Run to the hills

In Top Truck, Scania7 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMay 21, 2020

When the seeds of trucking are planted in a young heart, it is inevitable that somewhere in their future the urge to scratch the trucking itch will surface and become intolerable.

Photo: “The formed drop visor and stone guard sourced by James Worsnop at NZT Group absolutely nails the Euro theme,” said a very appreciative Camo.

Meeting up with Greg (Camo) Camenzind and team on a sunny Bay of Plenty Sunday arvo, we are confronted with a freshly detailed 2019 Scania S650 and MaxiTRANS Freighter 6-axle B-train. Walking around the unit you notice how dramatically different its presentation is from Camo‘s last Scania, ‘Living the Dream‘. Whereas his previous R620 was in your face with personality, the new S650 is more subtle, clean, and stealthy in approach. Camo‘s truck driving journey started riding shotgun in an N series Ford that his Dad drove for the Apple & Pear Board. “The old N series used to struggle quite a bit on the job, used more oil than diesel, and it felt like it took four days to get from Auckland to Nelson,” laughs Camo.

This exposure to the life of trucking continued when his Dad secured Camo an afterschool job sorting loose freight and loading containers at the Mainfreight Hamilton depot, thus beginning the connection with the internationally famous blue and white livery. After leaving school Camo was steered away from driving, instead gaining a full-time position at Mainfreight Hamilton working the freight sheds, and eventually moving to the Tauranga depot. It was here that Camo met Daily Freightways contractor Riki Ngatai. Not long after, Camo was finally able to scratch the trucking itch, driving Riki‘s Western Star helping out with the odd nightshift. This led to a full-time position sharing the day/night duties with Riki.

Photo: The team, Kacey and Greg ‘Camo‘ Camenzind, Jaxon, Craig, Ben, Monique, Maddy and front row Abigael Finlayson.

An opportunity around 2010 saw Camo purchase an R500 Scania and run from Mainfreight contractor and good mate Sandy Pari, based out of Rotorua. Early in 2016 Riki had decided to finish up as an owner-driver, and Camo was asked if he would relocate back to Tauranga and pick up Riki‘s run. Camo seized the opportunity as it allowed him to work alongside Riki again, with Riki taking the role as codriver this time. Late in 2017 Riki finally decided to hang up the keys and retire from driving full-time, opening the door for Craig Finlayson to take the helm as Camo‘s night driver. “I have been extremely fortunate,” said Camo. “Working with Riki was awesome and now with Craig, great guys who share the passion. I have never had to worry, they just get on and get the job done and when I get to work in the morning the truck is there ready for me to jump straight into and go; I couldn‘t ask for more.”

The R500 was a great truck and set the precedent for Camo, so when it came time to replace it the decision to stay with Scania was automatic. When the R620 went on the road in 2012 it was more neck-breaker than head-turner, with its tribal motifs. Once again the run from the R620 was near faultless. So, with this in mind, last year when the decision presented itself again to replace the truck, it was straight back to Scania to talk with good guy Andrew Lane. When the S650 arrived, Camo headed straight over to see Wayne Gardner at Patchell Stainless with a head bursting full of ideas. “Wayne has worked his magic on everything I asked for, from the chassis covers through to the light bars. I really wanted that clean Euro look and Wayne absolutely nailed it.” Continuing with the Euro theme it was James Worsnop at NZT Group who went above and beyond for an extremely appreciative Camo, sourcing the custom-formed drop visor and stone guard out of Europe that accentuate and nail home the under-the-radar stealth vibe that Camo was after.

Photo: History Repeats, Camo passing on the skills to an eager and enthusiastic Kacey, just as Camo‘s Dad did for him.

Cliff Mannington of Truck Signs in Tauranga then meticulously added the livery, signage and subtle finishing touches, and last of all Roger Creighton and the boys at Performance Diesel perfected a pathway that could set free the good Scania V8 sound without compromising the Euro 6 rating. Factory fitted extras include fully adjustable ride height airbag suspension – including front axle – and complete leather interior. Here in New Zealand blacked-out roof-mounted quad air horns were fitted, as well as white LED bullet lights. At the rear end an extra set of tail lights were installed directly under the existing ones, reinforcing the Euro feel. Six months and just over 100,000km have slipped by now since the S650 went on the road, and Camo is quick to report that apart from its routine maintenance a spanner has gone nowhere near the big Scandinavian. “We just get in, turn the key and go,” said Camo. “This job is all about agility and manoeuvrability, in, out, and go, and that is exactly where the Scania shines.”