JCB Operator Challenge: Heat 5 (Midlands / Dennison / ECI JCB)

Operator Challenge - Midlands

Heat 5 of the JCB Operator Challenge arrived on home turf this weekend at JCB's Kevin Quarry in Staffordshire. The sun made an appearance to ensure that all 23 competitors and their supporters were given a very warm welcome at the Midlands regional event.

The event also drew several JCB customers who had flown over from Northern Ireland and Eire especially to take part in the competition.

The newly launched machines, including the 25Z-1 mini excavator, 370X tracked excavator and 4CX Dual Drive backhoe loader, once again proved popular with plenty of hands-on demonstrations taking place. Even the youngsters, who were there to cheer on family members taking part, got in on the action with a special remote controlled backhoe loader race challenge.

The event saw several competitors test their skills again after taking part in earlier regional events, including heat winner Tom Balls from JC Balls, who toppled the best time of the challenge so far with a scorching time of 02:07:00. Second place was Dan Simpson from SRS Demolition and Groundworks (03:16:00) and Andrew Crean from Keale Bridge Civils was third after the two-day event (03:20:00).


The day was absolutely amazing; it was very well set up at Kevin Quarry. It was a lot of fun trying all the machines JCB has to offer - they are so efficient and easy to operate. The challenge was great - I was a bit nervous with everybody watching, which made it that bit harder, but I'm delighted to have made the final. I love testing myself as an operator so can't wait to see how it goes... hopefully I'll be Vegas bound!

Overall, there was some fantastic times up on the leaderboard, with all the top ten competitors completing the two games under the 4-minute mark.

With only two regional heats left to go before the final heads back to JCB's Kevin Quarry the day before Hillhead starts on Monday 24th June, the competition is really ramping up.

There's still time to sign up to take part, with a trip to Las Vegas up for grabs, as well as the title of JCB's Excavator Operator of the Year 2024. More details on how to register, prizes and the competition terms and conditions can be found at

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


Top 10 Leaderboard

Position Name Time
 1 Tom Balls 02:07:00
 2 Dan Simpson 03:16:00
 3 Andrew Crean 03:20:00
 4 James Dempsey 03:27:00
 5 Daniel Grantham 03:28:00
 6 Colin McGrath 03:30:00
 7 Colin Bradley 03:35:00
 8 Andrew Purcell 03:35:00
 9 Ben Turkington 03:53:00
 10 Paul Walker 03:53:00