Racing to deliver

A driving-and-delivery-skills contest organized by Workhorse Custom Chassis to promote the efficiency of step vans in today's "new economy" turned the streets of Manhattan into a pot of gold for several hard-charging and highly skilled competitors.The "Race to Deliver" entailed two days of competition. The first day, held across the river in New Jersey's Meadowlands, tested driving skills with a slalom

A driving-and-delivery-skills contest organized by Workhorse Custom Chassis to promote the efficiency of step vans in today's "new economy" turned the streets of Manhattan into a pot of gold for several hard-charging and highly skilled competitors.

The "Race to Deliver" entailed two days of competition. The first day, held across the river in New Jersey's Meadowlands, tested driving skills with a slalom course as well as backing and parking events.

The second day was the real challenge, as 11 drivers took on the streets, traffic and general mayhem of workday Gotham to complete specially arranged pickups and deliveries at 11 stops around the Big Apple, including Times Square, Rockefeller Center and Central Park. Contestants had to plot routes, keep track of cargo, quickly size up unloading and loading spots and interact with the public.

Named overall champion and Delivery Man of the Year was Brian Baumeister, 32, who operates a uniform/linen route for Ameripride Uniform Services out of Buffalo, N.Y. As men's champ, Baumeister received a cruise for two on Norwegian Cruise Lines, and as overall winner, a two-year lease on a 4WD GMC Jimmy.

The competition for Delivery Woman of the Year came down to a tie between Lona Corbin, 44, a route driver for Oxford, Ala.-based vending company Five Star Services, and Tami Massaro, 25, a Safety-Kleen haz-mat driver out of Littlerock, Calif. As co-champs, they each received a cruise for two.

Baumeister told FLEET OWNER his most anxious moments running against the clock came when attempting a delivery at the "twin towers" of the World Trade Center. After waiting in line to receive a temporary visitor's badge, he made his way to the 107th-floor delivery point - only to learn he was in the wrong tower and had to start all over again.

Highland Park, Ill.-based Workhorse Custom Chassis (www.workhorse cc.com) produces commercial step van chassis as well as integrated urban-delivery trucks.

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