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Bobcat Loaders Hit the Track Again in Raceway Project

Fri July 24, 2009 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

For two years, Bobcat loaders played an integral part in the construction of Barber Motorsports Park — a championship auto-racing facility located near Birmingham, Ala.

Once the track was completed, the equipment was “retired” to routine jobs around the complex. Now it’s back in the construction business. That’s because George Barber Jr. — who invested $70 million to build a motorcycle museum and racecourse — is in the process of building a motocross track. A bowl has been created with natural berms so spectators can watch from a coliseum-like setting.

“Our Bobcat loaders — an S185 and 773 — have been operated extensively for trenching and mixing in the bark mulch and soil that will form the top layer of the new track,” said Mark Whitt, head of operations/track manager.

“These machines are very efficient and cost-effective. They have been a big help on this project.”

Racetrack Construction

The same was true in 2000 when construction of the racetrack got under way.

“We moved a lot of dirt with our Bobcat loaders,” Whitt said, “and used the landscape rake to get the soil just right before installing sod. We used the pallet fork attachment to lift and carry sod, and the trencher attachment to install the underground irrigation system.”

The Bobcat equipment, purchased from Loader Services, was used nonstop for two years in the construction of the 2.38-mi. (3.8 km)-long, 45-ft. (13.7 m)-wide track, which includes 16 turns and 80 ft. (24 m) of elevation change.

For a project of this magnitude, why not hire an outside firm?

“With our Bobcat equipment we could do a lot of the work in-house, at cost, and control our own schedule,” Whitt said. “Just as important, we took greater pride in the workmanship than a contractor.”

Once the racetrack was built, Whitt and his 12-person staff went back to using the Bobcat machines around the 800-acre complex, which includes the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. The museum features what is considered the world’s largest collection of motorcycles (more than 900) along with Lotus cars and other racecars.

“The equipment is so versatile that we use it every day,” Whitt said. “There are landscaping projects, ongoing renovation, dirt work and, at times, storm damage cleanup. We could not function very productively without our loaders and attachments.”

This story was reprinted from Bobcat WorkSaver, Spring 2009.

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