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A 1 hour and 15 minutes–long written examination, brows furrowed, pens scribbling away. Followed by a series of three rigorous practical tests, focusing on diagnosis and repair. Sounds intense? That’s because it is.

Early this August saw Isuzu Australia Limited’s (IAL) 11th National Technical Skills Competition, an illustrious nation-wide competition pitting the best of Australia’s Isuzu technicians against time, trickily faulty engines, and nerves. There were ten competing technicians from nine dealerships across Australia (see appended table).

Participants and team coach, pictured (from left to right): Sam Pepper (Wagga Motors), Michael Primmer (Winter & Taylor), Jason Peterkin (Tony Ireland Isuzu), Adil Malinovic (Patterson Cheney Isuzu), Brad Hickey (Peel Valley Trucks), Paul Harrison (IAL; team coach), Matt Shaw (Westar Truck Centre Derrimut), Jason Lee (Road Runner Mechanical services), Anand Anand (Westar Truck Centre Campbellfield), Bradley Edwards (North East Isuzu), Ben Saathoff (Westar Truck Centre Derrimut).

This annual competition is not just a contest of technical know-how. It’s a test of each technician’s mettle, their approach towards problem-solving, and how they perform under pressure. And from this, the cream of Australia’s best technicians will be selected to represent the nation at the upcoming 2018 Isuzu World Technical Competition (also widely known as the I-1 Grand Prix).

As explained by IAL National Training Manager Mr David Smith, the competition’s testing phases (the practical aspects, especially) are designed such that even accomplished technicians will find it hard to even come close to completing each segment.

But why make it so hard?

Mr Smith shared, “It’s designed to be so hard because we really want to be able to identify the best of the best—there’s no point if the tests are easy and everyone manages to complete them. We want to see how they perform under pressure, and especially look at how they approach difficult problems.

“We also want to look at the ability to solve underlying mechanical issues, and not just be satisfied with symptomatic relief. That’s really what we’re developing here and in preparation for the I-1 Grand Prix, which will see terrifically difficult tests.”

Composure and focus are key to excelling in the competition.

Investing in their people—that’s the core of IAL’s vision and approach to the National Technical Skills Competition and the I-1 Grand Prix.

“Really, our mission is to invest in our technicians, to upskill them and provide a fun, engaging platform for them to develop professionally and recognise the value we see in them.”

There are ten competing technicians from nine Isuzu dealerships across Australia, and to even manage to be selected to participate in the National Technical Skills competition, these technicians have to already be some of the best techs around.

The conclusion of the competition saw Michael Primmer from Winter & Taylor in Geelong, Victoria, and Jason Peterkin from Tony Ireland Isuzu in Townsville, Queensland, clinch the top two spots, respectively. Mr Primmer and Mr Peterkin and will represent Australia at the upcoming I-1 Grand Prix together with team coach Paul Harrison (IAL Technical Support Consultant), which will be held in Japan in early December.

In preparation for the I-1 Grand Prix, IAL has devised an intense three-week training program. This program will see one-to-one diagnostic training for the technicians, and will be held at the new 1,700 m2, purpose-built training facility in Truganina, which houses dedicated training vehicles and equipment.

What can we hope to see from this?

“What we’re really doing is investing in our technicians for long-term results in real-world settings, with support from the dealerships, which will ultimately benefit our valued customers—they’ll have confidence knowing that our world-class technicians deliver reliable repairs and servicing that focus on long-term, not short-term, solutions.

“And we’re also hoping that with this, we’ll be able to perform even better at this year’s I-1 Grand Prix. We’re all very excited,” Mr Smith said.




Adil Malinovic

Anand Anand

Ben Saathoff

Matt Shaw

Michael Primmer

Patterson Cheney

Westar Truck Centre Campbellfield

Westar Truck Centre Derrimut

Westar Truck Centre Derrimut

Winter & Taylor


Brad Hickey

Sam Pepper

Peel Valley Trucks

Wagga Motors


Jason Peterkin

Tony Ireland Isuzu


Jason Lee

Road Runner Mechanical Services


Bradley Edwards

North East Isuzu