BENDIGO MECHANIC COMPETES IN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

Nov 15, 2022 2min read

Sometimes the cheeky workplace smarty-pants turns out to actually be quite smart. That was certainly the case for one 24-year-old Isuzu technician from Bendigo.   

Lovable larrikin Louis Holt, from Bendigo Isuzu, surprised a few people, including himself, when he placed second in the Isuzu National Skills Competition in July out of a field of more than 60 qualified mechanics.   Louis’ strong placing sparked more than three months of intensive training as he prepared to represent Australia at the prestigious international competition, the I-1GP, where he faced off against teams of Isuzu technicians from 60 countries around the world.   

Louis and his team-mate Brad Hickey, from Double R Trucks in Tamworth, travelled to the head office of Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) in Melbourne for the November 4 international competition, which was held virtually once again this year.   

VIRTUAL COMPETITION 

Louis said he projected a confidence he didn’t feel during the national competition, which consisted of a one-hour written exam and a one-hour on-vehicle exercise.  

“There's about 20 people watching you,” Louis said. “They're in your face, so it's pretty scary, it's nerve-racking.”  

However, Louis said meeting up with so many “like-minded” automotive technicians at the competition was a blast.   

The keen footballer and tennis-player said he knew he wanted to be an automotive technician from an early age. 

FASCINATION WITH FIXING 

“I grew up on a farm with my old man and he's always been mechanical, because on the farm, you need to be able to fix things yourself,” he said. “So, that's where I got my interest on fixing trucks from, it's just a satisfying job.”  

Louis said his favourite task as an auto technician was solving wiring issues.   

“I like diagnosing jobs that involve pulling up a wiring diagram and you've got a circuit that can fit on an A3 page and then you have to narrow it down to the single relay that's the problem.”   

In preparation for the I1GP, Louis and his teammate Brad, also known as Hicksta, studied previous competition challenges and really got to know an Isuzu N-series truck and its 4JJ engine.  

“We've been mucking around with that truck and putting faults into it to figure out what the truck does when it loses a certain circuit, just really trying to know the truck inside out,” he said.

FORMER MAN BUN  

Representing Australia at the I1GP isn’t Louis’s first brush with fame. He hit the headlines of his local newspaper, the Bendigo Advertiser, in 2018 when he raised $4,200 for the Leukemia Foundation by shaving his head.    

“I was rocking a man bun for three years and my dad hated it,” he said. “So I was like, `righto, Dad, if you grow a moustache, I'll shave off my man bun.’ So, we had a bit of a get together, we hosted a barbecue, and I shaved off my hair, full bald, and Dad had a really thick caterpillar on his top lip.”  

IAL National Training Manager David Smith said the Australian team of Brad and Louis had excelled at their I1GP preparation, impressing their coaches at IAL.  

Mr Smith said this year’s Australian team had the rare combination of talent, experience, technical expertise -- and cheekiness -- that could see them take a podium finish in the international competition. If you’re fascinated with fixing things too, read about how a 50-year-old Isuzu truck was restored to its former glory. 

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