Mark Illsley, a mechanic from Swindon based motor dealer Suzuki and Hyundai Pebley Beach has been named Motor Technician of the Year by Suzuki.
Mark began his career at Pebley Beach 8 years ago aged 19. Since then he has been named Apprentice of the Year three times and was the fastest in the Suzuki dealership network’s history to rise to the ranks of Master Technician.
He was trained by Pebley master technician Martin Owen – himself a four-times winner of the Technician of the Year title – who went on to represent Great Britain at Suzuki’s Worldwide Technical Skills Contest in Japan.
Managing Director of Pebley Beach Dom Threlfall said: “Mark’s knowledge of motor cars is almost encyclopaedic. Give him any make and model of car and he’ll be able to tell you when various components were introduced. He’s a walking Haynes Manual.”
There was little surprise when Mark flew through the regional heats to reach the final in Slovenia. “Mark had to sit four exams, and finished the last one early, so we submitted his entry before the deadline,” said Dom.
“Suzuki came back to us and said that Mark had achieved an unbeatable score. No matter how well anyone else did, he was guaranteed a place in the finals.”
During those finals, Mark went head-to-head with four of the UK’s best Suzuki technicians.
“They presented us with four cars, each of which had a specific problem – a warning light on the dashboard, poor running going up a hill, that kind of thing,” said Mark.
“We had thirty minutes to work on each problem. The final one was insolvable in the time, so I gave my diagnosis and recommendations – they just wanted to see your thought process.”
Mark now has his sights set on representing the UK at Suzuki’s Worldwide Technical Skills Contest. And he hopes to repeat his success with Hyundai, after becoming the first technician ever to score 100 percent in the manufacturer’s Expert Assessment.
Pictured above: Mark Illsley of Pebley Beach