The team members representing South Africa at the Isuzu World Technical Competition may have been heading towards their annual December break like the rest of us, but the only thing on their minds towards the end of 2018 was proving their skills to the world.
The team’s determination paid off, ending the competition (also known as the I-1 Grand Prix) in sixth place in the Commercial Vehicle division, in which it competed against teams from 22 other countries.
The South African team was represented by Miles Swanepoel from Isuzu Truck Centre in Cape Town and Donovan Murray from Bates Shelly Beach in Durban. The team was coached by Stevan Smith, Isuzu Motors South Africa (IMSA) field service engineer.
The team also won a new award: the Star Distribution and Dealer Award for after-sales performance. Swanepoel also celebrated fourth position in the competition for individual mechanics, which featured 64 mechanics from around the world.
IMSA CEO and MD, Michael Sacke, says the company was honoured to receive these awards and to be rated among the very best in the world.
“The winning technicians certainly embrace our mission to be a highly motivated team who deliver the best customer experience. We are delighted that our technicians have been recognised for their focused, agile and flexible approach to finding innovative solutions to ensure that truck customers’ vehicles remain in operation,” he says.
The competition consisted of a written and practical component of vehicle inspection and repair, as well as a single-unit inspection and repair, conducted by Murray and Swanepoel, with guidance by Smith.
South Africa has improved its ranking every year in the I-1 Grand Prix for Commercial Vehicles. In 2014, the first year the local team participated, the team finished 19th overall. In 2015 the team received the “Jump Up” Award for the most improved team, finishing 15th overall and the team reached seventh place in 2016.
In August 2018, the bakkie technicians represented IMSA in the Light Commercial leg of the I-1 Grand Prix competition in Thailand, where they came third out of 24 participating countries.