by Mark Cowin
Diesel smoke, multi engined tractors and supercharged V8 engines may not be the norm at Blue Ribbon Raceway in Horsham but this will all change on Saturday Feb 9 when the Down Under Modified Tractor Pulling Association brings their show to town.
Proudly sponsored by
Emmetts Horsham this will be the first time that Tractor Pulling has
been held at the Kalkee facility and a specially prepared track has
been constructed for the event.
pulling is a competitive motor sport in which modified farm tractors,
modified tractors or trucks drag a metal sled along a prescribed
course. The sled contains a box filled with weight that is
mechanically winched forward as the sled progresses along the course,
a full weight
of 15000 kg.
Pulling this ever-increasing load eventually causes the vehicle to
lose forward momentum and torque. A rare few might indeed reach the
end of the course, known as a ‘full pull’. The distance from
start to finish is measured within millimetres and the tractor that
pulls the sled the furthest distance is declared the winner. If more
than one competitor reaches the full pull mark (100m), a pull off is
held to determine the winner.
Various classes and designs of tractors will be pulling at the event from the mini modifieds with a single V8 engine up to and including the mighty multi engined monsters with up to 4 Supercharged V8 engines running methanol to move the sled to the end of the course. Some of these tractors may look like the same vehicles you would see out in the paddocks but others are works of art pushing out over 8000 horsepower.
Headlining the program will be the newly imported Coyote owned and run by Peter Mann a veteran of the sport who has been involved since the 70’s with his father and uncle building the original Superman and Superman 11 tractors amongst others. Powered by four supercharged Rodeck engines, and room for a fifth, Peter travelled to Canada to buy the machine and bring it back for this season. Boasting 8000 plus horsepower and using 125 ltrs of methanol fuel per run this is the tractor to beat and is sure to be a crowd pleaser. This tractor is the first of its kind to run in Australia with Double Trouble in the 80’s and Sharecropper in the 90’s sporting only two V8 engines being the biggest until now.
Another tractor to watch is the Gary Johnson supercharged V8 methanol powered Stampede boasting 1800 horsepower. Gary is an ex drag racer and mechanic that gets the most out of the engines he builds and will be a top contender this weekend. Having less horsepower than Coyote may seem to be a disadvantage but the combination of horsepower and torque can be overcome by the limitation of traction and driving skill will come to the fore.
Another highlight will of course be the diesel powered tractors that may look like dads paddock tractor don’t be fooled. Wicked Whitetail owned and driven by MTPA President Brendan Cornfoot, is an 1100hp 8.3L John Deere turbo charged beast. Brendan imported the tractor from the Indiana in the US where it had won a number of titles in the hands of Jeremy Roberts. There will be sibling rivalry in the class as Brendan’s brother Norm will be competing with Wolverine Deere 11 and the competition is always fierce when the clutch is dropped and the black smoke pours from the stacks down the track.
Action will get underway at 2PM with the vintage tractors strutting their stuff and the big modified tractors will hit the track at 4PM. There will be three heat races for all classes and winners will be determined by the longest pull of the day. The action will continue under light into the evening when the light show from the flames from the exhausts and the roar of the engines will keep everyone on their feet.
This is a family event and will feature an ‘open pit’ where spectators can get up close and personal with these magnificent machines and chat to the drivers and learn more about the sport, there will also be spectator access to the infield where fans can get closer to the track and feel and hear the power of the racers as they attempt to successfully get a ‘Full Pull’.
Full catering will be available at the track as well as kids entertainment with jumping castles and a giant slide.
Photos Courtesy of MTPA