As the Volvo Ocean Race kicks off in Spain at the end of October, two dozen operators from across the continent will also head to Alicante to compete in a trial of skill and precision – the Operators Club 2011 European Final.
The Volvo Ocean Race, the world’s most gruelling sailing challenge, is a test of strategy, skill and expertise. So it’s appropriate that the Operators Club 2011 European Final – a contest that uses those same characteristics – is being held in conjunction with the race in this year’s home port of Alicante, Spain.
For three days in late October, Europe’s top 24 machine operators – from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and Spain – will compete in a series of challenges designed to test their skills. Using machines from the Volvo Construction Equipment range, challenges include using an excavator to pass a hanging weight along an obstacle course without touching any of the obstacles, negotiating a slalom course backwards in an articulated hauler, or creating a hole for a golf course from a pile of sand using a compact excavator equipped with the highly versatile Steelwrist tiltrotator attachment — all in a race against time.
“The Operators Club Final challenges operators to show what they’re made of,” says Steve Skinner, Volvo Construction Equipment’s European corporate communications manager who is responsible for expanding the Operators Club throughout Europe. “It’s a head-to-head test of precision operation against the clock, and that’s a compelling recipe.”
This year’s Final will enjoy a high profile at the Volvo Ocean Race: the contest will be broadcast in the middle of the race village at the Alicante port, and finalists will compete in the middle of the village on the last day of the competition. And the ultimate winner of the competition will board one of the yachts to participate in the Volvo Ocean Race In-Port prologue race – the first opportunity for the public to see the Volvo Ocean Race competitors in action.