Finning UK & Ireland customer Tommy Murphy narrowly missed out on becoming a world champion after finishing a close second in the 2020 CAT Global Operator Challenge. More than 10,000 machine operators from 30 countries took part in this year’s epic event, which culminated in a nail-biting finale in Las Vegas on 10 March, 2020.
The Tramore, County Waterford resident has operated plant and machinery for 16 years and works in the family firm. He was flying the flag for Finning UK & Ireland, exclusive distributor of CAT products in the countries. After finishing in the top three of the UK & Ireland leg of the annual competition in which his younger brother also competed, he went on to top the leader board in the European championships in October last year to earn himself a coveted place at the prestigious final.
“The whole experience has been amazing, I genuinely never expected to do so well,” explained Tommy. “I’d never have given it a go if it wasn’t for Brian Roche, our Finning sales rep in Ireland who has been a great support from start to finish. He convinced me to go for it in the first place, and I’m delighted that he did.” Tommy’s second place has earned him a trip of a lifetime to Brazil.
The final took place on the opening morning of CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020, North America’s largest construction trade show. It brought together eight of the world’s most talented operators from four continents to battle it out in three tough challenges: load-and-carry, control-to-a-tee and trenching. The load and-carry challenge tasked competitors to operate a CAT 962M wheel loader with production measurement technology to load and move material to different locations.
The next challenge, control-to-a-tee, called on operators to tee-off using a CAT 302 mini excavator before navigating an uneven course and putting a golf ball at the end. In the final challenge operators were asked to show off their trenching skills using a CAT 325 excavator equipped with 2D grade technology. The scores were calculated based on speed, accuracy and operating best practices with penalties imposed for errors.
Tommy’s combined score after the first two challenges put him in pole position. But he was pipped to the post by Jaus Neigum from Canada who put his remarkable loading and trenching talents to work to win both challenges. He finished with an incredible combined time of 16 minutes and 28 seconds, coming in a close second, having won the control-to-a-tee-challenge, and finished with an impressive combined score of 18 minutes and two seconds.
“This challenge is about far more than promoting our machines, it is about highlighting the skilled work operators do every day,” explained Brian Roche, Regional Sales Representative at Finning UK & Ireland. “It’s amazing how much blood, sweat and tears goes into this competition. Thomas put his heart and soul into every single challenge, demonstrating the skill and dedication needed to succeed as an operator and illustrating how proud we all are to work in the industry. I spent my days in school dreaming of driving a digger and when I was old enough, I joined the family business. I’ve driven a few different machines, mainly excavators, and have been operating a CAT machine for the last few years. This competition, as well as being great fun, shows that operating machines requires skill and precision and I’m extremely proud to have represented team Finning UK & Ireland.”