Unanderra truckie eyes Australian Trucking Association's top gong

For his dad: Barry Grimson is a finalist in the national truck driver of the year award, for the second year running. Picture: ROBERT PEET

For his dad: Barry Grimson is a finalist in the national truck driver of the year award, for the second year running. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Truck driver Barry Grimson has been driving for more than 50 years and his nickname - Sleepy - shows just how far the industry has come.

Mr Grimson is a driver with Unanderra Tanker Hire and is one of three finalists in the Australian Trucking Association's National Professional Driver of the Year award.

It's the second straight year he has made the national final, having won the state title after being nominated by his employer.

Now 70, Mr Grimson started driving for his father's company in 1964, when he was just 18.

As for being called Sleepy, that apparently came fairly early in his career.

"In the old days we used to keep going but if I got tired I liked to pull up and put my head on the wheel, like in the old days. Make love to your steering wheel they called it, rather than drive tired.

"So I got the nickname Sleepy - my father named me that."

These days, he said, it's a very different story. If he didn't pull over and sleep, then his company would be ringing him up to tell him to pull over.

Mr Grimson said being a national finalist for the last two years was very important to him.

"I'm real honoured because of my dad," he said. "He was a truckie and he'd be pretty proud of me because I was a naughty boy when I was young. It'd make up for a few of the bad things that I did."

Mr Grimson has also been involved in the construction of the Australian Truck Drivers' Memorial Wall at Tarcutta, and has driven in many Camp Quality Convoys for Kids.

"I've been involved in a lot of shindigs to get better conditions for truck drivers over the years.

"I was one of the five who blocked the highway on top of Razorback back in 1979. We got road tax abolished."

And Mr Grimson is in no hurry to climb out of the cab and into retirement. "I love trucks," he said.

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