Andrew Rawson of Boots UK won Linde Material Handling (UK)'s annual Forklift Ultimate Operator Challenge, held recently at Linde Sterling in Bolton.
The 18 finalists were selected from a number of competitions throughout the year, held at customer sites and Linde facilities throughout the UK.
John Thompson, Linde driver training manager, said: “Over the past eight months we held a series of competitions challenging 350 competitors to find the elite 18 to compete against each other for the national championship. The Operator Challenge tests the operator’s practical driving skill to the limit, each competitor completed four difficult practical challenges to exceptionally high standards.
Andrew Rawson of Boots UK was the overall winner, with Kris Scarborough from Wilko’s - last year’s winner - coming in second. Jake Walmsley from Victrex plc was third. Rawson was “totally surprised to have the privilege of winning - the standard of competitors has continued to increase making it a much tougher competition”.
Commenting on this year’s challenge, Steve Redman, aftersales director of Linde Jewsbury’s, said: “The calibre of competitors gets better every year, and is a great testament to the event which is ultimately to promote best practice and encourage enhanced levels of personal safety and handling efficiency.”
All three winners will go on to compete as a team at the International Forklift Cup in Aschaffenburg, Germany later this month, which will be the 10th anniversary for the event. On this occasion the drivers will also have the opportunity to qualify for the first World Singles Championship.
Since the first event nine years ago, over 16,000 operators alone in Germany have taken their starting positions to the cheers of nearly 100,000 spectators. In Germany, it has established itself as an outstanding event in its sector and encourages safer working in production and warehouse logistics.