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JCB GT Crowned Fastest Backhoe on Earth

The world-famous JCB GT has been crowned the fastest backhoe loader on earth after reaching cheetah-like speeds.

Mon December 01, 2014 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The world-famous JCB GT has been crowned the fastest backhoe loader on earth after reaching speeds of more than 70 mph in Australia.

The JCB GT, originally designed to perform high-speed wheelies at racing events, made the attempt in front of independent record officials in Bathurst, Australia, near Sydney. Guinness World Records confirmed that the powerful JCB GT was officially the fastest backhoe loader in the world with a speed of 72.58 mph (116.82 kmh). The GT has achieved even faster undocumented speeds of 90 to 100 mph (144.84 to 160.9 kmh) when operated in the United States, thus earning its nickname, “The 100-mph Backhoe.”

To celebrate the win, the JCB GT went on a tour of Sydney and took a bow for photographers in front of other world-famous icons — the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

The latest record is not the only one that JCB’s backhoe holds; the machine has been the world’s top-selling backhoe loader for 14 consecutive years. Since inventing the machine in 1953, the company has manufactured more than half a million backhoes.

Fab Carrettin, managing director of JCB Pacific, said, “The JCB GT has always been regarded as the fastest backhoe around and now it’s official. It’s fantastic to have achieved this record, which underlines the world-class engineering, power and performance our customers demand from the JCB backhoe.”

Glenn McLeod, backhoe product manager of JCB dealer JCB Construction Equipment Australia (CEA), added, “The 72.58 mph we achieved was actually higher than the 68.35 mph benchmark set for us by the Guinness World Records. We couldn’t be happier with the results.”

JCB demonstration driver Matthew Lucas — nicknamed “The Dig” during the attempt — was the man who steered the JCB GT to its world record title. Lucas of Werrington, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, UK, said, “It was great to be involved in such an exciting project and a real honor to be behind the wheel when we achieved the record.”

When the JCB GT first made its debut in 1988, it was made of fiberglass and aluminum and powered by a Chevy V8 engine. It was driven by long-serving employee Malcolm Grindey, who spent two years at the wheel of the JCB GT, demonstrating its capabilities all over the world, including an appearance at the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in 1990.

Grindey of Marston Montgomery, near Rocester, said, “I have very fond memories of putting the JCB GT through its paces in the Australian Grand Prix, so it’s great news that it’s secured the title as the world’s fastest digger on Australian soil nearly 25 years later.”

Normally based at JCB’s headquarters in Staffordshire, UK, the latest JCB GT has a loader and digger end made completely out of aluminum. It went to Australia to perform at car events, including the Deni Ute Muster in Deniliquin, NSW and the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 in Bathurst, NSW. With a lightweight steel chassis and JCB Fastrac tractor rear axle, the JCB GT was originally designed to do wheelies to thrill crowds at motor racing drag strips in the USA.

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