by Mark Cowin
Horsham Motorsports Club’s first foray into the world of competitive tractor pulling drew one of the largest crowds seen at the Kalkee facility in recent seasons.
With a week of clear weather allowing the volunteer crew to build and prepare the specially built racing surface to the specifications of the Down Under Tractor Pulling Association the scene was set for a fantastic day of pulling. Saturday morning dawned cool and a brief but significant rain shower fell on the speedway grounds sending the track crew out again to remove any standing water from the track surface and to build a third track to ensure great conditions for pulling.
First out on the track were the vintage tractors some of which were unhooked from farm equipment that morning and given a scrub up and trucked directly to the track while some of the restored tractors were given a polish and set loose. Some of these old machines were completely stock while other had been tinkered with and turbochargers and fuel systems which were tuned for better performance. There were two classes, under 100hp and over 100hp and all the tractors ran three heats and it was great to see these competitors actually getting their front wheels off the ground as the sled pulled them to a stop. One of the highlights was the appearance of Graham Pickering in his Pietsch 4WD 871 powered beast which, with the concrete wall being the thing stopping him, would have probably kept going until he hit the Murray River. As this is a non competition event no measurements were taken but full pull of 100mtrs and more were made by many of the tractors.
Modified events got underway and were run on two of the three tracks which kept the officials and track workers very busy as the track needed to be smudged or smoothed out after each run. Pro Stock Open tractors had two competitors in the event, the Cornfoot brothers Norm and Brendan both finding the going hard with mid to three quarter track runs and Brendan not making a third run giving Norm the win on the day and closing in on the season lead.
Pro Stock tractors saw the local crew of Hicks and Wilkens with Red Devil driven by Chris Hicks against Old Smoke driven by Ainsley Magee both make three pulls with Red Devil taking a commanding win which included a massive pull of 112.581 on its third pull and keeping it well ahead in the season standings.
The big bangers of the Open class saw the three engined Plum Crazy pitted against the mighty four engined Coyote. Unfortunately Coyote suffered a gear box issue and was not able to compete in the first two pulls which saw Plum Crazy and Doug Williams pull a 113mtrs in the second of their three pulls. After battling all night to get back on track Coyote hooked and the sound of 8000+ HP rang around the track, unfortunately it all came to an end at half track when a fuel fire engulfed the left rear engine and driver Peter Mann shut down and the fire was extinguished and Peter, unharmed, but dissapointed to not be able to put on the show for the fans, Coyote still has a commanding lead on the season and promised to be back next time.
Super Modifieds put on some of the closest racing on the night with David Cornfoot on $crap Value and Matt Reeves on Disorderly Conduct swapping wins. With $crap Value taking the first pull by less than a metre and both full pulls Disorderly conduct took the second and $crap Value the third and taking the win by 7 mtrs and keeping the season lead by a small margin.
Limited Modified saw almost half their pulls over the 100mtr full pull mark with Shillberite taking the win with two full pulls over Full Throttle with one full pull and Flat Stick with a full pull and a 99.263 close in third Full Throttle retaining top spot on the season followed by Shillberite and Flat Stick.
In Two Wheel Drive trucks Sudden Impact and Chilli Town Thunder battling all night with the full pull of the Land Cruiser, Sudden Impact, helping take the win and retain top spot in the standings.
Over on the Mini Track Mini Modified, Super Mini Mods, Outlaw and Open minis showed thats it not all about size. These tractors may be small in stature but with fuel injected, super charged and normally aspirated V8 engines they are a sight to be seen and the action was intense.
With three runs in the mid 90’s Little Willey took the win over 2 Tuff, Set The Sled and within 8 mtrs of each other and the unfortunate Mid Life Crisis who had the misfortune to lose the front right wheel mid run on the third pull. Little Willey retains the season lead handily over Set The Sled.
Super Mimi Modified were represented by Success 11 driven by John Cameron with three strong pulls and retaining the season lead.
Outlaw Minis saw four competitors who had a tough go at it with only Stampede and Blown Income making three pulls the best being Blown Income with a 99.727 in his third run. After missing his first pull, Tommy’s Toy finished big with a 103.414 on his third pull and Russell Palmer in Stone Cold had a blower backfire that locked his engine causing it to make, in his words, some not nice sounds. Stampede holds a slim lead over Blown Income in the standings.
Rough Justice had three pulls in the Open Mini Class including a mighty 113.767 to keep the top spot this season in this class.
The large crowd showed their appreciation by staying throughout the evening and many made their way to the pits and onto the infield of the speedway which was a feature of the venue to allow fans to get up close to the tractors and talk to the drivers. There was a positive response from the participants and the fans and even the early morning rain and the wind, that cleared out for a beautiful evening, did not dampen the enthusiasm of all involved. The Down Under Tractor Pull Association has stated they will be back next year.