Simon East is UFBA National Drivers Champion for second year in a row

  Posted on 21st September 2017 by Loralee Hyde in Event News, UFBA News

Simon East is UFBA National Drivers Champion for second year in a row

Congratulations to Simon East of Cust Volunteer Fire Brigade for taking out the UFBA National Drivers Challenge for the second year running at Manfeild Park in Feilding on 11-12 August.

Hosted by Feilding Volunteer Fire Brigade, with special thanks to Kevin Penn for his organising efforts, 89 drivers competed for the coveted UFBA Challenge medal and event trophies.

With 527 penalties, Simon took home the UFBA Past Presidents Memorial Trophy again for first place overall. Tom Reid from Christchurch Airport placed second with 617 penalties followed by Grant Scothern from Te Puke with 627 penalties.

2017 UFBA National Drivers Challenge Simon EastPictured: UFBA President Alan Kittelty, UFBA Chief Executive Officer Bill Butzbach, Simon East, Fire and Emergency NZ Chief Executive Rhys Jones and Fire and Emergency NZ Board Director Peter Drummond

“I love the Drivers Challenge. You meet so many other drivers and learn a lot about the trucks which gives you more confidence about driving, especially how to use the mirrors which plays a huge part in the Challenge. The way the exercises are set is brilliant.” Grant Scothern, Te Puke Volunteer Fire Brigade

Twenty-three of the drivers were first time competitors. Our congratulations to George Norridge from Putaruru who collected the National Fleet Managers Trophy for Top Rookie with Tyla West from New Plymouth West placing second and Te Puke’s Joshua Molan third.

2017 UFBA National Drivers Challenge George NorridgePictured: UFBA Chief Executive Officer Bill Butzbach, Fire and Emergency NZ Chief Executive Rhys Jones, Fire and Emergency NZ National Fleet Manager Mike Moran and George Norridge.

This Challenge was the first UFBA Chief Executive Officer Bill Butzbach attended since he joined our organisation in his new role.

“A key goal of the UFBA is to provide skills based opportunities that benefit the growth and wellbeing of our members,” says Bill.

“I was amazed at the level of skills demonstrated by the drivers at the Challenge.

“Safety is so important to all of us and statistically, driving to an incident is the highest risk to the safety of firefighters.

“The UFBA is effectively promoting and encouraging higher standards for our firefighters and there is so much value in learning in a competitive and safe environment.

“The skills drivers learn leads to safer communities and I would love to see a broader range of competitors at National Drivers in future including career firefighters.”

Rhys Jones and Glenn Williams

Fire and Emergency New Zealand Chief Executive Rhys Jones also attended the Challenge. He thanked the UFBA saying—

“Mastering the basic skills are the bedrock of any successful organisation, so this competition, and the others of similar skills focus, are core to how we operate.

“In particular, can I praise the work of your staff who organised and ran the event and also of the judges who endured the weather throughout the two days and remained enthusiastic and focused. The efforts by these two groups ensured those competing had an enjoyable and rewarding time. The atmosphere at the Challenge was very positive and I am confident that the numbers will continue to grow.”

Pictured: Fire and Emergency New Zealand Chief Executive Rhys Jones and UFBA Board Deputy Chair Glenn Williams

Hosting 2018 and 2019 UFBA National Drivers Challenges

We have a host lined up for the 2018 UFBA National Drivers Challenge.

If your brigade is keen to host the 2019 Challenge, please email the Events Team for further information.

More photos

Click here for more photos of the UFBA 2017 National Drivers Challenge

Photos: Craig McIntyre and Kevin East

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