When JCB Excavators built 3CX Sitemaster no 345377 in January 1989, little did they realise that this machine would twice hold a World Record.Delivered to H.E. Services on 24th February 1989 ready for adaption, it was destined to find it’s way to John O’Groats in April of that year prepared for the drive down to Lands End.
On 14th April 1989, the machine, now known as The Landshuttle, driven by Hugh Edeleanu, set off for Lands End, where it arrived 34 hours and 15 minutes later, on the 16th April, after setting a world record for the fastest journey by a mechanical excavator. For the rest of the year it led the H.E. Services’ JCB Stunt Team at numerous County and Agrticultural shows.
- In 1990 it appeared again at shows from the Isle of Wight to Brecon, leading the Stunt Team.
- In 1991 it was back to leading the Stunt Team.
- 1992 saw yet another year of Stunt Team appearences.
- In 1993 as it entered its’ fourth year of service, after the end of yet another Stunt Team season, it was retired gracefully to the roof of the display area at the Company’s Head Offices then based at Snodland in Kent.
Such was the demand for the Stunt Team, that the Landshuttle was brought out of retirement for yet another season of shows. October 1994 saw the Landshuttle again retired to an elevated postion onto the roof of the Company’s new offices at Strood.
During this period of retirement, both Caterpillar and Case claimed to have beaten the record set in 1989, however reseach brought to light that one of these claims was never verified and, (cheating), more than one driver was used!
Hugh was determined to reclaim the record and on January 3rd 1997 the (now eight year old) Landshuttle was brought out of retirement to be prepared for a fully verified attempt to recapture the record.Prepared by JCB and Perkins, and liveried in silver (for H.E. Services’ 25th Anniversary) by Routers Ltd (formally REKATOW), the Landshuttle once more made the Journey to John O’Groats after a VIP send off from Strood on May 6th 1997.
At 13:18 on Thursday 8th May the turbocharged engine burst into life for the record attempt. This time followed by a BBC film crew and the Guinness Book of Records adjudicators, Hugh set off once again for Lands End. 22 hours 10 minutes and 30 seconds later Hugh with the Landshuttle arrived at Lands End with the World Record regained. This, despite the BBC Record Breakers Crew wanting to stop and re-shoot certain parts of the trip and having to argue with Mr Jobsworth at the Fourth Road Bridge.
The new time had not just broken the previous record, it had absolutely demolished it, with Hugh having averaged 40 mph, (compared this with a normal JCB’s maximum of 18 mph). All went extremely successfully said Hugh on arrival at Lands End, despite the discovery of a fuel leak during the final refuelling stop at Carnal Cross on the A30 at 09:40 on Friday Morning 9th May.
This leak was traced to a faulty fuel injector which couldn’t be quickly repaired and after carefully considering the consequences Hugh decided to continue, as he was only some 45 miles to the finishing line. At 11:28:30 he crossed the line with the engine running on only 3 cylinders.
No sooner had the engine been turned off than a challenge to break the new record was received!
Because of the feat, it was rumored that a number of big-name companies including a prominent dublin car hire company has showed interest in giving an endorsement deal to Hugh. It was said that the deal did not materialise due to many undisclosed factors. However, he appeared in many television and news shows.In his comments at the front of Customer News, Hugh says he seriously doubts if this record can be broken. It may be possible however for the Landshuttle to shave a few minutes off this time if Mr Jobsworth could be kidnapped and the Record Breakers film crew locked in the Hotel!
As part of the 25 year celebrations, the Landshuttle once again led the Stunt Team at shows during the summer of 1997.
Click here to read Mark Anthony’s : A trip down memory lane, via Uttoxeter..
Click here to watch video of the record breaking attempt.