When asked for his thoughts on progressing through to the Grand Final following his announcement as the Welsh National Champion, John Thomas stated: ‘I’m very nervous…I’m hopeful, no, I’m adamant that I will win- I want that car!’ With less than two months to go until the final, John, along with the other 9 grand finalists, is in preparation for the big final, to be held at the RTITB Headquarters in Telford, Shropshire on 16th September.
With over 15 years of experience in lift truck operation, John, who is employed by TESCO PLC, may hold a slight advantage over some of his fellow finalists. Of his win as Welsh National Final Champion back in June, John said: ‘It’s like, wow! I’m in the final! But then I’ve got to go to work and wait for the day to arrive. Above all though, I am excited for the final.’ John, who was trained by I.T.S UK Ltd, said that he was yet to do any practice ahead of the competition, but that this was not necessarily a negative thing: ‘My trainers have offered me the chance to practice for a few hours which is beneficial as I don’t operate lift trucks much in my day-to-day role.’ However, John is still confident in his skills and experience in lift truck operation: ‘I’m hoping that my abilities are good enough to win. I don’t change the way that I drive a truck so I won’t pick up any bad habits.’
Throughout the National Finals, each competitor was required to complete two practical tests (The BBC and The Platinum Ring), a pre-use check and a theory test. The operator with the least amount of penalties was then acknowledged as the regional champion. Similar to the National Finals, the competitors will be unaware of the details of each test until the morning of the competition. When asked about his thoughts on winning the Welsh National Final John said: ‘I just did what I do and operated the fork lift how I always have’, which is a tactic he will be applying throughout each of the tests within the final.
John was made aware of the competition via the promotional postcards that were distributed by RTITB to thousands of counterbalance operators across the UK and Ireland. The competition is the first of its kind and has been praised by those within the logistics industry. John stated that he would definitely recommend the competition to other operators: ‘The tests we were set were really interesting and overall, the competition is a great way to tone your abilities as a lift truck operator.’
The Grand Final daytime event is open to the public who can register their attendance via the RTITB website at: www.rtitb.co.uk/fltcompetition. The event is not only a great chance to see some of the best operators from the UK and Ireland in action, but it also poses an opportunity for the public to meet the RTITB team and partake in the range of entertainment that will be held throughout the day.