Boys and their eight-ton toys

This Jalopnik post alerted me to an area of human endeavour of which I had not previously been aware.

Commenters, and a couple of searches of my own, turned up further, even more impressive examples of this little-known form of motorsport.

It's the beep-beep-beep that really makes it, if you ask me.

Things like tractors and excavators normally have individually braked rear wheels, just like a purpose-built "wheelie car". This means you can steer them when the front wheels aren't on the ground:

Vehicles with centre-articulated steering offer some similarly novel possibilities.

It's actually quite common for construction-equipment operators to use hydraulic arms and buckets for things other than their primary purpose.

You can even use an excavator's arm to move the whole vehicle, helping to push it up a slope, balance it, or... what have you:

An excavator's arm can also be used to propel the entire vehicle, if its wheels can't find purchase or its transmission has failed altogether:

Or if the transmission is, shall we say, not of any use:

But I still presume every JCB excavator sold comes with a piece of paper telling you to do as they say, not as they do:

Except, of course, in appropriately sanctioned racing events.

10 Responses to “Boys and their eight-ton toys”

  1. morrieD Says:

    i so much want one of these to play with. Again. (that doesnt' count, it was only a Tonka)

  2. lordbritish Says:

    Have you seen Top Gear's own tractor races? If you're not familiar with them, they did an episode where they were planting crops for bio-fuel, and naturally they had to test their tractors. Part 2 of 3:

  3. phrantic Says:

    I wonder what it takes to get on the JCB Precision Driving Team?

  4. Catpain_Balkudder Says:

    There is also some fun to be had with 62-ton toys...

  5. allsub Says:

    It's pretty impressive what a good operator can do with a machine he knows well. It's scary what an insane operator can do with just about any machine. The video of the combination excavator, the tractor with the dozer bucket on one end and excavating backhoe bucket on the other end, pushing itself along the road isn't too uncommon, I've seen the things moved all over by the hoe bucket. When the driver is swiveled around towards the hoe and the outriggers are down he can't move it with the transmission, good operators can scoot the machine all around with the bucket. The most impressive thing I've seen is watching a rubber-tired excavator yanking a broken-down manlift across 3 lanes on the interstate. We were working at night and the manlift broke down with the boom out about 50 feet. We could only close down traffic in 15 minute increments, the operator had to drag the manlift out of the median, across 2 lanes, across the shoulder down the ditch and off the road, all in 15 minutes, all with a backhoe that weighed less than the manlift it was dragging.

  6. foobar77 Says:

    I just love the sad sound of the inch-worming backhoe scraping it's bucket along the road. It's almost animal like. Plus the directions the cars take to get around it is also quite amusing.

  7. DBT Says:


    "Mommy, I found a sick digger on the side of the road. He can't move his wheels. Can I keep him? ... Awww ...Pleeeese?"

  8. m56 Says:

    So true! It is such a sad sound.

    Good find!

    Here is a pretty relevant set of four pictures showing a backhoe / bucket loader thing lifting itself up onto the top of a train hopper car:

  9. kamikrae-z Says:

    m56, for some reason that series of pictures put a comic image in my head of an elephant maneuvering around with just its (admittedly rather oversized) trunk and tail.

    This whole aspect of heavy machinery gives a whole new angle to the concept of bootstrapping.

  10. reyalp Says:

    no further comment

Leave a Reply