Bourne Sport unleashed its new custom built track washer on the Julie Rose stadium in Ashford on Friday.
The track washer was built in our own workshops and designed to improve further on some of the proprietary machines currently on the market. After extensive testing and final adjustments to our initial design the machine performed excellently. It will next appear at the Guildford Spectrum and the Withdean Stadium, Brighton.
The machine is built around a Kubota 50hp compact tractor and comprises a high pressure washer mounted on the front and a high output vacuum pump with clean and dirty water tanks located on the back.
It is designed for cleaning polymeric running tracks but can also address any artificial surface where high pressure washing and removal of dirty water is required.
Where tractor access is restricted, the machine can be used with two high pressure lances on long reels and pedestrian vacuuming units.
Regular washing not only makes the surface look good, but also ensures its longevity and performance. An opportunity for our customers to liven up their summer playing surfaces!
Constructing a new sports pitch for a school during term time presents its own special problems - like access to the site. Obviously, eight-wheeler lorries and schoolchildren should never mix. That's when a grab lorry comes in handy - here we are delivering topsoil for a project in North Kent. Interestingly, part of the soil is being re-purposed from another project where the re-modelling of the site left us with vast amounts of great soil. Reduce, reuse, recycle!
Here is part of our fleet of compact tractors for maintenance and general utility work, patiently waiting at the depot for the weather to improve and the football season to end! It's time to be thinking about pitch renewals and improvements - but the Beast from the East is still making life difficult for groundsmen round the south-east.
The tractors are New Holland Boomer 54D's - 2.2 litre 3-cylinder turbo-diesel engines with continuously variable transmission. They have a Particulate Matter Catalyst system, making them highly environmentally friendly without the need for AdBlue or similar additives. It's all green round here - now if only the snow would go away...
The never ending stream of statistics showing increasing childhood and millennial obesity, and the rise of female sports participation will ensure a growing demand for pitch improvements at all levels.
Many local football and rugby clubs are devising more and more ingenious ways of funding pitch improvements, ranging from commercial sponsorship to landfill tax credits and governmental grants. The success of our recent open day held at Sevenoaks Town FC showed that there is growing interest on the part of regional football and rugby clubs in improving the playability of their pitches.
While the introduction of hybrid pitches at about 60% of the cost of a full 3G pitch is welcome, the cost of some £300k still represents a huge investment for a small club. In the rush for an artificial pitch of some form it is often forgotten that significant improvements can be made to a natural grass pitch to increase its availability at a more reachable price. This is particularly true of the clay based soils on which most local pitches are found.
The installation of piped drainage, enhanced by secondary drainage and a large dose of imported sand can, at a quarter of the price of an artificial pitch of any kind, provide the increased playability sought by small clubs. As an average, while undrained clay soils can sustain only 2/3 hours play a week, a fully drained pitch can stand up to 12 hours play. There is also the added benefit of reducing the number of cancelled fixtures, leading to better attendance figures and bar, refreshment and merchandise sales.
Central to this improvement, however, is the ongoing need to devote resources to maintaining the passage of water through the surface to the drainage system. There is no point installing a full drainage system unless regular efforts are made to ensure water gets off the surface and into the drains. Not doing so results in a waterlogged pitch and cancelled games. The same considerations, incidentally, also apply to the maintenance of artificial pitches – not looking after them can halve the expected lifetime of a carpet costing perhaps £150k.
All natural turf pitch construction specifications will include a requirement to spread at least 100 tonnes of sand on the pitch for the first 3 years after construction. This figure must be built into the capital cost of the project, even though the charge will be incurred over 3 years. This may not be easy for the supplier of the funds, but it has to be provided for by the club in some way. If not carried out, the surface will consolidate and the benefit of the improvements will be lost in a short period of time.
Similarly, regular pitch renovation work at the end of each season, including verti draining, sand spreading and overseeding will ensure that the drainage infrastructure put in at considerable cost will continue to provide the benefits. The extent of works required of course depends on the degree of damage to the surface, which in turn will be dependent on weather conditions through the season.
Clubs looking to invest in an enhanced drainage scheme as a way to accommodate more players must plan not only for ensuring that the three year post construction period is funded, but also that there is a sufficient ongoing income stream to cover annual pitch renovation work.
This is a recent addition to the Bourne Sport fleet of machinery - a Dakota 310 Turf Tender. It is a compact machine for spreading various material - here you can see it used for top-dressing a park lawn in Camden. It can also be used, for example, for spreading rubber granules on artificial football pitches - an important part of keeping the synthetic grass in top shape.
This is a relatively new development - earlier machines of this kind are much bigger and have to be tractor-towed. This, pedestrian-guided machine is ideal for getting into areas with narrow access gates. It has an 11 hp Honda engine and the spreading width can be adjusted up to 6 metres.
There is a video of a Dakota 310 in motion here.