Off-road action in Wörth
Tipper show for RoadStars
Exclusive driver event for RoadStars with blue steering wheel: The RoadStars community gets together in Wörth and experiences state-of-the-art tipper technology in the Arocs first hand.
Differential lock set. All-wheel drive on. Dial tyre pressure down at the front to 2.1 bar, at the rear to 2.6 bar. 3rd gear – and apply throttle. Somewhere between 1500 and 2000 rpm is the right engine speed for "the stairs".The view through the side window shows an Arocs climbing a steep hill. The body falls back into the seat, the slope has an uphill gradient of 60 percent. The Unimog climbs up the stairs. "I've driven one like this before, but it was far from being this intense“, says Klaus. The site in the gravel pit is made for pushing the envelope of the vehicle.
Spectacular from the outside, crazy on the inside.
50 RoadStars experience state-of-the-art off-road technology up close and personal today. Klaus, who now briefly holds on to the handle below the headliner with one hand while pulling a camera from his pocket with the other: "This looks spectacular just from the outside, but in here it's crazy“. Usually Klaus drives an Actros in distribution transport where he mostly stays on asphalt.
The drivers from Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Romania and Germany had applied for the activity in the gravel pit and the lucky winners were drawn from hundreds of interested drivers.
Vehicles at the limit.
It is pouring down rain. "That is actually the perfect weather“, says a beaming Karl Leib from the Mercedes-Benz team. A Unimog traverses a water-filled moat that is 1.20 metres deep. It is now on a 70-percent downhill gradient. Michael, who is seated in the middle, hangs in the safety belt and supports his weight with his legs up against the dashboard.
RoadStars stick together.
After his lap of the off-road course, Klaus climbs down from the cab grinning: "It's like a roller coaster“. Now he continues on to the adjacent Arocs off-road track. On the way to the vehicle, the RoadStars colleagues from the Netherlands already give him tips for doing well on the track. Uwe, who after years of working in construction transport now drives urban buses, is also looking forward to the Arocs tippers. He talks shop with Klaus about old times. It has been a long time since both of them last drove a tipper. This again shows: RoadStars stick together.
“You do almost everything with your right foot in the Arocs with turbo retarder clutch. This is phenomenal.”
50 metres later, Michael from the German Sauerland region is already back at the wheel He steers his Arocs with turbo retarder clutch around the course: "I absolutely wanted to try this“. He looks at the grounds showing the effects of the rain and tyres, where others are already getting their turns with the Arocs trucks. Michael has now brought the truck to a stop on the hill and lets it roll back by decreasing the pressure on the accelerator pedal. He only uses his right foot for the manoeuvre. "This is phenomenal", he says, unable to hide his excitement over the turbo retarder clutch. "It allows metering the power with extremely delicacy. And without wear. I had not seen anything like this before“.
By now, Uwe has also exited from his test Arocs: "It's amazing what hills you can climb with the vehicles today! Be it with Hydraulic Auxiliary Drive or with the turbo retarder clutch – this is a huge experience for me".
Wörth plant impresses the drivers.
After lunch, coffee, pie and good conversations with new driver friends, the participants get back on the bus to return to Wörth. They had already toured the Industry Information Centre (BIC) in the morning, where Mercedes-Benz shows various variants of the Actros, Arocs and Co. in collaboration with body manufacturers. Now they're expected in the customer centre by Joachim Erhardt, who will guide the group on a tour of the world's largest truck plant. The drivers are impressed by the vehicle variety and the size of the buildings, which kind of represent the ventricle of Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
50 drivers, one shared trait.
Bring on the relaxed part of the evening now. The group heads to the brew pub for dinner. Cool beverages, hearty food with new trucker friends. And serenading Ruud. It's the Dutch driver's birthday. The participants raise their glasses for a toast: "To us! There's no shortage of food for discussion after spending an entire day in terrain with the trucks. We all share one trait anyway, we all are RoadStars!“
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Photos und video: Alex Kraus
Editin: Alexander Tempel