What’s in a name? ‘Gritter’ takes on potholes in TV battle


Competitions to name boats, gritters and other vehicles can raise a collective groan but Multihog is riding a wave of social media success and an appearance on primetime TV to look at the all-important issue of how best to fix potholes. 

Last year Oldham Council sought names, not to mention publicity, for its new gritter before announcing that it would be called Nicole Saltslinger a reference to the former Pussycat Dolls singer and X Factor judge.

Two weeks ago when Doncaster Council asked for name suggestions for two of its ‘new’ gritting vehicles the naysayers said nay more. Aware of what could possibly go wrong, it added: ‘Keep em clean and be original – we’d prefer not to spend the next few days trawling through responses of Gritty McGritface and Gary Gritter.’

It was, by all accounts, a massive social media success with 40,000 people voting in the #DoncasterGrittingWorldCup final (no, really).

Last week Doncaster (aka Donny) announced that the machines would be named Gritsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Anti-Slip Machiney and David Plowie, causing the Daily Mail to ask: ‘Did Boaty McBoatface teach them nothing?’

Gritsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Anti-Slip Machiney is a Multihog – a multi purpose vehicle as its name suggests – which its makers say can be transformed into anything from a lean pothole mending machine to a grass cutter. In fact it has permanently repaired more than 10,000 square metres of potholes in and around Doncaster within the last six months.

Doncaster’s highways operations manager Gary Willmot (no, not that Gary Wilmot) explains: ‘We trialled several different machines that offer a range of repair methods before settling on the Multihog. For us, it’s about repairing it right at the first time of asking to reduce disruption and long-term costs associated with repeat repairs. The versatility of the machine makes us even more adaptable.’

Now Gritsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Anti-Slip Machiney, fitted with a planer attachment, is to feature together with high speed pothole filler Velocity and a thermal repair solution in a piece on BBC’s The One Show.

The three compete in #potholewars under the eyes of a panel led by Keith Jones, director of the highly respected Institution of Civil Engineers, to find out the best way to tackle potholes. We won’t tell you who won, although (spoiler alert) this story in a local paper seems to give it away.




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