In 2017, Lower Saxony’s top forwarder and harvester drivers will once again gather at LIGNA to compete in the state crane driving championships, an event with a proud tradition and a huge following among LIGNA attendees.

This year will also mark the third time that a women’s championship, the “Women’s Crane Driving Cup,’’ is staged in parallel to the men’s event.

The contests will be held on 25 May on Hannover Exhibition Center’s open-air site, just to the east of Pavilion 33, and test the drivers in a range of disciplines. In the qualifying rounds, each driver races against the clock to stack blocks of wood into a tower using their crane. Only the best 16 drivers advance to the championship competitions.

In each championship round, two drivers go head-to-head on identical forwarders. They are required to navigate a specially designed course, loading their machines with logs along the way. It’s a test of speed and accuracy.

The winner is the one who reaches the finish line first with the lowest time penalty. Both competitions proceed in this way through various rounds, quarter finals and semifinals to the final.

The overall winners and runners-up of the men’s and women’s competitions automatically qualify for their respective national championships.

Both contests are organized by the Lower Saxony School of Forestry and the German Association of Forestry Contractors (AfL) with the support of Deutsche Messe.