Enter the TR Group New Zealand Truck Driving Championships

In NTA, August 20226 MinutesBy David BoyceSeptember 16, 2022

Operating heavy vehicles is not a walk in the park. Very rarely do we get to see the country’s top heavy-vehicle operators do what they do best. It’s been more than four long years since the last national truck driving competition and now is the time to revive this important event. Thanks to TR Group, EROAD, Spartan Finance and Hydraulink, the TR Group New Zealand Truck Driving Championships is back.

This is a modern, all-inclusive competition, designed to test and reward the nation’s best drivers, while also encouraging other operators to gain an even higher level of competence. It also promotes disciplines that every truck driver needs to exercise in order to get to and from their destination safely. So give it a go and support your drivers to compete.

Two heats will take place; in Auckland on Saturday, October 15 at the TR Group yard in Penrose, and in Christchurch alongside the TMC Trucking Industry Show, on Friday, 25 November. The Finals will be the following day, on Saturday, 26 November at the show. The competition is not designed to trick competitors and will simply showcase the knowledge, skill and talent that most drivers already have. Running this alongside the country’s largest transport industry show gives visitors a chance to see our best drivers in action – a rare opportunity, especially for the next generation who will get the chance to see their heroes in action.

So, how will the championships work? There will be three competitions running simultaneously and competitors must select one to compete in: The EROAD Class 2, Spartan Finance Tractor-Semi or Hydraulink Truck and Trailer Competition.

The competition will be short and sharp, not designed to drag on and have you sitting around bored all day. Competitors will be briefed the morning of the heats and here, names will be drawn out of a hat to determine the time slot that they will compete in. The heats will be broken up into three components:

• Theory Test – about 30 questions, mostly multiple choice answers and all based on the New Zealand Heavy Vehicle Road Code.

• Pre-trip Inspection Test – assessed by a TR Group judge, who will ensure nothing has been overlooked and will deduct points for errors.

• Driving Course Manoeuvring Test – based on time, skill and accuracy. This will be a maximum of 15 minutes, with points awarded for quick time and points deducted for errors.

Following the heats, finalists will be announced and will compete in Christchurch on 26 November. Winners from the 2018 driving competition will have automatic entry into the Finals. Finals will be an amazing atmosphere, with huge support from industry and the public visiting the TMC Trucking Industry Show. Don’t let the crowds put you off; it adds another challenge to the competition, but at the end of the day, visitors will be in awe of your skill and young people will be inspired, so a mistake here and there is nothing to be nervous about.

The Final has two components: The Driving Course Manoeuvring Test – slightly different from the heats but still a maximum of 15 minutes. Plus the On-Road Driving Test – this will take place with a TR Group assessor around the streets of Christchurch and will be roughly 20 minutes.

Thanks to Z Energy, the ‘Z Business Driver’s Hub’ will be set up as a dedicated space for competitors, sponsors and TR Group judges to relax, with complimentary refreshments. All competitors will be given free entry to the Teletrac Navman Industry Awards Function, following the Finals. This will be a social, laidback atmosphere with an awards ceremony taking place from 6pm.

The prizes are well worth the effort. Winners of each competition category will receive a trophy, prize pack including $2500 cash and a trip for two to the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show. Runner-ups will take home a prize pack including $1000 cash.

So, what are you waiting for? Hop onto the NTA website to enter, it’s free! We strongly encourage managers to get behind their drivers and support them to enter. This could be done in a variety of ways. You could offer to sponsor your top driver(s) to compete and pay for their trip to Auckland and/or Christchurch. Larger companies may also run in-house competitions to determine their top drivers. Guidance on this is included in the information pack available online: nztruckingassn.co.nz/driving-championships or email us for information: Rebecca. dinmore@trucking.nz.

Finally, don’t forget to come and support these fantastic drivers. It’s going to be a massively fun weekend in Christchurch, so gather your friends, family and colleagues.