Brian Hoffmann wins National Excavator Operator title
19 March 2014
Auckland’s Brian Hoffmann wins National Excavator Operator title
Brian Hoffmann is once again New Zealand’s top excavator operator after clinching his second winner’s trophy at his ninth attempt at the gruelling National Excavator Operator Competition.
Brian, affectionately known in the contracting industry as “the Hoff”, had to battle difficult weather conditions as well as 11 other regional champions from around the country to take home the coveted model Hitachi excavator trophy.
The owner of Oratia-based earthmoving operation Brian Hoffmann Ltd last won the competition, which is organised by the New Zealand Contractors’ Federation, in 2009.
“I’m over the moon,” he said. “It was a very tough competition this year but I really enjoyed it. There were certainly big celebrations afterwards, I think we finished partying at about 5am.”
Wellington/Wairarapa champion Michael Jones, of Goodman Contractors, took second place despite it being his first time at the final and competing against seasoned veterans. Steve Galbraith of Hawkes Bay, who works for Gair Contracting, was in third place and David Smythe of Waikato’s Smythe Contracting won the ‘Good Bastard’ award, selected by fellow competitors as the best contestant to have around.
Michael Jones, 24, from Waikanae, said that he’d been very nervous before the final but as soon as he got into an excavator he relaxed and got on with the challenges.
“I ended up really enjoying it and it was absolutely fantastic to be among the winners,” he said.
The two-day competition is traditionally a crowd favourite at Central District Field Days, with competitors undergoing a series of rigorous construction, planning and loading challenges in 16, 12 and 6 tonne Hitachi machines provided by major sponsor CablePrice.
This year Field Days was cut short on the second day due to poor weather but the finalists completed the contest with a limited course. This year’s famous ‘novelty’ challenges included using the giant machines to slamdunk a basketball, pour cups of tea and wield a brush to paint the letters H, Z and V - for sponsors Hitachi, Hirepool and Humes, Z Energy and Vector.
“Rather than painting the plain Z, I painted mine in the style of the Z Energy Logo,” said Brian. “I’m looking forward to coming back next year as defending champion, and I’m aiming to win it again. It would be great to do the hat trick.”
Federation executive officer Malcolm Abernethy said: “It was great to have the Hoff back and see him win the title even though we had to shorten the event. Michael Jones came to the final for the first time and did extremely well taking out the One Day Job category and achieving second overall – he will be a competitor to watch in the future.”