JCB Operator Challenge: Heat 2 (Holt JCB)

Operator Challenge - Holts

After an incredible start last week, the second regional heat of the 2024 JCB UK Operator Challenge got underway in the South West of England on Friday 12 April.

For their event, Holt JCB teamed up with Coram Construction Training, a specialist independent civil engineering training provider based in Somerset.

As well as the Operator Challenge, Holt JCB pulled out all the stops to hold a wider ‘Dig Day’ event, showcasing an extensive range of JCB machines available amongst their Demonstration Fleet including mini excavators, wheel loading shovels, backhoe loaders, compaction rollers, and electric access booms and platforms.

On display were several new machines including the 25Z-1 mini excavator and 4CX Dual Drive backhoe loader, both of which were launched in the UK market earlier this year. As expected, interest in the new machines was high, with visitors eager to get hands-on, digging and grading. 

The event certainly drew some crowds, with 27 competitors taking part, as well as plenty of spectators who came along to soak up the atmosphere, with the crowd on tenterhooks watching competitors test their precision, nerve and patience.

It was another hotly contested event, with the top three going on to compete for the title of being crowned JCB's Excavator Operator of the Year 2024 in the final in June. Top of the leaderboard at the end of the two days was Joe Basta from Strongvox Homes with an impressive time of 02:58:00. Second was Kris Bartle from Kris Bartle Groundworks and Plant Hire (03:12:00) and in third place was Kyle Gallacher from K Gallacher Plant Hire (03:45:00).

Well done to all the operators who took part and thank you to everyone who came to support!

Regional events are being held across the country throughout April and May. More details on how to register to take part, prizes, and the competition terms and conditions, can be found at

Top 10 Leaderboard

Position Name Time
 1 Joe Basta 02:58:00
 2 Kris Bartle 03:12:00
 3 Kyle Gallacher 03:45:00
 4 Paul Walker 03:48:00
 5 David Dando 03:54:00
 6 Josh Martin 03:54:00
 7 Tom Green 04:06:00
 8 Neil Chapman 04:07:00
 9 Stephen Probert 04:09:00
 10 Callum Dyckes 04:17:00