I thought I would try something different and the final round of the Britsih Tractor Pulling Associatio's Championship seemed the fit the bill, So on Saturday I headed up to Great Eccleston, just outside Blackpool to see just what it was all about. The gates opened at 4pm so that should have given me some idea., it went till past midnight. The tractor has to pull a specialised weighted trailer over a course of 100 metres, the trailer grows heavier as the distance increases. There wer several classes in the competition, including the European Super Stocks Championship.As the evening wore on spectators continued to arrive until there were what appeared to be thousands standing around the track, eating hot dogs and burgers and drinking the beer tent dry. Photography was difficult at the best of times.
The most spectactular class of tractor is the 3.5 Tonne Modified vehicle. It appears that anything goes. The sport is widespread in Europe and there were quite a few entrants from across the place, the majority coming from Holland. It would seem it is a very popular sport there.
The one seen here, Popeye, is a modifed tractor powered by two 12 cyclinder Allison Aircraft engines running on Methanol capable of 4600 Horsepower, sending up great flares from the exhausts as it comes to a stop.
Working out of Holland the Popeye Tractor Pulling team is one of the most successful around Europe. Two years ago they were at Great Ecclestone when an accident ocurred and the driver Jan van Alphen was killed, it can be a dangerous sport.
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