TORONTO and CAMBRIDGE, Ont. – It’s that time of year again – the country’s safest and most-skilled drivers are currently gearing up to prove they are the best in the biz by participating in this year’s Truck Driving Championships.
The Truck Driving Championships are almost like the Olympics for professional drivers across the country, where their skills and professionalism are put to the test in a series of competitions and where they get the chance to face their peers on a regional (and if they advance), provincial and national level in order to be crowned the best driver in the country.
According to Ewen Steele, president of the Ontario Truck Driving Championships, the contest will follow the same format as year’s past. Participants will go to head-to-head with competitors in three separate events: a written test of 50 questions regarding the rules of the road; a pre-trip vehicle inspection where one must find five planted defects in eight minutes while being watched by an MTO officer; and performing a series of driving obstacles, such as backing into an alley dock with only a few inches of clearance.
In addition the competition will be divided into five classes depending on the type of truck participants prefer to drive, just like last year. The five classes include: straight truck, single-axle tractor with a single-axle trailer (single- single), single-axle tractor with a tandem trailer (single-tandem), tandem-tandem, and B-train.
Steele said the divided classes allows for more professional drivers to be able to compete and added the Toronto Regional Championships is resurrecting a new class in its competition this year.
“One of the interesting things for the Toronto Regionals is they are going to hold a standalone step van competition,” he said. “It’s been several years since that class has been active and we’ve got some local interest form the Toronto area, so we’re going to satiate that by holding a competition.”
Steele added that the winner of that class can’t move on to provincials because of the limited interest only Toronto has shown, but they will get their own trophy and celebration that same day.
As always, the event is open to owner/operators and company drivers alike who wish to participate but all must adhere to the rules of the championships. All participants have to be full-time drivers and must be accident-free for the 12 months preceding the date of the competition. In addition, drivers are not allowed to use their own truck, and instead must use the trucks provided for them at the competition to level the playing field.
Steele said the day is always fun-filled and appreciated by the drivers and attendees.
“People are friendly and cordial to one another, even though everyone is competing against one another,” he said. “It’s a terrific family event.”
The Toronto Regional Championships will be returning to the Powerade Centre in Brampton, Ont. on May 30, 2015, while the Central Ontario Regional Championships will be held on June 13, 2015 at Conestoga College in Cambridge, Ont.
Provincials are being held at the London, Ont. Flying J Truck Stop on July 11, 2015. Nationals will be held later this year in Regina, Sask.
Steele hopes that this year the championships will see increased participation from both drivers and new fleets.