“I couldn’t get over how quiet the cab is, you can have a conversation without yelling.”
Steve Cadzow runs Mount Riddock Station, a 2,660 square-kilometre cattle station 200km north-east of Alice Springs. His new Super-Liner has been exceeding expectations.
70 kilometres up the Stuart Highway from Alice Springs you’ll find the turnoff onto the Plenty Highway, which leads (eventually) to Queensland. Another 150 kilometres along the highway brings you to the local police station, and that’s where you’ll find Mount Riddock Station’s front gate.
It’s all a question of context
“We’re not really isolated by our standards,” says the station’s owner Steve Cadzow, “after all, we’re only 100 km from town in a straight line.”
Some city dwellers might consider that a fair distance, but with up to 12,000 head of cattle to look after, Steve doesn’t have much time for day trips, his Mack Super-Liner is kept busy making deliveries to South Australia.
“The Super-Liner does all the bitumen work to Port Augusta,” says Steve, “and we’ve got an eight year-old Titan that does all the local work on the station.”
A lust for power
This is Steve’s fourth Mack, a lineage that began when he realised the motors in his Ford Louisville 9000s simply didn’t have the power for the job.
“We’re hauling triple road trains with anything up to 168 head of feedlot cattle,” says Steve, “so that’s 140 tonnes. Our smallest load would be 96 bullocks, and the truck’s doing a 3,000-kilometre round trip. All the Macks have been really good, but the Super-Liner’s the best, it has plenty of power, we’ve never had the equivalent.”
Faster and more economical
The Super-Liner occasionally heads east to Townsville or Roma, but the typical journey finds the driver hitting Coober Pedy around nightfall, finishing the last leg in the dark, resting for a day then coming back. On journeys like this, fuel economy and driver comfort are paramount, and Steve’s been pleased to find that the Super-Liner is getting an average speed 5-7 km/h faster than the Titan did, while using 0.2 of litre less fuel per kilometre.
“We’re saving about 800 litres per trip,” says Steve, “and the driver’s getting a couple of hours extra sleep. Plus, you can have a normal conversation in the cab, it’s that quiet.”
And easier to drive
With a 685hp MP10 under the bonnet, the Super-Liner’s mDRIVE transmission handles all the gear changes, and it’s been well-received.
“The driver took to it like a duck to water,” says Steve, “we all used to pride ourselves on making gear changes without crunching the gears, but I think we get to a certain age where it really doesn’t matter anymore, and the mDRIVE has made that a lot easier – now we don’t have to think about it at all.”
The Super-Liner has done 150,000 kilometres in the last twelve months and is showing no sign of strain.
“We don’t try to push it,” says Steve, “but I’m happy with the reliability of the truck, and we’ve never had a problem with the service that Mack gives us.”