Let the games begin
Get the popcorn and take a seat – Truck Test 2012 kicks off on Saturday, May 19, and it’s going to be extraordinary.
The arrangements have been finalised and, with a great turnout at the final meeting on April 11, all participants are fully informed. Truck Test 2012 is upon us.
All vehicles must be at Anderson Transport in Wadeville by 12:00 on Friday, May 18, for the vehicle-legality inspection and topping up of fuel courtesy of Engen, a major sponsor of Truck Test 2012. “Engen is one of our suppliers,” says Anderson Transport financial director Stephan Gous. “They approached us about using this depot as the start and end point of the test because of its size, good infrastructure, and easy access to highways. We were happy to oblige.”
The starting sequence will be determined by a lucky draw on Saturday, May 19, with the vehicles departing at two-minute intervals from 06:00. Overtaking is permitted where safe and legal, but no tailgating is allowed.
Each vehicle must be fitted with a tracking system, generously donated by Ctrack, on or before May 11. These systems will monitor drivers’ adherence to the 80 km/h speed limit throughout the test. This speed limit cannot be deviated from, not even at the bottom of a descent – and there are some severe drops on the Johannesburg-Durban route.
“The route has flat roads, with a descent at Van Reenen’s Pass and an ascent at Mooi River before going down again,” says Adrian van Tonder from Barloworld Logistics. “This is one of the busiest long haul routes in South Africa, making it ideal for the benchmarking of a vehicle’s performance. As it is a return trip, the test will give us excellent analyses. It’s going to be very interesting.”
Van Tonder believes the true value of the test lies in the diverse group of manufacturers that have entered. Truck Test 2012 puts them all on a major route, each with a semi-, drawbar- or interlink trailer (each participants’ personal choice) attached, and all operating under the same circumstances. “The spirit of this test is one of evaluating how the vehicles will perform in the configurations they will be running,” says Van Tonder. “By splitting the vehicles up into different categories, the individual combinations will be better understood.”
He says those in the industry take such factors into account when purchasing a vehicle, since pricing and after-sales service are very competitive. “Trucks in South Africa are of a high standard; you can’t say one is better than another. The key factor is what affects your back pocket – but the test may provide new insights for customers to factor in.”
Anderson Transport’s Gous points out that fuel, the biggest expense in terms of operational costs, influences the depth of an operator’s pocket. “The test will show which vehicle delivers the greatest fuel efficiency,” he adds. The fuel-efficiency factor is just one way in which the results of Truck Test 2012 will be beneficial to the transport industry.
Participants won’t need to stop at weighbridges during the test, but must provide weighbridge certificates for their vehicles – both empty and fully laden, with the certificates for the latter showing the individual axle weights.
The industry will certainly be the biggest beneficiary from this event. So, to all the manufacturers weighing in for Truck Test 2012, good luck. To everyone else – keep watching this space; you don’t want to miss out!