Award.

Winning was the easy part; getting the prize to the winner was another story entirely. The votes came in steadily throughout September 2021, the Hart machine winning by a healthy margin. Then the shenanigans began. As the results were finalised and agreed upon, Auckland and all who lived within her borders – including the Harts – found themselves ‘under the dome’. We all decided the best solution was to wait it out, maintaining that the spirit and mood that always accompanies presentation day would have been lost in the sterility of an online event.

2) New Zealand Trucking Media’s Dave McCoid was next with the presentation of Rochelle Thomas’s exquisite painting.

Eventually, the borders opened and we were about to contact the Harts when the news came through that the Western Star had been involved in a ‘coming together’ with a wayward wheel-loader. Bugger! That scuppered things until the new year.

But on Monday, 7 March, in Mangere, it was third time lucky for sure… just. No, there was nothing wrong, but the star attraction and her oh-so-proud driver Josh Hart were just about o leave for the Marlborough grape harvest, so we had to move fast.

It all came together when Josh rolled in, the Western Star looking extra shiny after her rhinoplasty procedure.

3) Dave Leicester, Josh, and Barry Hart.

Dave Leicester presented Josh with the official plaque which also entitles the Harts to the grand prize – a full set of Vipal drive tyres. New Zealand Trucking Media’s Dave McCoid then presented Josh with Rochelle Thomas’s amazing painting of the winning truck.

“I’m just stoked,” he said. “I’m absolutely stoked.”

The Hart’s intended plan to take the truck on a national roadshow, sharing an anti- bullying message, is still very much alive but has been postponed until Covid-19’s tail has wagged its last wag.

“Yes, yes,” says Barry. “That’s certainly still on, for sure. We’re just doing the right thing for now.”