Hiab, part of Cargotec, has selected the finalists who will take part in the first ever World Crane Championships at the Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham, United Kingdom, on 14-16 April 2015. The 18 contestants, who have won their places after qualifying through rounds held in 13 different countries, will be competing to take away a EUR 25,000 prize.
To prove they have what it takes, those competing for the title of World Crane Champion will manoeuver a HIAB X-HiPro 192 through a series of obstacles, trying to beat a time set by the anonymous crane pro ‘Eric’ – Hiab’s very own The Stig – who is so named after Eric Sundin, who co-founded Hiab in 1944. ‘Eric’ also developed the track design, which includes toppling water-filled drums with a load whilst keeping the crane below a crossbar.
"The finalists are all immensely skilled crane drivers, and we cannot wait to see how they handle the course," said Carl Gustaf Göransson, Senior Vice President, Sales and Markets. "However, it’s important that they remember to keep a cool head, as they will be performing in front of a large crowd and mistakes incur time penalties and, in the worst cases, disqualification."
"I am personally very excited to watch the final and have the opportunity to meet the finalist. This will be a great event for everyone to be part of – audience and contenders. Welcome!"
Who will be the champion?
Jukka Suttinen, the competitor from Finland, is so determined to become the World Crane Champion that he has built a replica practice track in preparation. The transport company entrepreneur and owner of Je-Trans Oy said: "To become World Crane Champion would be a superb acknowledgement after years of work. The competition so far has been a great and giving experience. HIAB-loader cranes are top-of-the-line products and very reliable, and I built the practice track so that I am consistent to match the cranes reliability."
Others have been preparing their whole life, such as Gudio Beaujean from The Netherlands, who has been driving cranes since he was only 12 years of age. "It would be amazing to receive the title of World Crane Champion, but more importantly it’s great that Hiab are recognising skilled crane drivers," said Guido, who works for H.J. Beaujean BV Transport & Grondverzet. "I’m convinced that there are several potential World Crane Champions in my company alone."
Martin Utpatel, who won the regional qualifying round in Germany, said: "The best kind of preparation for me is my daily work with my Hiab crane at Rolf Hachenberg Spedition. Hiab builds such high performance cranes, with what I consider to be the best control system available, that you just could not do this kind of competition with anything other than a Hiab. To win the WCC would crown my 20 years work with cranes in this performance class."
Johnny Jensen, from Denmark, has been a crane operator for 21 years, and is representing the company Benny Rasmussen and Son. Jensen is the finalist considered to be the dark horse, having previously won a Hiab competition where he was the quickest to move dummy ducks into a pond using his crane.
"I have operated Hiab cranes for 10 years, and will continue to do so for many more years to come." Speaking of the championship, Johnny said: "It’s been incredibly fun to participate, and it would be my great honour and pride to win the WCC. I will do everything I can to take the victory home to Denmark."
This is the very start of what aims to be a reoccurring annual event, namely the WCC sponsored by HIAB.