Irish winner grew up in a truck

Irish winner grew up in a truck

Robert Baker, from Tipperary, scooped the top prize at the Irish finals of Scania’s Young European Truck Driver 2014, which were held at Westward Scania’s headquarters in Strokestown.

Robert Baker, 32, won the Irish finals of YETD 2014.

Robert Baker, 32, won the Irish finals of YETD 2014.

The 15 final competitors were coached by the YETD 2012 European Champion, Gabriel Warde, who came up with many great tips. The competition jury comprised representatives of the Irish Road Safety Association.

Third time lucky

It was the third time for Robert, participating in the Irish finals. Previously, he finished third and fifth, and he believes this experience was one explanation for his victory.

“You learn something new every time. And it’s a privilege to have a guy like Gabriel Warde to learn from,” he says.

14 years behind the wheel

Over 300 applicants for the Irish Scania Truck Driver Competition was reduced to the 15 finalists, coming from Monaghan, Wexford, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Donegal, Leitrim, Meath, Mayo and Limerick. In the end, Robert and Gavin Agnew emerged during the day to compete in an exciting “head to head”, leading to the Irish winner being selected for the final in Sweden next year.

On the podium are Eoghan Durkin in 3rd place, Gavin Agnew in 2nd and Robert Baker in 1st place.

On the podium are Eoghan Durkin in 3rd place, Gavin Agnew in 2nd and Robert Baker in 1st place.

Robert, 32, has been a professional driver since he was 18 and received his licence.

“But I’m more or less born and raised in a truck. My father is truck driver, and I have been ‘driving’ since I was tall enough to reach the accelerator,” he says.

Reigning European champion, Gabriel Warde, carried out some appreciated coaching for the new finalists.

Reigning European champion, Gabriel Warde, carried out some appreciated coaching for the new finalists.