Hino Trans-Tasman Technical Challenge

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 5, 2018

Heidi Inkster studies the Hino diagnostic system with Asa Pearson in the background. 

New Zealand‘s top Hino technician, Heidi Inkster (Truckstops, Wellington), travelled to Australia recently for a head-to-head technical challenge with Hino Australia‘s 2016 champion Asa Pearson. The ‘Trans-Tasman‘ challenge, held 23 August at Hino Australia‘s Training Centre in Sydney Australia, was part of Hino Australia‘s 2018 Hino National Skills Contest programme and was the first of its kind. The two competitors were very evenly matched – so much so that the competition ended in a draw.

“I thought it was a joke when they announced the draw,” said Inkster who felt she was “up against it” given the size of the competition in Australia. “I really noticed a step up in pressure, but made sure I took care of the basics and built from there,” she said.

The challenge saw Inkster and Pearson compete against each other simultaneously, and against the clock, with an allocation of 30 minutes to find four faults on the new GH1A wide cab Hino. Each fault had a time limit, which once lapsed was closed, forcing the competitors to move to the next fault.

“Normally you have time to think about a job but it was really interesting to see how you go under real-time pressure,” said Inkster. Adding to the pressure, the competitors had a Go Pro strapped to their heads and a 160-strong crowd watching the event.

Simon Wilson, Hino New Zealand‘s technical support manager, travelled with Inkster.

“This is the first time a New Zealand Hino technician has competed against an Australia technician and we couldn‘t be prouder of Heidi – both in terms of her skills during the competition and how she has represented Hino New Zealand and our after sales partner Truckstops.”

And it‘s a draw. From left to right: Gus Belanszky (Hino service support manager, Australia), Asa Pearson (technician, CMI Hino Adelaide), Heidi Inkster (technician, Truckstops Wellington) and Simon Wilson (Hino technical support manager, New Zealand). 

When asked what advice she would offer other Truckstops‘ technicians looking to enter New Zealand‘s competition next year, Inkster said, “give it a go and give it heaps! I actually learnt tons from the online component leading up to the final, so even if you don‘t make it through you will still benefit from the experience.”

It has been a very eventful month for Inkster, who won the New Zealand competition on 1 August. She will now have the opportunity to relax while attending the Gold Coast 600 on 21 October before heading to Hino Japan to attend an awards ceremony next year.