Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2014.
Known as 'the Mexican' Raymond John Mann was born in 1936 in Benalla. His first driving experience was when he was hitching ride home and a Ford tipper pulled up; the driver told Ray sorry mate but I'm very tired, if you want a lift you will have to drive. Thus started Ray's life on the road. Ray was just 16 when he first started driving in Tallangatta delivering 182 pound fertilizer bags from the railhead to farms in the area. He moved to Marysville carting sawn timber to Melbourne for Lloyd Gould and then to Bairnsdale to cart sawn timber for Coverdale's for nine years. Ray then moved to Montgomery's in Melbourne delivering metro fuel on night shift followed by a stint with Brother's Transport carting cattle from South Australia to the New Market cattle yards.
Ray then joined Comet as a Grey Ghost Driver running Melbourne to Sydney and Brisbane. He joked he had to be in the fastest truck because he was always last to leave. Comet went to subbies in 1992 and Ray decided to buy a freightliner with a grain bin to cart wheat. When drought caused a shortage of work he towed a freezer van for Lindsey Edwards along the eastern seaboard clocking up well over 250,000 kilometres a year. Ray later bought an extendable to cart steel. After some three million kilometres in the freightliner he traded it in for an Argosy and a Freighter extendable trailer. Both have now been sold.
Ray enjoyed his early days in trucking, no cameras, fast trucks, no speed limits, no CB's and little harassment from authorities. He enjoyed working with a tight knit team of overnighters and mak- ing friends with other steel carters throughout the country. While working for TNT Ray was awarded for his driving excellence. He made many friends on the road during his years with K&S Trans- port where he became known as a true gentleman of the road, an Aussie battler, hard worker and now, a legend of the 'Highway'.
At 77 Ray suffered from an inner ear infection and was forced to retire by his doctor. He is now enjoying retirement spending time with his family and friends, playing golf, not missing out on sleep.