The final of the 2021 HVIA National Apprentice Challenge, held on the last day of the South Bank Truck Festival, was destined to go down to the wire, following the three preceding days of close competition.
In the end the Southern Region’s Luke Kneebone of Webster Trucks in Tasmania, and Samual Allan from Ballarat Isuzu, prevailed to take the title.
Each match-up sees teams of two apprentices combine to identify and rectify a series of pre-programmed faults on their respective Isuzu FX-series prime mover. The team with the most fixes and fewest mistakes from their forty-five minute heat takes the points.
The teams represent one of the three regions:
- Southern region (Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania)
- North-western region (Western Australia and Northern Territory)
- Eastern region (representing Queensland, New South Wales, and Australian Capital Territory)
The 2021 event took a step away from the Brisbane Truck Show’s home at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Instead, this year’s event was under the gaze and scrutiny of the public, in the cauldron type arena known as the South Bank Piazza.
The first two days were each performed in front of audiences of over 500 school students. As intimidating as that could be, all six competitors showed their mettle, and each made great contributions as the heats progressed.
The Western Region team of Beau Smith and Bekitemba Gwebu, had put together two good wins on the first two days of competition, earning their spot in the final.
The two finalists had met on Day Two during the heats. On that occasion both teams were neck and neck with five minutes to go. Then the Western team had a break-through, jumping ahead and repairing all nine faults with two minutes to spare.
The final added more pressure with the two teams were competing for the HVIA National Apprentice Challenge trophy plus an exciting and enticing package of prizes.
At the end of the sixty-minute final there was just one point separating the teams and no penalty points had come into play.
The winning Southern Region team will receive a fully paid return airfares, three night’s accommodation and Saturday and Sunday admission tickets to attend the Supercars Gold Coast 500 in December 2021, hosted by National Transport Insurance (NTI) and Truck Assist.
All finalists have received tool prizes courtesy of Warby Tools Pty Ltd.
Event coordinator, former HVIA Director, Chris Musch thanked judges and supervisors Brenton Cook (Isuzu Trucks National Technical Manager), Adam White (Isuzu Trucks Queensland Technical Manager), Paul Burke (NTI/Truck Assist), Bob Nolan, Geoff Tillett and his team (Queensland TAFE SkillsTech) and Alex Richards (Heavy Automatics).
A big thank you to all of the sponsors – NTI Australia, Truck Assist, Isuzu Trucks, TAFE Queensland SkillsTech, Warby Tools and NXT Journey.
A big shout out to our enthusiastic and entertaining host Scott Millar from BOP Industries. Just this week Scott has been named Queensland’s Young Small Business Leader for 2021. (Congratulations are obviously in order there too.)
Placings after the final day:
First place – Southern region (Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania)
Luke Kneebone – 4th-year apprentice – Webster Trucks, Tasmania
Samual Allan – 3rd-year apprentice – Ballarat Isuzu
Second place – North-western region (Western Australia and Northern Territory)
Bekitemba Gwebu– 3rd-year apprentice – Major Motors, Perth
Beau Smith – 4th-year apprentice – CMV Truck Centre, Adelaide
Third place – Eastern region (representing Queensland, New South Wales, and Australian Capital Territory)
Shaneet Singh – 2nd-year apprentice – Stillwell Trucks, Sydney
Jack Dennis – 4th-year apprentice – Penske Australia, Brisbane