AHEAD of ScotPlant 2024 this weekend, the organisers of the Scottish Plant Operator Challenge 2024 have announced that Molson Young Plant Sales is sponsoring the qualifier for the event taking place on the SPOA stand at the exhibition (Avenue C 13).

Molson is providing a Kobelco SK75 eight-tonne excavator for the qualifier, described as the ‘ideal’ machine to challenge plant operators in the competition.

Callum Mackintosh, one of the organisers, said, “The Kobelco SK75’s compact size, mono boom setup and large comfortable cab has gained it a tremendous following in the industry, particularly in the west coast, as well as amongst forestry and peatland contractors. It’s a machine that punches well above its weight.

“We’re very grateful for the support given by Alistair (Murdoch) and the team at Molson Young Plant Sales, who are doing great things for the industry at ScotPlant and will have a section of their stand dedicated to a challenge of their own in support of construction industry charity The Lighthouse Club and its #MakeItVisible campaign.”

The challenge for the qualifier this weekend will require operators to lift a concrete lego block into various positions and through obstacles. This will all be done against the clock under the experienced and watchful eye of James Currie. This challenge is not just about speed, but also skills, safety, awareness, knowledge, and approach.

The standard is expected to be high as Scotland’s plant industry is made up of a high proportion of owner operators, coupled with the fact that employed operators tend to be skilled across a multitude of machines given the diversity of work contractors are engaged in.

The organisers are therefore expecting an excellent mix of skilled operators taking part, putting their skills to the test against the clock in a real-world scenario.

The best operator from each day at ScotPlant will win £200 and a Kobelco merch bag.

The top 60 scoring operators from the qualifier this weekend will be contacted, with the top 40 securing their positions alongside those who placed 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th in the Scottish Plant Operator Challenge 2023. This group will go on to the final later in the summer, competing for a share of the £10,500 prize fund. The remaining 20 operators will be placed on a standby list.

The final of the Scottish Plant Operator Challenge will take place during the Working Vintage Plant Weekend (27th July, Errol Airfield, Perthshire), hosted by Morris Leslie.

The qualifier for the Scottish Plant Operator Challenge 2024 is taking place at the SPOA’s stand at ScotPlant (Avenue C 13).