The World Professional Driver Championships are taking place in Ghent, Belgium from 27 September until 1 October. Ireland is represented by a team of five who arecompeting against twenty-two other nations. The competition tests the knowledge as well as the driving skills of the drivers. Team Ireland is also competing in an Eco driving section for in the CE category.
Three professional drivers, a team leader and a member for the judging panel make up the team of five.
Brendan Conlon is one of the professional drivers competing. Having spent many years as an owner driver doing continental work, he has a very good knowledge of driving regulations and the mechanical and loading legislation. This knowledge and experience will be crucial to the team. Brendan is currently driving for Gencat Limited and works on three of their key accounts Johnston Mooney & O’Brien, C&G Logistics and Know How.
Matthew Kavanagh is one of Irelands best professional ECO driving experts. He continually outperforms most drivers in the HGV section. An excellent driving record along with a passion for ultimate truck driving behaviour gives the team a solid performer. Matt has a strong mechanical background, having worked on trucks in the formative part of his career. He spent many years doing European work, which like Brendan will be of benefit to the team. Matt works out of Keelings in St. Margaret’s Dublin and in an avid truck model maker in his spare time.
Pamela Dennison is taking up the third slot. Having worked for the family business W.S. Dennison, Pamela has many years of professional driving experience hauling between their two bases in Antrim and Limerick. With no prior left hand drive experience, Pamela, true to her nature, has put in a lot of practice getting to grips with driving on the other side of the road. In 2017, Pamela won the ‘Driving Style’ category at a National ‘Driver of the Year’ competition run by the FTA, proof that not only can women drive trucks, they can also do it well. Pamela was the only female shortlisted in a group of twenty.
EPDA Team Ireland manager is Barry Lyons, who has a wealth of experience in the road transport sector, firstly having served his time as a truck mechanic, Barry went on to driving nationally and internationally and then set up a specialist professional driver behaviour training company. Barry works for Gencat Limited who have a dedicated team of professional drivers providing support for some of Dublin’s leading road transport operators. Barry is the Chairman of the European Professional Drivers Association, an organisation dedicated to creating and promoting a professional driving culture.
The International Jury member for EPDA Team Ireland is Siobhan O’Mara. Her role is to insure that the rules of the competition are delivered fairly by the competition referees. Siobhan will also make sure that the team are fully aware of the competition rules and will keep the team updated on their performance throughout the competition.
The European Professional Drivers Association (EPDA) is a member of the Union Internationale Des Chauffeurs Routiers (UICR), the governing body for the World Championships. This year is the 31stbi-annual event which is being hosted by the Belgium Truckers Club.