Wild Desert is one of those key businesses that keeps the Australian oil and gas industry functioning, and the Mack Titan sits at heart of their operations.

Ever wondered how all those remote oil and gas wells dotted all over the Australian outback keep going? The answer is Wild Desert. Based out of Roma in central Queensland, the company has specialised since 2005 in servicing well sites, and providing all the facilities and supplies needed to keep them in operation.

Managing Director David Whiley says that after nearly twenty years the company is more in demand than ever.

“Back in 2005 we saw the opportunity, so we sold a few houses and bought a truck. Since then we’ve just been getting busier every year.”

The company’s truck fleet now numbers more than fifty, over half of which are Mack Titans. They’re kept busy transporting all manner of equipment and supplies to destinations as far apart as Moomba in South Australia, and the Carnarvon Ranges in Queensland.

“Our trucks are mostly running as AB triple or triple road trains,” says David, “and depending on what they’re carrying and where they’re going, they might do anything from 500 to 3,500 kilometres in a trip.”

The trucks have to get into some extremely remote places through some of the toughest terrain in the country, so Wild Desert needs tough, robust and reliable trucks that can handle the extreme conditions.

“We’re often way off the bitumen,” says David, “and some of the roads the corrugations are so wide apart you can’t get on top of them. In those places we have to crawl along at five kilometres an hour. On one job a few years ago it took me four hours to go 70 kilometres.”

Wild Desert don’t just service the wells for the five biggest oil and gas companies in the country, they supply entire camps delivered, set up, stocked and fully-staffed. And on short notice they can be asked to pull a camp down, move it a few hundred kilometres, and then set it up again, often in the same day.

“We’re a single-source provider, and that’s what our customers like,” says David. “We bring in all our own fuel and parts from Brisbane, and we supply all our own food out of Roma. The only thing we don’t do is fly in the staff - we know our limitations.”

With a huge area to cover, remote destinations and rugged country, David knew he needed trucks that could handle the toughest of conditions. Back in 2006 he bought a 1998-model Mack Titan and soon realised he’d found the truck he was after.

“My dad drove Flintstones and R600s,” says David, “so I had a bit of history with Mack, but the Titan is ideal for what we do. They don’t just look tough, they are tough, they hold up well and we’ve kept ours going for years through multiple rebuilds.”

That first Titan is still going strong after 18 years, which is a testament to both the strength of the Mack and the care David takes with his trucks.

“We don’t trade them in, we just keep refurbishing them and they serve us well. The drivers love them too, especially the new ones with the m DRIVE automated manual: removing 600 gear shifts per days really does reduce driver fatigue.”

Over the years David has built a solid business relationship with Mack and the team at Western Truck Group in Toowoomba.

“The Mack team and the WTG boys really know our business. They understand the environments we work in and the things that matter to us in a truck. I’m only lately learning to use their help more, and they’re always keen to get involved and make suggestions on how we can improve things. We’ve got a good foundation there and I like working with them.”

The team have suggested a few modifications to the Titans that have helped improve their range and effectiveness.

“We’ve got tougher mounts on some of them, bigger toolboxes, long-range fuel tanks and iceboxes. For drivers who are heading into places that are literally hundreds of miles from anywhere, the Titan is a great combination of toughness and comfort. Our drivers do 20 days on and ten off, and during that time they might spend fifteen nights in the truck, so driver comfort is very important.”

Vice President of Mack Trucks Australia, Tom Chapman emphasised the distinctive attributes of the Mack Titan, highlighting its meticulous design for both durability and driver comfort.

“Since we started building trucks in Australia, Mack Trucks has been synonymous with reliability and unmatched durability for the tough Australian conditions. There’s a strong commitment to continual evolution and every truck engineered out of our Wacol plant is designed with two major trademarks in mind: comfort for the driver and optimal total cost of ownership for the business owner,” he said.

“It’s fantastic to hear real-life examples of this out in the field with customers like Wild Desert. The driver’s safety and comfort is absolutely paramount when operating in remote areas, and we certainly value Wild Desert’s trust in our product whilst operating in some of the toughest areas in Australia.”

Wild Desert bought three Titans last year and have two on order, with a third likely later in the year. He estimates that they’ll replace three trucks per year over the next five years.

“We’re busier than we’ve ever been,” says David, “so we’re taking the opportunity to expand and also to replace some of the older manuals with autos. Not that we’ll be selling any trucks,” he adds with a laugh, “they’ll just get put on lighter duties.”

The Mack Titan looks set to be David’s truck of choice as his business grows.

“The conditions which we operate in call for a truck that can handle everything. Driver function and comfort, room, vision, fuel economy, reliability and most of all, a truck that’s bloody tough,” says David, “that’s why Wild Desert partners with Mack.”