Nod back, look ahead

In May 2024, Top Truck7 MinutesBy Gavin MyersJune 24, 2024

Lomas Transport, based out of Kerepēhi on the Hauraki Plains, is a small regional carrier with a preference for Japanese trucks. Its latest addition to the fleet is a neatly styled Giga CYJ 530, a nod to the local area and a great mentor to company owner Tom Lomas.

In trucking circles, few gestures honour a friend and mentor more than naming a truck after them. One way, perhaps, is to go a step further and have them help design the truck’s livery. For Tom Lomas, that person is Allan Green, who took him under his wing more than 20 years ago – and roping Allan in on the new truck was exactly what Tom did when Lomas Transport ordered its new fleet No.6, an Isuzu Giga CYJ 530 Super-High.

“Greenie and I have been mates since I was a young fella,” says Tom. “He was an O-D at Provincial Freightlines and I was an employee there. While I was busy being cheeky to him in the yard one day, he took me aside and said, ‘If you’re going to learn, you need to learn properly or you can piss off with the rest of them.’ So, I stuck around.

“He must’ve seen a bit of spirit in me and that I was prepared to listen as a young lad. I had a few bits of timber thrown at me over the years, but I dodged enough of them to still be here and still be good mates with him,” Tom laughs.

Twenty years later and with eight trucks in the Lomas Transport fleet, today Allan does a bit of casual driving with Tom “to keep the cobwebs off the logbook”, as Tom puts it.

“So, when we put this truck on the road, I asked him, ‘Greenie, how would you like to design this one?’ And he was keen. I wanted black, he didn’t, so we went for dark grey. The gold stripe is a nod to the history of the gold in the Hauraki area.

“Finally, as his company was Hauraki Haulage, we named it Hauraki Hauler with the numberplate HAUHLA. A tip of the cap to Greenie being a good mate and mentor along the way,” Tom says.

The truck was bought through Shane Ward at CAL Isuzu Whāngārei (“Call him ‘The Taniwha’,” laughs Tom), and CAL Engineering built the 7.5m body. CAL Engineering also refurbed the four-axle Domett trailer and extended the drawbar.

“We were permitted to go longer than 20m. For access around the Coromandel Peninsula, we didn’t want a five-axle trailer, so a longer drawbar was the better option. We can also jack-knife it comfortably without butting the unit up.”

Loading up for the run to Auckland.

Completing the build are Structurflex curtains, a Zepro tail lift, Alcoa Alloys and that all-important signage, applied by Automint Hamilton. “Andrew at Automint … he’s been very good to us, very flexible, and does a great job,” says Tom.

Tom says Isuzu is the preferred brand for the company’s work in the golden triangle. The Giga does regular loads from Claymark Kopu [which kindly allowed us the use of its yard for the photoshoot] to Auckland, and it will loop the peninsula at least twice a week, volumes permitting. Otherwise, it can be spotted flitting around the wider Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Auckland areas. The main driver on Hauraki Hauler is 31-year-old Graeme Clayton, with Murray Lomas tasked with the second shift.

“I offered Graeme our old R620 Scania, and he chose the Isuzu over that! He was happy to be on the Isuzu,” Tom says.

“I’m really liking it so far. They’re good trucks for the stuff we do around here,” Graeme says.

Graeme’s driven for Lomas Transport for three years now, having started on one of the six-wheeler Isuzu beverage trucks.

Day-shift driver Graeme Clayton thinks the Isuzu is perfect for its regular trips around the Coromandel.

Mentorship and friendship; Allan Green (left) and Tom Lomas.

“After leaving school, I did farming before going to Auckland to get a qualification in roofing, which I did for six years. I never thought anything of trucking. When I moved back to Turua, I got a call saying there’s a job at Smart Environmental if I wanted it and got my licence. So, I obtained my Class 2, but working with rubbish isn’t fun. I did that for a year, then went and found a different job for a bit before I found out about a driving job at Lomas through Tom’s uncle, who was our neighbour,” Graeme explains.

“Driving’s where it’s at for me now, and Tom’s great to work with. He places a lot of trust in us to get the job done, which I like.”

Graeme’s wife, Steph, also does some casual work for Lomas Transport, and their five-year-old son Joseph is catching the truck bug by all accounts. “Joey’s crazy about it. He knows what all the trucks are, and anytime he can come in the truck with me, he will! He loves to grab the CB and try to talk to the guys on the road,” Graeme says. Four-year-old daughter Ana is not quite as enthusiastic, but that might just be a matter of time.

Perhaps one day, they’ll find themselves dedicating a truck to a mentor and friend, too.

Simple but impactful curtain design.