TOP TRUCK OF THE YEAR 2018-19 – Sweet child sweet triumph

In Kenworth, Top Truck, November 20195 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineDecember 3, 2019

It was a clear victory for Matty Barraclough‘s flat roof K200 Kenworth in the 2018-19 Top Truck of the Year voting, and a very deserving one at that.

Photo: The Barraclough clan is congratulated by Dave Leicester and Brent Jellyman of Power Retreads.

Having first featured in the September 2018 issue of New Zealand Trucking as that issue‘s Top Truck, the M&D Barraclough K200 – affectionately dubbed ‘Sweet Child o‘ Mine‘ – featured on a rough and rugged skid, being loaded up to its maximum logging capacity. Those who know Matt and his K200 will know that it was uncharacteristically dirty in that shot – but on the October day of our Top Truck of the Year presentation, things were back on form.

She arrived at the Power Retreads Hastings facility after Matt and his team – wife Daphne and kids Reese and Blake – had spent the morning polishing her up to a flawless shine. “It‘s not every weekend she gets a wash; it‘s pretty hard to keep her in a clean condition, but we do our best to look after her as much as we can,” beamed Matt. Being voted Top Truck of the Year 2018-19 wasn‘t just a triumph for Matt. Daphne, Reese and Blake were just as chuffed with the love shown for their beloved K200. Indeed, with Daphne counting the beans and the kids helping to keep the rig presentable, the Barraclough clan consider ‘Sweet Child o‘ Mine‘ another member of the family.

Photo: Receiving their prize from Dave McCoid, editor of New Zealand Trucking, are (from left): Blake, Reese, Daphne and Matt Barraclough.

They walked away with a full set of Vipal drive tyres for ‘Sweet Child o‘ Mine‘, sponsored by Power Retreads. “Power Retreads and Vipal Rubber are proud to be the sponsors for the New Zealand Trucking Top Truck of the Year award. We were excited to hear that a local Hawke‘s Bay truck was this year‘s winner of this well contested competition,” says Dave Leicester, director of Power Retreads. “This is a well-deserved win for Matt, Daphne and their family, who have a dedicated and focused approach to the family business. The presentation of the truck was immaculate, with a lot of effort undertaken to have this Kenworth looking sharp for the day. Congratulations to the Barraclough family – another successful competition highlighting a great truck,” Leicester added.

Matt and family also received the John Murphy Memorial winner‘s plaque for 2018-19 and a one-off rendition of ‘Sweet Child o‘ Mine‘ painted by the talented Rochelle Thomas. “While voting numbers are kept confidential I can say that ‘Sweet Child o‘ Mine‘ was the clearest winner we‘ve ever had, and we received many, many calls telling us it couldn‘t have gone to nicer people. It‘s been another fantastic competition,” said Dave McCoid, editor of New Zealand Trucking. It‘s hard to believe that Matt‘s K200 is over two years old now. He says she‘s been an awesome truck so far.

Photo: Top-quality detailing on this beautiful child.

To recap the standout features of ‘Sweet Child o‘ Mine‘, she runs a 485kW (615hp) Cummins X15 mated to a Roadranger 18-speed manual and Meritor 46-160 diffs. Underpinning the chassis is Kenworth‘s 8-bag air suspension system. Logging equipment from Kraft Trailers completes the setup. Helping to keep the X15 humming are the dual roof-mounted 7” air intakes with their mushroom tops. Impossible to miss, they combine with the striking paint scheme, perfect pinstriping by Darren Caulfield and bespoke stainless steel accents to impart one helluva hat-tip to the classic and the old school of which Matt is so fond. With such obvious passion behind her, it‘s little wonder ‘Sweet Child o‘ Mine‘ was such a clear winner this year.