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ISUZU TECHS LOOK AHEAD TO WORLD STAGE

Isuzu’s National Technical Skills Competition (NTSC) has successfully wrapped up for 2021, with 47 of Australia’s finest automotive technicians battling it out for the chance to represent their Isuzu dealership and indeed their country on the world stage at Isuzu Motor’s I-1 Grand Prix (known otherwise as the I-1 GP).

The Top 2 technicians from the NTSC now form Australia’s I-1 GP team, and they are looking ahead to the challenge of an international I-1 Grand Prix e-Competition—which has been refreshed in a new virtual format due to COVID-19.

The I-1 GP finals have traditionally been held at Isuzu Motors head office in Japan, with each country’s qualifying team flying in with a coach to compete in both ‘individual’ and ‘team’ finals.

In essence, the competition remains the same, with individual and team events taking place. However, this year sees each technician competing virtually on home soil, including Australia’s team, which is set to undertake the tough e-Competition in Brisbane this week.

Battle to the top

How are technicians chosen for a spot on the I-1 GP team?

It all starts with the NTSC, which this year challenged technicians with a series of Interactive Virtual Online Diagnostic (IVOD) tests. Results from the IVOD tests were tallied up against a 60-minute written exam and each tech’s personal scores from their Isuzu Technicians Guild Questionnaires held earlier in 2021.

In Australia, the Top 2 technicians were picked from an exceptionally competitive field, with only a seven per cent difference in combined scores separating first and tenth place.

Harrison Minnis

Harrison Minnis (commonly known around the workshop as Harry) was this year’s Australian NTSC winner, scoring a handy 100 per cent during the second virtual failure diagnosis test.

Harry started his apprenticeship with Brisbane Isuzu Eagle Farm in 2016, fresh from high school. His determination to see a job from start to finish and to rectify difficult repairs are his key strengths, but he acknowledges there’s more work to do before facing the notoriously difficult I-1 GP competition.

“The knowledge tests for the NTSC were extremely difficult, but we’ve been ramping up our training with weekly exams, so we know what to look out for in this next round,” commented Harry.

“There’s a lot of maths involved and electrical diagnostics… but I feel like we’re going to do well… with more study!

“There’s always more to learn and I’m always keen to get my foot through any door, which is what this competition is all about.”

Jason Peterkin

Jason began his apprenticeship in 1995, working for his father in Darwin, and going on to complete a dual trade qualification specialising in diagnostics for both electrical and mechanical faults. He joined Tony Ireland Isuzu in 2012 as the Leading Hand (2IC) at the Townsville workshop.

A combination of smarts and on-the-job experience means Jason is recognised as one of Australia’s best technicians when it comes to Isuzu’s famous 4JJ1 engine series.

This isn’t his first time around the I-1 GP circuit—he’s competed several times in the NTSC and took home an honourable team fourth place in the 2018 I-1 GP in Japan.

Jason scored the highest mark in this year’s NTSC Technical Knowledge exam, earning him a well-deserved spot on the 2021 Australian team.

“The NTSC tests are definitely getting harder each year, and this year’s was daunting at first being fully virtual, but it’s come out to be a well-polished competition.

“The level of experience and competition is always very, very high… but I’m quietly confident of our chances this year,” Jason said.

“Going over to Japan in 2018 was an experience of a lifetime, being in the testing centre there and having all of Isuzu Motors watching you compete… I’m looking forward to getting out there again sometime in the future.”

More to come…

Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) National Service Technical Manager, Brenton Cook, congratulated all entrants and the Top 2 technicians for their achievements so far.

“As always, it’s fantastic to see the level of talent that comes out of events like this and the broader I-1 GP event program. We couldn’t be prouder of the results achieved this year and the technician’s commitment to being the best they can be.

“A hearty congratulations to all participating technicians, but to our Top 2 technicians Harry and Jason, well done and good luck in the final round!”

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