CANADA - If you needed proof the trucking industry is on the mend, look no further than the successful resumption of provincial and regional truck driving championships held from coast to coast this s...
TIGHT TURN: A driver competes in the B-train category of the Alberta Truck Roadeo in June.
CANADA –If you needed proof the trucking industry is on the mend, look no further than the successful resumption of provincial and regional truck driving championships held from coast to coast this summer.
Last year, several provincial associations pulled the plug on the popular event, causing organizers of the national championships to follow suit.
The very future of some of the events were in doubt, and it would’ve been a shame had the championships fallen victim to the decimated economy. Fortunately, like the trucking industry itself, the spirits of Canada’s professional drivers showed remarkable resilience -and just one year later, successful championships were hosted by all provincial trucking associations.
Winners will compete in the National Professional Truck Driving Championships, to be held Sept. 16-19 in Winnipeg. Here’s a rundown of the provincial (regional, in the case of Ontario) winners from west coast to east coast. (Quebec’s provincials will be held Aug. 14 and Ontario’s final results were not yet available at press time):
The Tradex Centre in Abbotsford, B.C. played host to the provincial championships on June 26. Winners included: Tony Gomez, Canadian Freightways, step-van; Hans Wettstein, Canadian Freightways, straight truck; Evan Hirst, Canadian Freightways, single-single; Dale Scott, Canadian Freightways, single-tandem; Dean Grant, Agrifoods International Co-op, tandem-tandem; and Adam Besse, Canadian Freightways, B-train.
The Team Award went to, you guessed it, Canadian Freightways. Agri-Foods’ Grant was named Grand Champion, Rob Thiele of Simard Westlink won Rookie of the Year honours and Gomez won the Safety Award.
The Alberta ‘Roadeo’ was hosted at Westerner Park in Red Deer June 19, which was deemed fair to competitors in both Calgary and Edmonton, yet may have hindered participation from both cities since accommodations were required. Organizers are said to be once again exploring venues in both major cities.
At any rate, the event was a success, with several pros stamping their tickets to the nationals, including: Randy Smith, Canadian Freightways, step van; Keith Franklin, Canadian Freightways, straight truck; Darren Tychkowsky, FedEx Freight, single-single; Dale Fryklund, City of Calgary, single-tandem; Paul Mills, Canada Safeway, tandem-tandem; and Steven M. Calhoun, Canadian Freightways, B-train. Canada Safeway’s Mills won the Grand Champion award, Scott Gee of Sokil Express Lines was named Rookie of the Year and the Team Award went to Canadian Freightways Calgary.
Further east, Saskatchewan drivers went head to head June 5 at SLH Transport’s facilities. Winners there included: Gord Procyk, Jay’s Group of Companies, Super-B; Larry Radons, Reimer Express Lines, straight truck; Brian Weslowski, SLH Transport, single-single; Harvey Gording, Reimer Express Lines, single-tandem; and Dan Bururuz, Ridsdale Transport, tandem-tandem.
On June 30, Peterbilt Manitoba played host to the Manitoba version of the event. Winners from the Friendly Province included: Robert Archambault, Bison Transport, step van; John Klassen, WM Dyck and Sons, straight truck; Brian Hrabarchuk, Con-Way Freight Canada, single-single; Rob Trager, YRC Reimer, single-tandem; Howard McAfee, H&T Trucking, tandem-tandem; and Ken Wiebe, EBD Enterprises, Super-B.
Con-Way won the Team Award, McAfee was named Grand Champion and Wiebe won the Bjornson Memorial award. David Bielski of Con-Way won the First Time Entrant award.
Twenty-three drivers from central Ontario competed at the 25th edition of the Central Ontario Regional Truck Driving Championships held June 12 at Conestoga College’s Doon Campus.
Winners included: Stewart Jutzi, Erb Transport, straight truck; William Wolf, Maple Leaf Foods, single-single; Bert Weykamp, Conway Transport, single-tandem; Tom Griffiths, Maple Leaf Foods, tandem-tandem; Wayne Burnett, Maple Leaf Foods, B-train.
Maple Leaf’s Burnett also won the Safety Award and was named Grand Champion. The Team Award went to Maple Leaf Foods.
Winners moved on to participate in the provincials, held July 9-10. Results of the provincials were not yet available at press time.
Also competing in the Ontario provincials on July 9-10 were winners from the Toronto Regional Truck Driving Championships, held June 12 in Brampton. Top marks in the event went to: Tiberio Traverja, City of Brampton, straight truck; Todd Hewines, Gordon Food Service, single-single; Jason Wingle, Con-Way Freight, single-tandem; Dan Congdon, Reimer Express Lines, tandem-tandem; Tom Tuttle, Bison Transport, train.
Epic Express won the Team Trophy and Reimer’s Congdon was named Grand Champion. FedEx Freight driver Jaswinder Sandhu won Rookie of the Year honours.
The Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA) event was held June 12, with more than 40 drivers vying to represent Team Atlantic in the nationals this fall.
First place winners included: Chris Underwood, Armour Transportation, two-axle; Steve MacPhee, Day & Ross, four-axle; Alan Constantine, Armour Transportation, five-axle; and Blaine Hubley, Gerald Battist Trucking, B-train.
Armour Transportation Systems won the Team Award and Tony Smallman with Keltic Transportation was named Rookie of the Year.