Hitachi excavators clear the way for BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and other luxury sports car brands.
Hitachi excavators are shaping 155 acres of twists and turns right now on Vancouver Island – the future home of an exclusive high-end membership and company-rental test track where auto enthusiasts will put the rubber to the road.
The track, named Vancouver Island Motorsport Resort, is the vision of GAIN, Vancouver Island’s Premier Dealer Group, which represents performance brands including AMG, Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Porsche, Smart, Sprinter, Subaru and Volkswagen. And what better place to test those wheels than in the Cowichan Valley, against a picturesque backdrop of mountains and towering trees?
Triple T Excavating was chosen to work on the site, along with Chris Erb from SupErb Construction. The site is estimated to be completed in spring 2016.
Headquartered in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Triple T Excavating covers a spectrum of services including excavation, civil work, acreage development and septic systems. Rick Tomlinson started the company with his brother, Curt, in 1991. Tomlinson had been working in the oil fields overseas and moved back to Vancouver Island where his family is based. He learned about the construction industry on his own.
“I had one skid steer and started doing work for free,” Tomlinson said. “I then got a mini excavator, and as I learned more about the industry, that free work eventually turned into a business.”
Tackling the track
Triple T Excavating already has some experience working with the luxury car industry. The company, with Chris Erb and SupErb Construction, completed the excavation work for BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Subaru dealerships in Nanaimo, as well as Porsche and Volkswagen dealerships in Victoria.
Now Triple T Excavating will be moving about 300,000 tons of dirt to bring the test track to life – removing overburden and completing the final cuts and fills to bring the track bed to final levels. Then the company will backfill with layers of gravel to allow for the asphalt paving. Total volumes of dirt removal and gravel backfill will exceed 750,000 tons.
Tomlinson is tackling the project with a few of his Hitachi excavators: two ZX250LC-5 excavators and one ZX225LC-3. Due to the nature of the company’s work, Tomlinson outfits his excavators with thumbs and Falling Object Protective Systems (FOPS) cabs.
Operator Tony Arsenault has worked for Triple T Excavating since nearly the company’s beginning. You could say he’s a fan of the ZX250LC-5 and its balance of productivity and comfort.
“It’s got all the power in the world and it’s fast,” Arsenault said. “It’s also comfortable. When you work 10- to 12-hour days, you should be comfortable. I’ve got a cup holder for my thermos, room for my lunch kit and jacket.”
The company keeps its Hitachi excavators on rotation, generally trading them in as they reach 7,000 - 8,000 hours. Curt Tomlinson, co-owner of Triple T Excavating, appreciates the minimal maintenance during the lifespan of the machines.
“We keep them serviced, and they keep running,” Curt said. “It’s pretty simple.”
More than business
For Rick Tomlinson, it’s not all business; it’s about relationships. Triple T Excavating is a tight-knit group.
“We’re a small company, and all my employees are like family,” he said. “We spend time outside of work for get-togethers and barbecues.”
Rick also has strong dealer support from Wajax Equipment based on a longstanding relationship with Chris Dalton, Wajax’s Vancouver Island branch manager, and Michael Wood, sales rep.
“Wajax provides good support and is very helpful,” Rick said. “I used to buy another brand from Chris when he worked at a different dealership. When he moved to Wajax, I started buying Hitachi from him. When we need something, Wajax helps us out right away.”
As for the test track, Rick, Curt and their crew are looking forward to seeing the finished project.
“It will be a nice attraction for the area,” Rick said. “I plan on taking a few laps!”
Triple T Excavating is serviced by Wajax Equipment, Nanaimo, British Columbia.
12% maximum incline
11.5% maximum slope
10-meter (33 ft.) track width
19 turns (7 left turns, 12 right turns)
211 kph (131 mph) top speed (street legal sports cars)
4 track short cuts
6 track layout combinations