When Volvo mechanics from around the globe converge at the company's international headquarters to vie for their company's world title, North America will be represented by the team from Prince George.
"We're going to Sweden," said Clarence Oosterhoff on the phone from Greensboro, North Carolina.
He, Matthew Giesbrecht, Dan Orser, and Tyler Kronebusch are the certified master technicians in the back shop at Babine Truck and Equipment, the city's Volvo and Mack truck headquarters. They
won the right to wear Team Canada's colours after coming out on top of three rounds of home-based theoretical testing. For the fourth round - the hands-on practical competition - they had to travel to the United States and go head-to-head with four U.S. teams.
"We felt we did OK, but these teams are all the tops in their regions," Oosterhoff said. "All the different tasks were in closed rooms, always monitored and timed. We were under some pressure."
Organizers kept the pressure up until the last possible moment. Oosterhoff said there was no way of telling, during the mechanical challenge, which team might be named the winner. All five teams worked in isolation so it was impossible to compare one team's reaction to another when all the tasks were complete. They all had to wait until the envelope was opened at the end of the Tuesday night banquet.
"We were a little nervous," Oosterhoff said. "They made us all wait until the very end, after all the other presentations, after dinner. It felt pretty awesome to hear our name called."
The final round is the international showdown in Sweden in June. According to data from the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, the Volvo group of companies is the fifth largest manufacturer of commercial transport trucks in the world. Their products are sold in more than 70 countries and serviced in even more. The Prince George team arrives back in Prince George on Thursday, and will be preparing for their global competitors back at work on Friday.