Thursday 30th July 2015 saw a twenty strong team of members of the WCHCD embark on the annual Driving Skills Day at Regent’s Park Barracks to compete against a team put up by our hosts, 20 Transport Squadron, Royal Logistic Corps.
The rendezvous was tea and coffee in Dunkerly’s – an area of the barracks eponymously named after a fraudulent, bogus military man, who had once occupied the room, taking it as his office – after which we were sent off in teams to discover what challenges lay in store.
Six stands had been devised by the Soldiers;
- a remote control Taxi manoeuvre course – guiding a remote control Taxi around an indoor track with reverse park;
- parallel park and a bridge cross;
- bicycle obstacle course involving riding a bike through a series of cones and tight turns, over a spring board and between narrow passages;
- blindfolded van reverse where the driver was blindfolded and guided by one team mate as a passenger watching the near-side while another team mate gave guidance from the off-side;
- a navigational/treasure hunt exercise which pitted the team member/navigator’s Knowledge of London (K.O.L.) against the clues set by the hosts which were answered by those in the back of the vehicle;
- a highway code test, with the twist that the highway code in question was that of Kenya;
- another blindfolded vehicle manoeuvre, this time driving a hatchback around an obstacle course with parallel and reverse parking thrown in for good measure and just one pair of eyes to assist the driver.
With three challenges completed by lunchtime the teams were able to enjoy lunch in the canteen before re-grouping for the afternoon push towards the finish line.
Last years victors for the WCHCD, led by Carlos Oliveira, were a man down this year but continued undeterred in an ebullient mood, but it was the team from Just Taxis who would eventually go on to win the prize for best team morale and were never spotted without smiles on their faces.
Six tasks down and it was back to Dunkerly’s for much needed liquid refreshment and a BBQ courtesy of personnel from 20 Squadron, followed by the prize giving. With five teams from the WCHCD against just one from the Army due to their heavy workload victory for the Cabbies was assured……………surely?
Alas, this year wasn’t to be for the WCHCD. The Army team showed that instinctive military team work and stoic mindset (and possibly the benefit of a dry run, just to make sure that the challenges complied with health and safety of course) is the stuff that makes winners and they lifted the trophy for first place. Just Taxis’ team made it a double by taking the runners-up prize.
Nonetheless, a good day was had by all and arrangements are already being made for next year’s contest as well as other events between the two organisations to help continue the strong ties between us.
A big thank you to Captain Lee Weedall and his team at 20 Squadron for all their hard work and the enthusiasm they put into this occasion. We look forward to joining up with them again in the not to distant future.