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Competition to crown national driving champion

MONCTON, N.B. - The nation's best truck drivers will soon be heading out to the Moncton Coliseum Complex to try and write, weave and wheel their way to the top of the 2005 National Professional Truck...


MONCTON, N.B. – The nation’s best truck drivers will soon be heading out to the Moncton Coliseum Complex to try and write, weave and wheel their way to the top of the 2005 National Professional Truck Driving Championships Sept. 22-24.

The annual event brings together the current reigning champs from regional competitions, which took place earlier this year.

“These drivers are the cream of the crop,” said Chris McKee, communications and publications for the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA), the host association for the event.

“They’re the first place winners of their respective provinces, so they’re certainly up against some stiff competition. These are very professional, safety-conscious individuals – the kind of people you really want to see on the road.”

The country is divided into seven regions for sake of the competition (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces) and there are six classes of truck within each region (step van; straight truck; single-axle tractor and single axle semi-trailer; single-axle tractor and tandem-axle semi-trailer; tandem-axle tractor and tandem-axle semi-trailer; and train (B, Super B or C train)).

Contestants in each class will participate in both on road and written tests until only one victor remains in each category.

In addition to the awards given for the six different vehicle categories, there are other awards up for grabs during the competition.

Included in these awards is the Team Competition where the team, consisting of four to six drivers from any one association, with the highest combined average score is the winner.

The title of Grand Champion is given to the contestant with the highest point differential between his/her actual score and the average for his/her class.

The Rookie of the Year award is only for first-time participants in the National Championship and determined in the same way as the Grand Champion.

The national winner may also be able to compete at the international level if they meet the United States’ criteria.

The National Championship is used to determine the contestant’s knowledge regarding rules of the road, safety, courtesy and efficiency, and measures their skills in handling the types of vehicles used in the competition.

The focal point of the competition is the rodeo, where each drive makes their way through a number of exercises that simulate the on-road experience.

But before the drivers even hit the course, they’re require to complete a written test.

“The test asks safety questions regarding trucking, trucks, their equipment – basically anything a trucker should know,” McKee said.

After the test, the first event is a circle-check where the driver must identify five previously administered defects to their vehicle.

After the circle-check is completed, drivers must then complete a proper three-point entry into the vehicle.

For step van, straight truck and tractor-trailer classes must then perform an alley stop, where they attempt to back the vehicle within six inches of the sliding bumper. Reasons for point deductions include jerky movements and contact with the barriers.

There are eight more sections of the course the driver must complete which, dependent on vehicle class, include completing a serpentine or clover leaf, right angle turn and rear scale stop.

This year’s championship also features something new for the competing driver’s spouses who are able to take part in a similar but scaled-down version of the championship itself.

“It’s for the spouses of competing drivers, but if any ladies in the crowd want to get involved, they’re welcome to it,” McKee said.

With some 40 drivers in the competition as well as their spouses, company reps and members of the community, McKee expects the number in attendance may exceed 250 by the time the event’s award banquet takes place in the evening.

With no cost to attend the event, McKee hopes that the members of the public will turn up and see how seriously the trucking industry takes safety.

“The general public and the trucking community are welcome to come and check out the event and we certainly hope they will,” he said.

“We want the public to see how serious our industry is about safety. We want them to know that our guys out there on the road really are professional drivers. It takes a lot of skill to maneuver vehicles through course.”

For more information visit the APTA Web site at www.apta.ca.


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