Tradie challenge digs through the test
DESPITE weighing tonnes, the remarkable precision of modern day excavators was on show at Lismore yesterday during Round 1 of the Kubota Nerves of Steel Super Challenge.
Coinciding with Ongmac Trading's inaugural Dig Day opposite Lismore Airport, a raft of tradies and business owners turned out to test the latest Kubota machines.
The challenge involved scooping softballs from the top of witch's hats, stacking foam cubes and swinging a tyre through a tricky obstacle course.
Dean Marsh, Ongmac's industrial equipment manager, said the day attracted interested parties from as far as Tamworth and Tweed Heads.
He said Ongmac, who've traded locally for 35 years, started selling Kubota excavators in August last year and had already offloaded 15 of the construction machines.
"We've had a lot of interest. A lot of guys are saying it's great to have somewhere local they can get service and get warranty work done rather than trekking to capital cities," he said.
"A lot of local guys can't afford the downtime.
"The Nerves of Steel Challenge is for operators, it's been run nationally by Kubota for the past three years.
"We'll run Round 2 at Primex and the winner out of the two rounds will take home a Kubota ride-on worth $5000."
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Mr Marsh described the challenge as "very difficult" and said experienced operators still struggled to stay competitive.
"We're about three minutes off the capital city dealer contestants, so regionally I think we need to pick up our game a little bit," he joked.
"The controls are very sensitive, so you've got to be on the ball.
"It's not difficult to learn how to operate an excavator, but you need a bit of patience and finesse."
Proving he possessed the skills needed, Wollongbar's Jared Erzetic, from father-son business Erzetic Constructions, performed well.
"I don't know at this stage, but I think I may have come in the lead, or second," he said.
"Unofficially, I drove my first excavator with my old man when I was about 13, but obviously not on work sites for legal reasons, and I've been driving them ever since.
"The challenge definitely tested your skills. The most difficult part for me was the tyre. Moving that through the obstacle course wasn't real easy."
Results of the challenge will be known in coming days.