Dean Wilson, 19, might not be the most experienced driver at Philip Wareing Ltd but he was the one that came home from the New Zealand Truck Driving Championship with the prize for best driver in his category.
“I was asked by Trev our despatcher if I wanted to have a go and I thought, why not, what can go wrong?” says Dean of the regional competition held in Christchurch in May, “I went up with a couple other drivers and although I felt confident about the theory because I am doing that anyway for my licenses, I didn’t expect to get through to the Nationals.”
Dean travelled to Tauranga at the end of October, with his Dad, Simon, Driving Instructor Dave Kempton, Mark and Simon Wareing. The competition was more than finding out who the best driver on the day was, it was a total skills challenge with the overall winner to be decided from the results of a 60 question theory test, a vehicle pre-trip inspection, and the category drive around a course.
A series of external challenges had been set up for the drivers while they waited to climb into their selected TR vehicles. These sector challenges encompassed stock, load restraint and wheel change where drivers were judged on knowledge, efforts and enthusiasm while under a tight timeframe.
Dean said “We got up there on Thursday, had a tour of the place and then I sat the theory part of the competition that evening. I was first up for the practical the next morning at 7am, which was OK because there weren’t too many people around. I tried my hand at some of the other challenges too like changing tyres and setting up a stock truck.”
It was a surprise for Dean when he was awarded winner of his category at the Ceremony on Friday night. He seems to have taken it in his stride and a bit embarrassed by all the attention.
Simon Wareing commented, “We are obviously very proud of what Dean has achieved. We invest a lot of time and money in our driver training but it always comes down to the individual as to how they respond to that training. In Dean’s case he has shown the tenacity and attitude to excel and we are confident that he will continue to flourish in our industry.”
Although there is a lot of ribbing of Dean by the other drivers during smoko at Wareings, it is clear they are proud of his achievement. Having been at Wareings since before leaving school, and full time for the past year, Dean seemed comfortable with the banter and even gave some back.
Not resting on his laurels though, Dean who usually drives a fertiliser truck or sprayer, has already got his Class 4 and doing his Class 5 shortly so he can start driving truck and trailer.
Photo: Dean’s transport for the day… a Philip Wareing Sprayer.