Linton soldiers are top army drivers
The New Zealand army's top drivers have put their skills to the test at the Linton Military Camp in a bid to be ranked No 1 in their field.
The 33rd national driver of the year competition was held at the camp yesterday, attracting seven contestants, selected on a performance basis.
The top two places were taken out by Linton-based soldiers.
The competitors were judged on their performance in a range of gruelling exercises, with each task constrained by a strict 50-minute time limit. Competitors took on a confidence course, weapons assembly, and a driving challenge, which included a hill descent and towing a "stuck" army truck.
Linton-based Lance-Corporal Cody Shaw won the event, with Private Bridget Johnson the runner-up. Private Royce Campbell, of Christchurch's Burnham Military Camp, was third.
Competition organiser Warrant Officer Rodgers Deverey said the drivers were at the top of their game. "These are the best that we have to offer," he said.
The drivers were trained to operate heavy military vehicles and forklifts, but also had to be well-versed in general soldiering skills.
"Physically, it's probably something close to what they do in an average PT session but [the competition stress] makes it a whole lot more demanding," said Warrant Officer Deverey.
Competitors were also faced with a "mystery stand", which they had to begin minutes after learning what their task would be.
The mystery task required them to retrieve military equipment from an island, while avoiding "landmines", before swimming the gear across a pond to safety.
Linton Private Michael Douglas drew the short straw and was forced to begin the competition with the mystery task and complete all other challenges in his drenched fatigues.
"I did the best I could and I've done it very cold," he said.
The three top-placed competitors' uniforms would be decorated with a wagon wheel badge.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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