Champions of the East off to nationals

by Brandi Cramer

SLEMON PARK, P.E.I. – Once again the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA) has crowned the best truck drivers in the region during the 44th Professional Truck Driving Championships.

Held this year in Slemon Park, P.E.I., the competition had two different elements: a two-axle class (straight truck) and a five-axle class (three-axle tractor and two-axle trailer).

Thirty-three professional drivers from all over the Atlantic provinces took part in a precision drive through the timed obstacle course set near the JVI Commercial Driving School.

“It’s basically a skills competition, stopping distances, reversing back into gates accurately, parking next to a pretend vehicle on a highway and then making a right turn,” explains Keith Lane chairman of the APTA Safety Council, the event’s organizer.

The format goes as such: once around the course for everyone and each error made means a reduction in points.

“Everybody drives the same vehicle … that keeps it very fair,” says Lane.

The top winner for the five-axle class was Kevin Burns of Armour Transportation Systems in Moncton, N.B., while second place went to Gerald Cross, also of Armour.

The premier driver in the two-axle class was Roy Mattinson of Roy B. Mattinson Trucking, while second place went to Armour’s Sandy Cooke.

The top winners will represent the APTA at the 60th National Driving Championships to be held Sept. 5 to 7 in Saskatoon, Sask.

Although Lane says he is uncertain as to whether winning would help a driver secure a job, he does admit there is a large element of pride in the driver having won it and certainly bragging rights for the company which employs that year’s champion.

“I know a lot of the drivers are very proud to stand before their peers and say I am the APTA champion this year … I think it’s an excellent competition,” adds Lane.

The competition is designed to promote safe driving skills and professional awareness among truck drivers. In order to compete, a driver must be a professional and must have maintained an accident free record for at least a full year before the event.

Next year’s APTA championships will be held on Jun. 7, at the Commercial Safety College in Masstown, N.S.

For more information call 506-855-2782 or visit the APTA’s Web site at

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