Clover’s Ngilo com­petes for SA against world’s driv­ers

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

AL­FRED Ngilo, a driver for Clover in KwaZulu-Natal, this week­end rep­re­sents South Africa in the se­cond an­nual UD Ex­tra Mile Chal­lenge in Ja­pan.

Ngolo proved the most ef­fec­tive user of both time and diesel against 20 other UD Quester driv­ers in the Ex­tra Mile Chal­lenge in South Africa ear­lier this year. He now faces the same test in that UD dubbed the “World Cup” of driver com­pe­ti­tions.

Ngilo told Wheels the chal­lenge fo­cuses on real world driver skills in three sec­tions; a pre- drive in­spec­tion, eco­nomic driv­ing skills, and cargo han­dling. The fa­ther of three said the UD Chal­lenge was not his first win in a driver com­pe­ti­tion — he won the De­part­ment of Trans­port’s com­pe­ti­tions in KwaZulu- Natal in 2009, Lim­popo in 2011 and again in KwaZulu- Natal in 2014 — but it cer­tainly was the tough­est.

Com­par­ing other driv­ing com­pe­ti­tions to the UD Ex­tra Mile Chal­lenge, the fork­lift- op­er­a­tor- turned- trucker said the chal­lenges were use­ful in real life, thanks to the com­bi­na­tion of ve­hi­cle checks, driv­ing skills and cargo man­age­ment. “All other driv­ing com­pe­ti­tions that I’m aware of, just test your skills to move the truck into tight spa­ces, but UD chal­lenge you to know your Quester like it is a part of you.”

The tough­est part of the lo­cal elim­i­na­tions was the tight moun­tain track at the Gerotek Test Cen­ter in Pre­to­ria West. “That was as bad as any al­ley dock down a nar­row lane in con­gested Jo’burg,” Ngilo said. But on the day, he col­lected the most points and to share the podium with Pinki Chuduku, driv­ing for Vi­tal Dis­tri­bu­tion and Khu­malo Vusumusi, driv­ing for Sho­prite.

On the eve of his first trip out of South Africa, Ngilo said ex­cite­ment was run­ning high in his fam­ily, but con­fessed he had no idea what to ex­pect when he ar­rived for the global leg of the com­pe­ti­tion at UD Truck’s head­quar­ters in Ageo, Ja­pan.

For­tu­nately, UD Trucks South­ern Africa ( UDTSA) man­ager of fleet sales, Ann Pien­aar and UD driver Trainer, Dereck Moima, will ac­com­pany him and as- sured Ngilo they will as­sist him in ev­ery way. Moima said last year’s South African win­ners of the chal­lenge, the Af­gri driver- team of James Mavuso and as­sist- ant Hen­nie Schutte, came back as win­ners of the best fuel con­sump­tion, and he has ev­ery con­fi­dence Ngilo can do at least as well as his coun­try­men did. Moima said friend­li­ness and pa­tience were two traits that set Ngilo apart, both on the road and in the yard. Ngilo said hav­ing started at the back of the truck, load­ing with a fork­lift, he un­der­stood de­lays at the de­pot. “Not get­ting im­pa­tient dur­ing load­ing makes me take it easy on the road too,” said the cham­pion Quester driver.

UD Trucks South­ern Africa’s act­ing vice pres­i­dent, Gert Swanepoel, said the Ex­tra Mile Chal­lenge cel­e­brated driv­ers, but also showed UD fleet cus­tomers how to achieve the best bal­ance of fuel- ef­fi­cient driv­ing, min­i­mum down­time and us­ing UD’s Ex­tra Mile sup­port.

“Our prom­ise to Go the Ex­tra Mile, to­gether with this chal­lenge to our fleet cus­tomers, gives them a chance to recog­nise the skills of their driv­ers,” said Swanepoel. “With­out truck­ers our econ­omy stops, which makes it UD’s priv­i­lege to cel­e­brate our driver’s valu­able skills in this chal­lenge.”

He said the UD Trucks’ Quester range is specif­i­cally aimed at de­vel­op­ing mar­kets and is ideally suited to in­dus­try seg­ments like agri­cul­ture, forestry and pa­per, pub­lic util­i­ties, build­ing and con­struc­tion, min­ing and petro- chem­i­cal. The model range is on the fore­front of UD Trucks’ global as­pi­ra­tions of be­ing a mod­ern smart truck sup­plier, which ex­cels on the es­sen­tials while re­tain­ing its in­her­ent Ja­panese her­itage.

PHOTO: AL­WYN VILJOEN

Al­fred Ngilo, from Clover in KZN and Peet Pre­to­rius, HR Man­ager for Clover in KZN prac­tise bend­ing, Ja­panese- style. as Clover say ha­lala to their top driver for rep­re­sent­ing Msanzi in the an­nual UD Ex­tra Mile Chal­lange against the world’s top UD driv­ers in Ja­pan this week­end.

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