Aussie Yamaha Tech takes on the world’s best
SunCity Yamaha, located at the Queensland city of Townville, is now officially home to a world-class Yamaha technician. Darren Stout, who has worked at the dealership since the doors opened in 2014, placed second at the recent 2018 World Motorcycle Technician Grand Prix held at the Yamaha Motor Corporation headquarters in Iwata Japan.
The World Technician Grand Prix, an initiative of Yamaha Motor Corporation, brings together the top-performing certified technician students from the Yamaha Technical Academy (YTA) to determine the world’s top Yamaha motorcycle technician.
Yamaha also uses the event to promote high levels of motivation, increase the skill level of its technicians, and to improve customer satisfaction. The biennial global competition also highlights the importance of after-sales services to Yamaha customers as well as recognising the hard work and dedication of technicians globally.
The single-day competition evaluates the technical abilities of each entrant as well as their customer service skills required to explain the fault to the customer and offer the appropriate service advice. For Darren Stout, years of studying and hard work paid off when he was recognised as one of the best in his chosen field and given the opportunity to represent his country and the Oceania region at the Grand Prix finale. Just 21 finalists advanced through the qualifying rounds which commenced in 2017 with 34,000 hopefuls taking on the challenge.
“It was an awesome feeling representing Australia,” Darren said reliving his first trip to Japan. “But it would not have been possible without the support I received from YMA, as well as my YMA support person, Duilio Pianca, my boss Brent Storey, the team at SunCity, and my family and friends.”
As the 21 finalists went head-to-head for the title, a real-time scoreboard kept the crowd of spectators updated on the action. It didn’t take long for Stout to surge to the top of the leader board, and as the clock ticked down, the Aussie found himself locked in a tight battle with Canada’s Brett TR Hart (Blackfoot Motorsports).
“My first challenge was to fault diagnose an issue with an MT-09, then rectify the fault. The second was to service a bike and rectify any maintenance faults.” Stout also explained the importance of customer service to Yamaha, something which was scrutinised in the final round. “We were also tested on our ability to book a workshop job out and then handover to the customer, providing recommendations and explaining the importance of using genuine Yamaha parts and supplies.”
Following Canada’s runner-up position at the 2016 event, Brett TR Hart was determined to go one better for his country this year, and just pipped the Queenslander at the line. The Netherland’s Alan Simmonds from Motorsport, Hippolytushoef, claimed the third step on the podium behind the Aussie.
“It went right down to the wire between Brett and I. At no point did either of us look like a sure-fire winner, it was that close right to the end. Brett was a deserved winner, and I was proud to take the runner-up spot for Australia, YMA, the Oceania region and everyone at Suncity Yamaha in Townsville, including my mate Barry Graham who has always said I have the smarts to do anything.”
The qualification rounds for the 2020 World Motorcycle Technician Grand Prix will commence in 2019, when a new batch of Yamaha Motor Australia technicians will be keen to follow in the footsteps of this year’s winner and take Australia to the top step of the podium.