Athol Chester (Ace, derived from 'Athol Chester Esquire'). Loving and sometimes at home husband to Susan Chester, patient wife of 30 years.
Born in Mooroopna in January 1953 to Eleanor and Alfred Chester. Ace's father was a man of the land and bush, an iconic Aussie truckie. The baby Ace's first road trip was a hay run to Booligal at six weeks old, his father cut a beer carton in half and lined it with blankets, perching babe in 'crib' between mother and father on the bench seat of an old white Mustang truck. It could be said that this where Ace's love of beer and trucks developed.
At 17 years old Ace 'borrowed' his father's log book adding a couple of numbers on the licence to make it appear to be his version. He carted fruit from Shepparton to Sydney market, you could say the system worked well for two years with his father copping just the odd fine or two.
At 19 years of age Ace gained his Victorian Trailer Licence, the same day Bruce Panucci gave him his first legal job driving a Funstone Mack quad box that Wally Edgar had taught him to drive up and down Ingles Street, Port Melbourne. Bruce Panucci gave Ace about six starts with him over the years.
Ace has had a crack at driving most vehicles and types of loads around all part of Australia. Early in his career he declared to never cart stock, scarred by his practical father who didn't need a sheep dog because he had Ace climb into the crates to unload the sheep.
He has been bogged, lost, fined and inebriated but says he has never had a bad trip. He has done what he has loved for over 40 years, creating all good memories and great mates along the way.
In 1977 Ace won the Wandong Truckie of the Year, placing first in tarping and wheel change and second in reversing.
He has been with the Australian Touring Services for five years, sometimes touring for weeks at a time. Ace says entertainment work is harder than Express as there is no such thing as late. Given that, every trip is the best and he loves every minute and wouldn't change a thing.