The Irish Coach Driver of the Year competition 2016 took place at the Campion Insurance CTTC Coach and Bus Show in the RDS Simmonscourt, Ballsbridge, Dublin over the weekend of 12th and 13th November 2016.
The competition had a record entry with over 20 finalists taking part. The competition includes a Theory Test, an Interview and a Driving Skills Test. It is designed to test every aspect of the entrants and find a worthy winner who can claim to be Ireland’s top coach driver.
The winner gets the Martin Guilfoyle Perpetual Cup as sponsored by Bernard Kavanagh & Sons Ltd in honour of their tragically deceased colleague. There was also cash prizes for the winner, second place and third place entrants sponsored by Evobus Ltd the distributers of Mercedes Benz Buses & Coaches.
A diverse team was assembled to run the event:
Theory Tests / Steward / Event Co-ordinator – Damian Kerin (RSA Qualified Driving Instructor, RoSPA Advanced Driving Instructor)
Head Score Keeper / Head Steward – Pat D’Arcy (Senior Driver Tester with Road Safety Authority)
Interview Panel – Davey Jackson (ex N.I. Fire Service, ex RoSPA Senior Advanced Driving Examiner)Brian Lynch (CTTC member, owner Suirway Coaches, Waterford) Martin Reilly (RoSPA Senior Advanced Driving Examiner, Tour Guide) Stewards - Danny Mc Daid (RSA Qualified Driving Instructor, RSA Driver Tester) Gerard Lynch (RSA Qualified Driving Instructor)
Paul McGuckin (RSA Qualified Driving Instructor, RoSPA & IAM Advanced Driving Instructor)
Barry Stones (RSA Qualified Driving Instructor, Fire Fighter)
After a weekend of intense competition the final top three were:
Winner : Garry Tobin, Tony Doyle Coaches, Wicklow – 864 points
Second : Niall Cronin, Cronin’s of Cork – 769 points
Third : Peter Byrne, Tony Doyle Coaches, Wicklow – 679 points
Garry is the third winner of the Martin Guilfoyle Perpetual Cup following on from Philip Backburn (2012 – Cronin’s of Cork) and Damien Fox (2014 – Slevin’s of Mullingar).
A very special thank you to:
Marcus Watts and all at Evobus Ltd for their generous sponsorship, use of Mercedes Benz Tourismo Coaches and the cash prizes
Bernard Kavanagh & Sons Ltd and the Guilfoyle family for the Martin Guilfoyle Perpetual Trophy
David O’Regan at Randox for the breathalyser Equipment
Michael Rowland at the Road Safety Authority for making Pat D’Arcy available
David Jackson, Martin Reilly and Brian Lynch who did an excellent job on the interview panel
Martin, Cian and all at the RDS for their assistance and equipment
All of the stewards and team who gave up their time, energy and weekend
All of the entrants who put themselves forward