UD drivers vie for Japan trip in ‘almost fun’ competition
AFGRI driver-team James Mavuso and assistant Hennie Schutte won UD’s first driver competition in South Africa, held at Gerotek last week, besting drivers sent by a dozen fleet managers to compete for a trip to Japan.
UD national fleet sales manager Stefan Bronkhorst told the 38 assembled driver teams they were competing to win an all-expenses-paid trip for two to UD’s factory in Japan, where they would compete in what he described as “the Fifa of UD truck drivers”.
Bronkhorst warned the drivers it was a winnertakes-all competition, with no second or third prizes bar certification for the second and thirdplaced drivers, and the satisfaction of being rated worthy of competing for the international prize by their fleet managers for the also-rans.
UD’s Geoff Kruger said the assistants played an important role in the competition — as they do in real life — as they could make or break the driver’s score in delivering boxes with labels and numbers that were deliberately confusing.
Kruger said while the 30-minute driver test was quite technical, it was still a “borderline fun event” with only the alley docking and one stop on a steep down hill that could be considered real tests of the abilities of the elite assembly of drivers.
But when driving along the short, technical course, Geelboy Tsotsetsi of Clover SA softy sucked air through his teeth as he looked at the gradients. He confirmed to Wheels the very steep climbs and tight turns would make the timebound UD competition a lot tougher than conventional driver competitions on open roads.
The drivers used two fully loaded UD Quon GW 26410 with a tridem trailer to drive, and had to do a preinspection test under the watchful eye of UD driver trainer Derick Moima on a Quon CV 26490.
The fleets who sent their driver teams to compete were ABI, Afgri , Clover SA, Eqstra, Imperial Retail Logistics, Parmalat, Shoprite Checkers, Unitrans and Vital Distribution.
National fleet sales manager of UD trucks in South Africa, Stefan Bronkhorst.
UD truck driver for Clover SA Geelboy Tsotsetsi looks at the tight space in an alley docking test at Gerotek over the weekend.
PHOTOS: ALWYN VILJOEN