The European leg of the Caterpillar Global Operator Challenge gets underway this week with the best machine operators from across Europe competing for chance to travel to Las Vegas in March next year and compete in the world championship.
The winners of the UK and Ireland Operator Challenge competition, Bryan Williamson and Tommy Murphy are heading to Malaga to the Caterpillar demonstration facility to take on one of the industry’s biggest challenges.
What do you enjoy most about being a machine operator?
BW: After a long day’s work of excavations, I love seeing the transformation of the landscape – it’s a truly amazing feeling.”
TM: There are so many things to enjoy about operating a machine. I love being outside (in the good weather!) and it’s a nice feeling to look back on your work and see the difference that you’ve made.
How did you find the challenges at the UK and Ireland competition?
BW: I found that every challenge was difficult in its own way, and I really felt my skills being put to the test. However, one of the challenges was in a machine that I operate everyday, so I felt more comfortable in that particular one.”
TM: Each challenge really tested my operating skills. I found I needed a combination of speed and finesse in order to score a decent time, as well as precision to not knock over obstacles or drop the load you’re carrying. The secret challenge which involved operating a D6 Dozer in Arizona remotely from Leicester was the most challenging by far. Despite the good visibility through the cameras, you lose the noise and movement you get in real-time operation. Although it felt different as it was my first time, I can see how the technology benefits the industry.”
What training have you done in preparation for the European final?
BW: I didn’t do any specific training before the UK competition; however, I’m going to try and familiarise myself with a few other machines in preparation for the European challenge.
TM: I’ve found that work is probably the best training for this competition. This time, however, I’ll spend some time looking more into new Cat technology as I feel they will incorporate this where they can into the challenges.
What are you most looking forward to at the European challenge event?
BW: The feeling of ‘unknown’ excites me because of the challenge it poses. I’ve also never been to the Caterpillar centre in Malaga, so I’m really looking forward to exploring it.
TM: I’m looking forward to the variety of challenges. There’s likely to be many different types of machinery and I enjoy operating machines I don’t usually use. The Spanish weather is also a bonus – I want to try to keep my summer tan a bit longer!”
What would winning the European challenge event mean to you?
BW: Winning the European competition would be an amazing feeling. I’d love to go onto to compete in the Las Vegas final, competing against the best operators from around the world.
TM: Winning the European competition last time was a shock so to win it again would be unreal. Returning as a winner will be hard, however – I feel the pressure!”
Do you have any thoughts on what the next challenges may be?
BW: “I have no clue what type of challenges they will set but I am expecting the unexpected! Hopefully I will be familiar with some of them.”
TM: Caterpillar has such a talented demonstration team so it’s hard to know what they could challenge us with. Whatever it is, I know it won’t be easy!”
The winner of the European semi-final will go on to compete against the winners from the other continents around the world in Las Vegas in March 2023 as part of CONNEXPO 2023 – the world’s biggest construction event.