UD driv­ers vie for Ja­pan trip in ‘al­most fun’ com­pe­ti­tion

The Witness - Wheels - - INDUSTRY - AL­WYN VILJOEN

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

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