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Scania Young Australian Truck Driver of the Year Competition 2012 winner is Brett Seager

Today, Scania Australia hosted the 2012 Young Australian Truck Driver of the Year National Finals at Flemington Racecourse.

Geelong resident, Brett Seager, who drives a bonneted American truck for Riordan Grain Services, has been crowned the Scania Young Australian Truck Driver of the Year.

The 34-year-old was delighted with his win against a field of 11 other ambitious, talented young drivers.

Second place went to Chris Cartwright, also of Victoria, who drives for Rodney’s Transport Service, and who has entered all three Scania YATD competitions, while third-placed Nicholas Hornby from NSW, who drives for Hastings Co-op Fuel Supplies, was having his second go at the competition.

“I entered the competition to put my skills to the test,” Brett said.

“I have been in some tricky spots with a truck, especially during my early career carrying general freight and manually unloading, and I thought the competition would be the perfect opportunity to test how good I am.

“I had not driven a Scania before today and I have to say I was very impressed with the truck and surprised by the power of the R 560 V8. The truck had great visibility and was very comfortable and was fitted with lots of technical features.

“I do think truck drivers could improve the way we are perceived by the public if we presented ourselves better. Riordan’s provides us with a uniform, for instance, so we look smart on the job,” he said.

The grain supply driver covers around 70,000km each year. He said he thought he would put the $10,000 cash prize towards buying a block of land with his wife Michelle, and sons Drae (8yrs) and Jordie (5yrs).

“I am enjoying working for Riordan’s, but maybe one day I might like to get into driver training,” he said.

“Scania is delighted with the way the Young Australian Truck Driver competition has finished up today,” said Ron Szulc, Scania’s Brand and Communications Manager.

“The results from first to last were quite close, indicating a high level of ability among the 12 finalists who came from all parts of Australia.

“We did put them to the test during the manoeuvring, on-road driving, and theoretical tests as well as the media interview, but in the end, Brett was the best of the field,” he said.

Both Chris Cartwright and Nicholas Hornby agreed the event had tested them, but had also given them the opportunity to make new friends in the industry.

“The testing shows that it is easy to get complacent unless you do the right thing everyday,” Chris said.

Nicolas agreed, and said he hoped that the event would encourage the general public to view the profession of truck driving in a more positive light understanding that there are many talented, safety-minded drivers on the road.

The Scania YATD event brings together 12 young trucks drivers who by dint of their driving skills and experience, knowledge of road and transport rules and ability to perform as an ambassador for their peers, are able demonstrate supreme professionalism and safety awareness, and help improve the public perception of all truck drivers.

The National Finals set four main tasks:  vehicle manoeuvring, using a Scania Prime Mover and single trailer; on-road driving using a Scania V8 Prime Mover and single trailer; a theoretical test of road and transport rules; and the ability to answer questions in a mock media interview, a test of their ability as an industry ambassador.

In addition to the main prize of $10,000, the runner up received a fully funded trip for two to the opening round of the 2013 season of the V8 Supercars Championship, with third place received a BP fuel voucher for $500. The Australian Trucking Association supported the event with past chairman Trevor Martyn acting as Chief Judge.

“One of our key aims with the Scania Young Australian Truck Driver competition is to bolster community understanding that truck drivers are professional, skilled, courteous and safe,” said Roger McCarthy, Scania Australia Managing Director.

“It is also aimed at attracting young drivers to the profession of truck driving. Our industry needs more people like the 12 finalists we had with us today, who quite clearly demonstrated that they are motivated, self-confident and intelligent employees.

“Scania is very focussed on driver safety and driver comfort and promoting driver efficiency.

“The driver is absolutely the most important factor in heavy vehicle transport, and holds the keys to improving operational efficiency. Vehicles and infrastructure are obviously of major significance, but fuel-efficient and safe driving is primarily a matter of human behaviour.

“Maintaining a sharp focus on fuel economy is increasingly relevant for drivers of all commercial vehicles. Many operators are now taking a close interest in the weekly fuel performance of their vehicles and drivers. As a result, more drivers understand the impact of fuel cost on their company’s profitability,” Mr McCarthy said.

A key element of the YATD challenge is highlighting the importance of driver skill in achieving reduced fuel consumption, thereby lowering operating costs and reducing environmental impact.

“A skilled driver can save substantial amounts of money for a fleet operator,” he said.

The Scania Young Australian Truck Driver of the Year 2012 finalists were:

• Ben Johns, VIC, Reliance Petroleum

• Joel Harris, NSW, Harris Transport and Storage

• David Richards, WA, Mitchells Livestock Transport

• Daryl Horton, NSW, Andrews Landscape Supplies

• Chris Cartwright, VIC, Rodney’s Transport Service

• Jarrad Jeffs, VIC, Metropolitan Fire Brigade

• Aaron Mattner, SA, Diamond Bros Transport

• Justin Burke, QLD, Bruhls Roadworks and Earth Moving

• Nicholas Hornby, NSW, Hastings Co-op Fuel Supplies

• Benjamin Allen, NSW, Farey's Transport and Trading – Cold Storage and Distribution

• Gill Prabhjot, VIC, Indiana Trans Express

• Brett Seager, VIC, Riordan Grain Services

The event was proudly sponsored by Castrol, Continental Tyres, SAF-HOLLAND, and Freighter Trailers, and supported by the Australian Trucking Association.

Note to Editors

Scania has hosted the YATD twice previously, in 2007, when David Whyte of Victoria emerged as the winner, and in 2010, when Rick Lockwood of WA was judged the best of the best.