Second Time's a Charm for our Driver of the Year - Marius Albu!
On 30th April drivers from across the country battled it out to be crowned Fowler Welch Driver of the Year at the 4th Annual competition.
15 drivers from across all the Fowler Welch depots were pitted against each other in a series of challenges testing not only their skill but providing some entertainment for the crowd of spectators and supporters.
The day started with a short briefing where the 9 depot finalists, the best apprentice and 5 runners up from across the network were shown their current ranking before being split into teams to add further friendly rivalry to the events they were yet to complete. 2018 Driver of the Year winner William Robertson, was back to defend his crown and started the day in joint pole position with first time qualifier Ian Nicholson from Heywood.
It was great to see finalists Alexander Humby, Nathan Lowden and Andrew Mack winners from Teynham, Tulip and Newton Abbot, each returning to the competition for the third time. In fact, we had several returning finalists which is testament to the hard work and consistency they put in through the year, coming top-of-the-class in terms of driving styles and behaviours as well as unrivalled tachograph compliance scores.
First time finalists Paul Barratt from Desborough, Lee Worker from Nuneaton and Hari Shishmanov from Spalding were guided through the challenges on the day with the support of their colleagues from around the network.
Our Washington depot had the highest number of finalists, with returning 2018 title holder William and newcomers Niel Hardy and Jack Graham all representing the North East with pride! Richard Binns, transport manager at Washington was on the side-line in support, he said; “It was fantastic to see Niel and Jack join William on the day. Niel joined us as an apprentice in 2017 and it was inspiring to see him competing as a fully qualified driver alongside more experienced colleagues in the competition. Jack, who joined us in April 2018 reached the final as the best apprentice and the representation of competitors from Washington demonstrates our commitment to providing safe, efficient and top quality driver training.”
After missing out last year, 2nd time finalist, Marius Albu the depot winner from Hilsea, took home the coveted title. Marius’ performance on the day also saw him pick up the prize for the off-road buggy challenge, along with his fellow yellow team mates Viktor Sturalo and Bogdan Popa.
The second most sought-after accolade of the day – the manoeuvring challenge was scooped by the red team. At the helm was seasoned Driver of the Year veteran Alexander Humby with Niel Hardy and Ian Nicholson all putting in a fantastic display of precision and skill which outclassed the remaining contestants. The red devils also raised the trophy for the technically challenging (but fun-looking!) hovercraft challenge.
The other challenges on the day were dominated by the green team; Artjoms Hromcovs, Nathan Lowden and Pawel Tokarzewski who picked up silverware in the Blindfold Driving and Reverse Steer challenges. Artjoms also collected an individual prize in the fastest lap driving simulator, obliterating the previous record by almost 3 seconds!
Jimmy Lee, head of operations – chill adds; “The fourth annual competition was a great success, helped in part by the weather! It was great to see the high level of support that the finalists received from their local depots and head office as well as the fantastic attitude of all of the finalists on the day. It’s always a privilege to be part of an event rewarding drivers who demonstrate such a high level of consistency all year through driving in a safe, efficient and legally compliant manner. Congratulations to all of the finalists and in particular Marius who was a worthy and popular winner on the day.”