How JCB Machines Helped Construct the 2024 Monster Jam World Finals

Monster Jam World FInals 2024 JCB machines help build the field

Even though legendary monster truck Grave Digger added another world championship to its collection, you could argue that the real MVP of the Monster Jam World Finals in Los Angeles in May were diggers of a different sort. For the uninitiated, Monster Jam is the world’s premier monster truck competition series. Every year, the series tours the country hosting massive events that showcase world-class drivers racing and pulling off insane jumps, flips and other tricks to grab some hardware and hopefully be one of the 24 finalists at the annual World Finals.

Maybe the best way to think about these events from a logistics perspective is that they’re essentially motocross events scaled up in a very big way. And as you know, motocross events require a lot of dirt work to sculpt the twists, turns, and jumps that make up a course. So just imagine the amount of dirt you’d need to move to lift a 12,000-pound truck into the air. In other words, you can’t have Monster Jam without construction equipment. Last year, Monster Jam announced a partnership with JCB that not only made JCB equipment the official heavy equipment partner of Monster Jam but also added an incredible new truck to the field: JCB Digatron.

We had the awesome opportunity recently to head to Los Angeles and see the massive amount of dirt work that goes into making Monster Jam events possible at the 2024 World Finals at SoFi Stadium. More than 60,000 people piled into SoFi Stadium to see which trucks would reign supreme.

The Dirt Squad

Monster Jam World FInals 2024 JCB machines help build the dirt squad

So let’s start with a look at the setup and then take a look at JCB’s awesome, backhoe-inspired Digatron truck. As I said at the top, putting on a Monster Jam event is a massive undertaking. In fact, preparations for the Monster Jam World Finals I visited in LA started a full year in advance. Building the World Finals track required 5,000 cubic yards of dirt brought in two years prior and stored in a massive holding area within the bowels of SoFi Stadium.

And just in case you’re wondering where they could hold that much dirt in a stadium, well SoFi is not your typical field house. It is an absolutely massive structure that holds not only the stadium that hosts the NFL’s LA Rams and Chargers, but also a theater and concert venue, a park and more.

As essential to the events as the drivers themselves, the Monster Jam JCB Dirt Squad travels everywhere on tour with the racing series. And there are multiple JCB Dirt Squads working across the continent at any given time due to the fact that as many as six Monster Jam Events can be happening at once. Plus, they have to do their work very quickly. For the Monster Jam World Finals in LA, the JCB Dirt Quad starting installing the course on the Monday before the Saturday event.

Building a Monster Track

Monster Jam World FInals 2024 JCB machines help build the dirt squad

They start the process by covering SoFi’s turf playing surface with a protective covering made of 20×10-foot plastic sheets. Then the crews place down a felt covering before bringing on those 5,000 cubic yards of dirt. Though every Monster Jam event has a variety of different events and competitions, the main event is always comprised of two: racing and freestyle.

The racing event is exactly what it sounds like. Two trucks face off head to head to see who can make it through the s-shaped course fastest. Typically this means a chase-style or Chicago-style track where the trucks line up on opposite sides of the arena and run through the course simultaneously but from opposite ends. But for this year’s World Finals, Monster Jam implemented an all-new design, not new in concept but in sheer scale. The design is more like motocross in the sense that the trucks are able to lineup side by side and progress through the course via an inside and outside lane.

Designing this track was painstaking work as the designers had to make sure that two of these massive trucks could safely race side-by-side while maximizing the thrill of hairpin corners and huge jumps. The JCB Dirt Crew was able to shape this new track design in just two days, leaving ample time for the drivers to practice and get a feel for the course before the event. When it comes to the specific dirt work required to shape these courses, dozers are used in the early stages to ensure proper grading. Then JCB wheel loaders, compact track loaders, and the one-of-a-kind JCB Teleskid perform precise shaping of the course.

Meanwhile, JCB telehandlers are used to move objects such as car bodies and other materials onto the surface for use as obstacles and building jumps. Monster Jam officials noted that the JCB Teleskid has become a favorite tool of the Dirt Squad thanks to the added capability its telescoping boom brings in shaping the finer details of the course. For instance, if an operator was shaping a jump ramp, he or she has to drive up the ramp to shape the top, whereas with a Teleskid, the operator can save time and avoid disturbing the rest of the surface by telescoping the boom to the point of the obstacle they need to adjust from where the machine sits.

Intermission Rebuild

Monster Jam World FInals 2024 JCB backhoe dancers

But what about the Freestyle event? This event gives each contestant a full two minutes to pull off as many crazy jump, flips, and other tricks as they can. What this means from a track standpoint, however, is that when the racing event finishes up, the track has to be converted into a freestyle track.

That’s right, during intermission, the equipment operators on the Monster Jam JCB Dirt Squad swarm the arena floor to quickly move tons of dirt around to reshape an entire course. During the World Finals event, once the racing ended, the JCB Dirt Squad began its work, converting the racing course’s banks into smaller jumps, towing in a school bus and even building a mini jump out of a group of small cars using a dirt berm. The Dirt Squad was able to carry out this task in about 45 minutes and it was nothing short of impressive to watch.

Recovery via 457

Monster Jam World FInals 2024 JCB machines help build the field

But JCB equipment also plays one more vital role to Monster Jam events: saving these massive trucks once they’ve turtled over onto their backs following the attempt of stunt. If you’ve never been to a Monster Jam event, these drivers push their trucks to the absolute limit. That means there are a lot of crashes and a lot of trucks end up with their wheels up multiple times in a single day. Something has to right these trucks back onto their wheels — and sometimes they’re even required to tow them back into the garage. That something is a JCB 457 wheel loader.

After the dozens of truck crashes during the World Finals, two JCB 457 loaders came to the rescue, pulling the trucks back onto their wheels via a tow line, ensuring within just a few minutes that a crashed truck was safely off the arena floor so the next competitor could do their thing.


Monster Jam World FInals 2024 JCB Digatron flies through the air

Now, the last, but certainly not least of the JCB vehicles involved in the Monster Jam World finals was one of the newest Monster Jam trucks: the JCB Digatron. Driven by the 2023 Monster Jam World Finals Racing Champion Tristan England , the Digatron is styled like a backhoe on steroids in honor of the JCB machine that started it all. During the World Finals, England almost brought home Digatron’s first World Championship in its first appearance at the event, falling just short in the final race of the evening to finish second place overall.

Learn more about JCB and the Monster Jam World Finals in our latest Machine Heads video, which you can watch right over here.

Wayne Greyson is the Machine Heads editor for Compact Equipment.

Compact track loaders are the most popular category of compact equipment in America. Learn why with loads of track loader features right here.


See Discussion, Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.