Fresh from its involvement in turning the Ekurhuleni Mountain Bike Park community project in Boksburg into a reality, Bobcat Equipment South Africa has collaborated with cycling-industry veteran Allen Mee for a second time on the mountain-bike track at Jeppe High School in Kensington.
Such was the success of the Boksburg project that Jeppe parents approached Mee to enquire if he would be willing to design-and-build a similar facility at their local high school. ‘It seemed a particularly challenging undertaking from the outset, as the school is essentially built around a rocky outcrop, with the site for the potential track itself constrained by other sports fields in the vicinity.’
The rocky and generally unstable ground conditions meant that a large machine was out of the question for this demanding project. Mee realised that the only machine sufficiently versatile to negotiate the difficult terrain, and perform the arduous task of digging out the actual track, was a skidsteer loader.
He then contacted Bobcat Rental GM Vanessa Koszulinski, who arranged to donate a S650, ably operated by Sabelo Myeni. ‘No matter how good your equipment is, you need equally good operators. Myeni is one of our star all-rounders who is equally at home on all of our Bobcat machines. He jumped at the opportunity to again prove the chops of the S650 at Jeppe High School,’ Koszulinski explains.
Such was the success of the project, undertaken over a single day, that the engineer who worked in conjunction with Mee in designing the track requested if the skidsteer could be loaned for another day to carry out important maintenance work around the school grounds.
‘We were only happy to assist. Not only does it give exposure for our machines and our highly skilled operators, it also allows us to make a tangible difference in the communities in which we operate. This sense of community participation and involvement has always been part of the Bobcat philosophy. It is one of the reasons why the brand is so loved, and why we continue to be so successful in the marketplace,’ Koszulinski highlights.
The Bobcat S650 has a very narrow width, contributing to its agile performance. The tight turning radius means it can handle large jobs in confined areas with maximum ease. Powered by a Tier 3 Kubota 3.3 turbo diesel engine developing 55.4 kW, it features a vertical lift path boom for greater maximum reach at mid-range heights. Features include industry-leading breakout force, a rated operating capacity, faster cycle times, and quicker turns.
‘The Bobcat S650 was powerful and agile enough to be able to sculpt this track using only its bucket, without any additional attachments. This is probably the most versatile construction machine there is, with a wide range of attachments enabling it to carry out up to 15 different tasks. This is why Bobcat skidsteers are so sought-after in the construction industry,’ Koszulinski stresses.
Mee concludes that, for him, the best part of the project was seeing Myeni in action yet again, turning another long-held dream of a high school into reality. ‘It is planned that this track will become an asset for the entire community, which again goes to prove how committed Bobcat is to social development and upliftment.’