Balclutha truck driver Darrin Wilson was recently named New Zealand’s champion truck driver for 2018 after a hard-fought victory in the New Zealand Truck Driving Championship at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
Mr Wilson said it was “a bit of a shock” to get the win, and everything had simply fallen into place in the end.
“There was a theory part, then a pre-start test, where we had to check the truck over and find faults. Then we drove it around part of the stadium, and had to park and unhook it.”
He had entered the competition before but this was his first win.
Alongside a section involving driving through city streets, there was also a mock crash drivers had to deal with.
“It was down by the wharf. You had to stop and show you knew what to do in a situation where you come across an accident.”
This included considering where to park, identifying hazards, calling for help and attending to people who had been injured.
He said the competition was not only about benchmarking performance, but also about creating better drivers.
Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley said: “One of the things the industry is trying to achieve with this competition is an appreciation amongst the public of just how high the technical, practical and theoretical knowledge is of the top drivers.”
Mr Wilson said he was grateful for the support from his employer, Road Transport Logistics Ltd.
Driving had been part of his life for about 30 years, and there were ups and downs in his experience.
“It can be difficult in the winter time, on the night shift, when you’re driving in fog and there’s black ice on the road .. but it’s always different, and you meet a lot of good people doing it.”