Since I wrote briefly last Friday about this TV show, one in a long line of trucking shows to have debuted over the last year, I’ve garnered a little more info. Not least among it is the fact that Overdrive‘s own new blogging owner-operator, Landstar expediter Phil Madsen, was himself approached last year by the show’s producers to compete. His reponse? If you missed his “The world’s toughest trucker I am not” post, check it out on his Learning Something New Every Day blog here.
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And this one’s an international affair not only in terms of the locales the participants visit but among the drivers’ nationalities as well. In addition to a Canadian and three U.S. drivers, also competing are two haulers from the British Isles, one from Australia and a naturalized U.S. citizen from Sri Lanka who’s been living the trucking dream as an owner-operator on U.S. highways for the last two decades. Here’s a brief snapshot of that final hauler’s history. If you catch the show on Monday, let me know what you think:
NAME: Zola Rajapakse
AGE: 56 years old
PLACE OF RESIDENCE: Arizona
YEARS DRIVING: 20
- Zola got his CDL when he moved to America 20 years ago; trucking is his dream profession.
- Before the recession, he was a very successful owner-operator with about 12 trucks running out of Florida. He now runs 2, which he operates himself, out of Arizona.
- Zola loves being on the road; from seeing the varied scenery of America to meeting new people. He will talk to anyone, anywhere.
- He is extremely passionate about driving and the industry – nothing will break his constant smile.
- Zola has only driven trucks in America and Canada but has driven cars in a lot of different countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UK and Australia, so he is not worried about the challenges he may face.
- He is a fitness freak and maintains it helps him be the best at trucking, so he always makes time to work out while on the road, at least 4 times a week.
- Zola is a Buddhist and believes in treating everyone and everything with respect. However, he has no concerns that he can’t win and won’t do what it takes to win, but with respect.
- While growing up in Sri Lanka, he was hand-picked on the streets to be a bodyguard for the Prince of Saudi Arabia. This led to years of living the high life and travelling everywhere first class.
- He is well-traveled, and at least every year or two he will visit family in the UK and Sri Lanka.
- Zola is divorced, with several grown-up children.