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Best of B.C. to represent province at national truck driving championships

LANGLEY, B.C. -- Fifty-six of B.C.'s best professional truck drivers competed in six classes at the 2008 British Co...

LANGLEY, B.C. — Fifty-six of B.C.’s best professional truck drivers competed in six classes at the 2008 British Columbia Professional Truck Driving Championships, held last weekend in Abbotsford.

Winners from each class will participate in the National Professional Truck Driving Championships, which will take place in Ottawa from Friday, Sept. 12 to Sunday, 14, 2008.

The Championships were hosted by the British Columbia Trucking Association (BCTA). Volunteer judges included representatives from ICBC, Ministry of Transportation, Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement and the B.C. trucking community.

The competition consisted of three sections including a written test, which assessed the drivers’ general knowledge of the industry and equipment; a pre-trip inspection, which approximated the drivers’ regular vehicle inspection; and the actual driving competition, which simulated the everyday skills of maneuvering, cornering and judging distance.

To be eligible to compete, each driver must be free of preventable accidents for the twelve months prior to the championships. A preventable accident could include even a minor occurrence, such as a broken tail light on a trailer, according to the BCTA.

A banquet was held at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel in Surrey following the competition where Shaun Garvey, the organizing committee chair from Arrow Transportation Systems, and Gary Ryder, the chief judge from Chevron Canada, presented the awards to winners in each class.

Here are this year’s winners:

Grand Champion: Rob Balan, Surrey, Canadian Freightways
Rookie of the Year: Brian Meredith, Surrey, Van Kam Freightways
Safety Award: Roland Lapierre, Gabriola Island, Reimer Express Lines

Team Trophy: Canadian Freightways: Jack Newton, Kelowna; Adam Besse, Prince George; Rob Balan, Surrey; Hans Wettstein, Surrey; Evan Hirst, Richmond.

First place: Julius Swecera, Surrey, Reimer Express Lines
Second place: John Carrol, Vancouver, Van Kam Freightways
Third place: Tony Gomez, Burnaby, Canadian Freightways

Straight Truck:
First place: Hans Wettstein, Surrey, Canadian Freightways
Second place: John Chase, Surrey, Saputo Foods
Third place: Chris Szigeti, Vancouver, Bandstra Transportation Systems

First place: Evan Hirst, Richmond, Canadian Freightways
Second place: MaryAnne Black, Burnaby, Canadian Freightways
Third place: Terry Loftus, North Vancouver, Yellow Transportation

First place: Dean Grant, Abbotsford, Agrifoods International Cooperative
Second Place: Edward Rolston, Surrey, Van Kam Freightways
Third Place: Gord Foster, Coquitlam, Reimer Express Lines

First Place: Rob Balan, Surrey, Canadian Freightways
Second Place: Jim Kidd, Port Coquitlam, Reimer Express Lines
Third Place: Mike Desmarais, North Vancouver, Saputo Foods

First Place: Adam Besse, Prince George, Canadian Freightways
Second Place: David Lighton, Surrey, Northwest Tank Lines
Third Place: Richard May, Chilliwack, Scamp Industries

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