MEET AUSTRALIA’S TOP ISUZU TECHNICIAN: I-1GP CONTESTANT BRAD HICKEY

Nov 11, 2022 2min read

Brad Hickey, who represented Australia at the prestigious Isuzu World Technical Competition, the I-1Grand Prix (I-1GP), describes himself as, “a big child who likes to do puzzles”.  

‘Hicksta’, as he’s affectionately known around the Double R Trucks workshop in Tamworth, leaned into his 22 years as a qualified technician to take out the top honours at the Isuzu National Technical Skills Competition in Melbourne in July.  

That win began an intensive training regime that included nearly three weeks of one-on-one training with a technical coach at the Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) head office in Truganina - in preparation for whatever type of technical automotive “puzzles” to be thrown his way at the international event. The father-of-one said his favourite part of his job as an Isuzu service technician is diagnostics, the key skill that’s tested in Isuzu’s skills competition, which he competed in for the third time this year.   “If you get a diagnostic win, that’s your feel-good moment, especially if it’s something that’s been towed into the workshop that someone else couldn’t fix,” he said. “That’s the bomb.”

Brad Hickey (left) and Louis Holt (right) at the Isuzu National Technical Skills Competition in July

REWARDING CAREER

Hicksta encouraged people of all ages to consider training as an automotive technician, a role that can be used as a springboard to a career in sales or management.  “If you take it seriously and you’re passionate about it, it’s a really rewarding career,” he said.    

However, the Hicksta himself wants to remain on the tools for the foreseeable future.  

“I’m not management material, in my mind,” he said. “I’d much rather be fixing something and trying to work out a fault than dealing with people.”  

“I like training the young ones, and showing them how to do something and you see that lightbulb moment when they go `oh wow, this is how you do it. This job’s better than just getting dirty all the time.’  

Double R Tamworth Trucks Workshop Manager Drew Murden is more than happy for Hicksta to continue working his magic on the floor. Having the current number one technician in Australia on our team is such an asset,” he said.

MAKING HISTORY TOGETHER

Ironically, the Hicksta originally trained his now-boss Drew, who went on to represent Australia at the 2017 I-1GP --- and take out the bronze medal at the international competition in Japan. 

This year’s I-1GP on November 4 was once again a virtual event, with Brad and National Technical Skills Competition runner-up Louis Holt from Bendigo Isuzu traveling to IAL’s Melbourne head office for the competition, which consisted of a written exam, a series of 10-minute virtual diagnostic challenges and a task on a real Isuzu truck.   

Brad and Louis were among a pool of 63 Isuzu apprentices and technicians who took part in an online qualifier event in July. The top eight technicians and the top eight apprentices in that event squared off at the national competition.  In the I-1GP the Australian contingent gets a team score as well as individual scores. Hicksta said one of the highlights of the competition so far was getting to become firm friends with his I-1GP teammate Louis. 

“That would never have happened if we didn’t go into this competition,” he said. “We get along like a house on fire, just fantastically. Even though I’m probably old enough to be his dad. I’m an older technician but I’m young at heart. We’re just a couple of lads mucking around. I like to play, but when it’s time to work, it’s time to work.”

LONG WAIT

Hicksta and Louis are now in the middle of a suspenseful two-week wait for the results while the Isuzu judges scrutinise hundreds of hours of video recordings of competitors from more than 40 countries.  

Win, place or not, the Hicksta will still be celebrating his achievement of representing Australia at the international competition and being among the first group of technicians to graduate from Isuzu’s Master Technician program.  

“That’s something else I’ll be really proud of,” Brad said.

REAL CHANCE

IAL National Training Manager David Smith said the Australian team of Brad and Louis had a very real chance at the I-1GP.  

“Our technicians at Isuzu Australia have some fantastic training opportunities and we’ve shown before we can take on the best around the world and win,” Mr Smith said. 

IAL’s team won the international competition in 2011 and made podium finishes in six more of international events. 

Mr Smith said providing training and support was particularly crucial at the moment, with Australia and the world in the grip of a skills shortage.  Check out this video about another exciting opportunity for Isuzu technicians: spending race day with the Walkinshaw Andretti United (WAU) V8 Supercar racing team! 

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