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JCB dancing diggers take 75th birthday bow at town’s special event



JCB’s world-famous Dancing Diggers will take a birthday bow at a major Staffordshire community event this summer as the company marks its 75th anniversary.

Widely regarded as a down-to-earth version of the Red Arrows, the legendary JCB Dancing Diggers will take centre stage in the main show arena at Cheadle Carnival on Saturday, 4th July. There, the mechanical monsters will perform intricate and spectacular ‘choreographed’ routines with an elegance and split-second precision that belies their heavyweight construction.

The World’s Fastest Tractor – a modified version of the famous Fastrac made in Cheadle – will also be on show. The tractor secured the title with a speed of 135.191 mph driven by motorbike racer and lorry mechanic Guy Martin at the wheel. Also lining up alongside the tractor will be the JCB GT - the world’s fastest backhoe loader with a top speed of around 120mph.

JCB is also supporting the carnival with a £3,000 donation by sponsoring the main stage.

JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said: “JCB has very long links with Cheadle and our first factory opened there nearly 40 years ago. As we approach our 75th birthday, the town continues to play a very big role in our success, with our two Cheadle factories now employing more than 1,200 people. We want to celebrate our unique links with the town and I’m delighted we are able to offer the JCB Dancing Diggers and other JCB attractions to make sure the Carnival is a really big success in what is a very special year for JCB.”

Jason Carnwell is Vice-Chair of Cheadle Carnival Committee and a Principal Electrical Design Engineer at JCB’s World HQ in Rocester. He said: “We are absolutely delighted that the JCB Dancing Diggers, the World’s Fastest Tractor and the JCB GT will be making an appearance at the Cheadle Carnival. You simply could not ask for a better line up. The level of support from JCB for this year’s community event is astounding and will ensure that tickets will sell out very quickly. It promises to be a fantastic event for the whole family.”        

Jason added: “It’s great that all the crazy stuff JCB creates as part of its marketing, but local people don’t get to see in real life, will be on show at the carnival. The JCB GT will be a big pull for all the petrol heads, the JCB Dancing Diggers will be a massive hit with the kids and it will be fantastic to have our very own TV star there in the shape of the World’s Fastest Tractor.”

The Carnival will also see a VE Day-themed parade marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.

Jason said: “The parade will feature one of the oldest restored JCB excavators driving under its own power alongside the latest Fastrac. JCB has also kindly sponsored our main stage this year, which helps with the cost of running our event and is much appreciated by the Committee.”

JCB is Cheadle’s biggest employer with around 1,200 employees at its two factories: JCB Compact Products and JCB Earthmovers.

Weighing over 80 tonnes in total, the JCB Dancing Diggers are operated by a team of nine drivers. The performance sees them circle and weave past each other with only inches to spare; the drivers use hydraulics to turn their machines into sculptures; and buckets and shovels become acrobatic arms, lifting the vehicles clear of the ground and performing ‘handstands’.

One of the Diggers’ ‘crowd-pleasing’ favourites comes when the machines lever their own back wheels off the ground to create a perfect ‘wedding arch’ for other machines to drive through. But for all their astonishing dexterity, not one of the Dancing Diggers has been specially modified; each one is absolutely standard…and anyone can buy one.