Since taking delivery of a Wiedenmann Whisper Twister in October last year, Chris Lynch, Grounds Manager at John Lyon School, Harrow-on the-Hill and his team have coined their own twice daily school run.
Their site, at Sudbury Fields in North West London, has five full size football pitches, three junior size pitches, 4 training zones and three cricket squares. On any given afternoon up to 150 pupils and PE staff from the independent day school, as well as outside lettings, make full use of the playing facilities.
Every morning, with clean tractor tyres, one of the team takes their new blower over their Olympic-sized sand dressed hockey pitch, clearing debris and leaves. Then, switching to the natural turf of the football pitches and cricket outfields, they then take on the 2500m tree lined surroundings of the playing fields, to clear more debris and leaves.
"Most people assume that Autumn is the only time we suffer with excess debris, but you'd be surprised at the volumes we still need to clear over the whole year" said Chris Lynch. "We're an exposed site and on occasion, where there's abnormal amounts of wind, like the storms in mid-March with gusts to 60mph, we could easily spend nearly two days clearing up, but the whisper twister saves a significant amount of time in the process."
"Clean tyres are essential when working on the MUGA, so you don't bring anything from the fields onto the carpet to contaminate the infill." continued Chris. "The work the blower does on the hockey pitch keeps it free of debris which is the key factor in keeping the drainage of the pitch working to a high standard and making the carpet as presentable as possible."
"The work to the natural turf is also an essential part of the overall maintenance and care of the pitches. Where possible, you should always avoid leaving leaves or any other kind of debris on the surface. This will cause the soil to retain more moisture, causing extra movement of worms which prefer moving through wet soil trying to feed on the leaves leading to increased casting. By clearing a pitch, you will also help keep as much natural light going to the grass plant as possible and help the overall drainage and presentation."
"From a Health & Safety standpoint, the Whisper Twister and its capacity to swivel 180° means the machine works for us and not the other way around. Take our longest tree stretch at over 400m. Our previous blower in a fixed position meant that to operator often had to twist their body to see where they were going but with the hydraulic swivel feature of the Whisper Twister, this means the driver can operate the machine in a natural position most of the time. The blower is also excellent for working into those hard to reach areas we used to have to do by hand."
Chris and his team are however using their Whisper Twister for lots of other maintenance tasks including car parks, school lawns and helping to blow off dead grass after raking the natural pitches working perfectly alongside the Wiedenmann Super 500 to present their pitches tidily ahead of fixtures.
Area Sales Manager, Grant Buckingham, from Wiedenmann UK dealer, Ernest Doe & Sons, at Esher, who supplied the machine, said: "The Whisper Twister has 200 m³ per minute of blow. All that puff makes a significant impact to collecting and efficient work management. Chris chose the optional goose neck spout, so the wind nozzles can be set parallel to the floor. Tractors with just one double-spool valve can operate the "left to right" swivel action hydraulically and the "up and down" motion via an electric ram, thus not requiring a second hydraulic service which is not always standard. Chris and the team can also direct the outlet spout to a variety of angles depending on the conditions."