Mick Lynch 1680x945

To start, I think we should mention that the Mercedes-Benz truck you’re driving is quite a special one.

It’s a one-off vehicle because it’s a 20 year anniversary Actros. Only 200 of these trucks were made and this is the only one in right-hand drive. It’s a 630 and has a custom reg. as you can see with the 1863. We sent the truck over to Belgium to get the chrome work done and then it was finished in Bristol. 

You said earlier you started out driving when you were 18. What attracted you to the job?

Family. My grandfather went from operating a horse and cart into lorries and all my uncles on my Mam’s side were always in the transport business so since I was 4 years of age I’ve been out on the road. It’s all I ever wanted to do.

So it’s been something you were passionate about growing up as a kid?

Yeah. I went and got my leaving cert but I didn’t go to college. My Mam said you know what you want to do.  When I was 17 I went into an engineering company for about 8 months until I reached 18 and then on my 18th birthday I left that job to go driving. 


Nationality: Irish 

Marital Status: Married with 2 children 

Truck Experience: 34 years

Place of Residence: Kildare 

So you knew from a young age what you were going to do and nothing would turn your head?

Exactly. My uncle was running a business and I used to take weeks off school if they were busy to go and help in the trucks and vans. I had my C licence and D licence for the rigids and my H licence for the artics before I was 21. Now you can’t get them until you’re 25 and there are lots of different tests and things you have to complete so times have changed. 

Do you think the tests and mandatory learning are a benefit to truck drivers?

They are teaching you something. You always learn. I’ve never come out of a briefing without thinking ‘Oh I didn’t know that’. It’s definitely a benefit to modern day truckers in the sense that as I say; no matter how much you think you know you don’t know it all. The industry and laws are constantly changing. 

What is it that you enjoy about being out on the road?

My wife always says to me ‘How can you be tired sitting down all day!’. Your concentration levels are 110% for the whole day and that’s what keeps you accident free. I like that responsibility and also the fact that there’s no one in your ear. My boss Trevor isn’t constantly ringing me to know where I am or what I’m doing. He trusts me and just lets me get on with it. So I like being independent I suppose. It’s nice as well watching the sun coming up on a summer’s morning at 6:30a.m. which a lot of people rarely see. 

What’s the work-life balance here at Ratcliffe transport like? 

I’ve been here for 17 years. We sleep in our beds at home every night so it’s great. I can park up at the truck park at Toughers because I live in Newbridge. There could be 40 or 50 lorries there with guys asleep in the cab because they aren’t going home. It’s nice getting up out of your own bed for a shower and being able to brush your teeth at the sink as opposed to outside your truck with a bottle of water. I get home to see the kids then as well so it makes a huge difference. My daughter is in New York at the moment but sometimes I’d come home and she’d have a lovely dinner cooked for me!

In your 17 years as a trucker have you had a mix of trucks?

With Trevor it’s almost always been Mercedes. I started out with an isuzu van and then an old 95 DAF for a few months. Then the 1st Mercedes came in. At the time Trevor had the Mercedes Sprinter vans and I think the first truck was an 1823 and after that came the 2007 1846. I spent 10 years in that and finally ended up in this one 2 years ago. 

There are other drivers working for Ratcliffe transport, how come you ended up with the anniversary truck?

Just lucky I guess! It was my turn to get a new lorry as I’d been 10 years in my old one as I said and I had accumulated 980,000 kilometers. I was raging that I didn’t get to 1,000,000! It’s currently at 990,000 kilometers so when it’s close to the million mark I might bring it out for a spin! I think Trevor knows I’d look after the anniversary truck and I’ve been here for a long time. We have a brilliant washing facility so I like to keep the truck clean too. 

What features do you like in the newer Mercedes-Benz trucks and what do you miss about the older ones? 

The progression has been brilliant. When my new one was being serviced I had to take the older one out and after 1 week I couldn’t wait to get back into my new one. The whole thing I love about the Actros is that everything is just newer and it’s very close, you don’t have to stretch for anything because it’s all beside you. Even with the gear on the stalk instead of the arm rest you’ve more freedom. We have the electric blinds, we have air suspension front and back which gives a smooth ride in the lorry. The lane-changing features and the blind spots where you get a warning are very good. You think ‘I don’t need them I’m observant’ until it beeps and the lorry stops and there’s someone there beside you! So the safety features definitely work well. You can have a load of mirrors but you only have two eyes. The newer trucks are also extremely good on fuel. 

Would you be fuel conscious when you’re driving?

I would. People often ask about why we look for such high horsepower when we don’t pull massive heavy loads. I went to Kerry and back and I averaged over 8 and a half miles to the gallon. That’s what the high horsepower does, it won’t labour the engine or drop a beat going up a hill which means you never strain the engine and you’re getting good fuel economy. 

What advice would you offer to a young person that is considering entering into the industry?

I think concentration must be something they are good at. The standards and levels of driving on our roads today are slipping. You see a lot of truck drivers on the road and they think they’ll never get by you so they’re rushing on the road. You shouldn’t always be in a rush, the most important thing is to bring yourself back and the lorry. It’s a tough game to get into, you can’t just walk into it anymore. It takes time and money to do the theory and CPC’s and it’s very easy to lose your licence so you have to be very careful. 

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