In early 2023 two cyclones, Hale and Gabrielle, ripped through New Zealand causing more than $8 billion in damage. Gisborne and Hawkes Bay were the epicentre of the devastation. There was extensive damage to orchard and farm infrastructure including dangerous slips, washed out fences, bridges, yards, eroded tracks and water systems.
Jeff of Escape Landscape contracts to farmers on the East Coast. Recently he’s been heavily involved in cyclone clean up for the Gisborne area, particularly supporting hill country stations with track repairs and restoration following slips. Faced with extreme wet weather, muddy ground conditions, and steep slopes, slips and land subsidence it presented dangerous conditions – “Normal cleats just fill up with mud. For example, it’s like being on snow skis without any control,” says Jeff.
Jeff has over 40 years’ experience operating heavy machinery across farms, orchards, construction and site preparation. Integral to his success is navigating a range of terrains, often in extreme conditions. He discovered TrackGrip at the annual Field Days a few years back and decided to purchase some for the current cyclone clean up.
His Komatsu PC138US-8 needed traction and stability so he invested in 14 units.
“MightyGrip is an awesome product – it makes a world of difference. With an operating weight of 16 tonne, I run seven units on each side of the machine, 14 in total – it gives me three per side, so six touching the ground at any point in time,” says Jeff.
“As a comparison, if you were climbing up an icy slope on foot, it’s the difference between having an ice pick and not having one,” he says.
As a contractor productivity is key for Jeff. Improvements to working conditions included;
- Increased safety in hazardous sites
- Exceptional forwards/sideways traction and protection on slopes and through dense mud
- Ability to operate with stability when ascending or descending slopes
- Overall improved productivity
The flexibility of the bolt on and bolt off grips allowed him to use the machine for a variety of work without permanent modification to his tracks.