REGINA, Sask. – Saskatchwan driver Larry Radons was named Grand Champion at the 2007 National Professional Truck Driving Championships held in Regina Sept. 13 to 15.
The driver from Reimer Express Lines also was named National Champion in the Straight Truck Class, during the three-day event hosted by the Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA).
To compete, each entrant had to be accident-free for 12 months prior to the championships. At the nationals, competitors completed a written test, a pre-trip inspection and a driving maneuverability competition.
“Once again, the competitors showcased the incredible talent and skill we have in the professional trucking industry,” said STA president Denis Prud’homme. “These are really the best of the best from across Canada, and to have a Saskatchewan driver take home the top prize should make the province very proud.”
A fellow Saskatchewan driver and employee of Reimer Express Lines, Harvey Gording, took home first place in the Single/Tandem Class.
Both drivers live in Regina and have received the Million Mile Accident Free Award.
Radons is a city driver at the Reimer Express service centre in Regina and has worked for Reimer since 1975. He has competed at nationals since 1978; and has been awarded National Grand Champion three times and has won National Champion in his class five times. Radons also received the Volvo Driver of the Year Award for Saskatchewan in 2003.
Gording is also a city driver at the Reimer Express service centre in Regina and has been competing at nationals since 1993. Gording has been awarded National Grand Champion twice and has won National Champion in his class six times, as well as National Rookie of the Year in 1993.
Garth Deschamps from Team Manitoba won the Rookie of the Year Award for the 2007 championships. Deschamps of Landmark, Man. captured the National Champion title in the Step Van Class, as well as Rookie of the Year.
Deschamps achieved the highest score among first-time competitors, which might be a testament to his many years of driving service. A professional driver for 39 years, he has been employed with Canadian Freightways for the past 19 years, logging more than 6.4 million kilometres of accident-free highway driving.
Team Ontario, which had a driver place in the top three in each of the six competitive categories, won the Top Team Award.
Prud’homme congratulated all of the competitors for their tremendous performances, and the event organizers for putting on a first-class show.
“Many of the visitors we hosted from across the country said it was the best championships they had ever been to,” Prud’homme said. “It was a great way to demonstrate the incredible contributions the $55 billion trucking industry makes to our national and provincial economies.”
The 2008 National Professional Truck Driving Championships will be held in Ottawa.
The National Champions in each category are: Step Van Class, Garth Deschamps, Manitoba, Canadian Freightways; Straight Truck Class, Larry Radons, Saskatchewan, Reimer Express Lines; Single/Single Class, Evan Hirst, B.C., Canadian Freightways; Single/Tandem Class, Harvey Gording, Saskatchewan, Reimer Express Lines; Tandem/Tandem Class, Jeffrey Maclean, Ontario, SLH Transport; Train Class, Gilles Lefebvre, Quebec, Groupe Robert.
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