Friday, August 31, 2007
When I got the message on sunday evening, I was done for the rest of the day (I actually got two and was still hoping for the best until I got the second one). My father, one of the first tech officials in Europe who had been fighting for safety from day one, also stayed up with me that night and couldn't believe it either.
For those who have not followed the European Circuit from day one, it's hard to understand what a loss this is to the Tractor Pulling community (not to even speak about the family).
But I think you need to know - and that's why I have decided to write a little, even though I have tears in my eyes.
Jan van Alphen probably was the most legendary, still competing puller we had in Europe.
His tractor had the registration number 3 in the dutch competition, means Popeye was the third dutch modified tractor and Jan was one of the pioneers of tractor pulling in Europe.
He started out with a DAF semi engine, then switched to twin Detroit diesels and in 82 started with Allison power through his good connection with the canadian V12 gang around Frank Verheyn and Art Helm.
When my dad took me to the pulls as a little boy, there was one guy my father and his team mates knew they couldn't beat: Jan van Alphen.
When Popeye entered the track, we knew we would be second that day.
I very well remember the first german "Trecker Treck" magazine with this photograph of Popeye's Allison sticking out of a cloud of dust with just two words below the picture "European Champion 83"
The first time I really remember seeing him was in Sottrum 1984 where he made us look like total idiots putting something like 30 m on our Green Monster in the Pull Off.
Then the European Championships 1984 at Hamm: Nobody could even come close to Popeye.
A year later on the Flevohof, where Jan was the first one to run an Allison on methanol, laid down one hell of a run but had technical difficulties afterwards and another legend, Peter Daniels, could capture the heavyweight modified title.
Then came the days of Eugen Kiemele, who, despite all his "Yankee Arias power" didn't stand a chance against Jan's twin Allison machine at the European Championships at the Flevohof in 89.
Then all those countless battles he fought with the 3rd Popeye with Brian Armistread, Eugen Kiemele, Cees Zysling, Ko de Regt, Dave Prince and my team in the 90s...
Never will I forget the bus loads of Popeye fans in the Ahoy stadium, making it look like the local football team just won the dutch championships in there.
Coming the new century, pretty much all of his old competitors had given up, retired, downscaled or passed it on to their sons, but not Jan.
He was the "godfather" and still in the seat in the top leagues every weekend after all those years, fighting with the second generation of pullers.
Of course he had his son Johnny driving the tractor in the 3,5t class and helping in the workshop, but for the heavyweight battle, Jan still climbed on board the triple Allison machine and this man was unbelieveable tough to beat anytime.
He was not a great experimenter. I remember long discussions about fuel systems and Allison tuning with him and rarely did we agree on something.
He always stayed conservative and in the end wrecked a lot less Allisons than most other teams (especially mine) in all those years, always having "this" smile on his face after having laid down a good run, knowing he could do it over and over again while others were dragging their engine internals off the track...
Never a rich man, he had the will to be succesful and worked hard for it, being a very proffessional ambassador for the sport (was there a country he did not pull in??), helping to increase the level of the sport on and off the track and was rewarded with one of the best (and well deserved) sponsor deals in tractor pulling for more than a decade, showing us all, that hard work can get you there.
But even when times got tough and Q8 stopped the sponsorship, Jan kept going strong and didn't show any signs of backing off, making me wonder where he took all that energy from to continue, knowing his wife Thea wasn't well at all for a long time.
A good example of his encouragement was, how after the team had this accident with the tractor falling off the truck earlier this year, the first thing they did was to fix the tractor and get back on the pulling tracks and kept to compete all over Europe, even though there was very little chance they would catch up in the points. But two top 5 finishes at the last Euro Cup events showed you couldn't count him out.
He maybe didn't have the strongest tractor anymore, but it was reliable and if there was a way to make a Full Pull with finding a better trail in the track, Jan found it!
He still had so many plans, having just bought a new truck and working hard to get his beloved Allisons equipped with turbochargers to show them all what they could do - and now he just isn't able to fullfill his plans anymore.
Jan, we have always been competitors on the track down to the last rpms of our beloved Allisons, but we always could shake hands afterwards and look each other into the eyes. When I was at the dutch pulls on my own or we had struggled at the international pulls, I always kept my fingers crossed for you to give them V8 folks hell.
I will sorely miss a legend and hero from my childhood days, an Allison puller and an extremely fair and tough competitor.
You'll be alive in our memories and may your spirit be around for a long time to come at the tractor pulls. Today's pulling needs more of it...
Rest in peace
Thursday, August 30, 2007
I guess there is little doubt as to why it's so.
Now let me put this very clearly:
I don't want to profit from the tragic of others.
If you are looking for news or anything "spectacular" in regards of what happened last weekend, this is the absolutely wrong spot for you to check out.
Some of my "fellow" webmasters currently "enjoy" having lots of visitors discussing the "if's" and "buts" and already start to call each other names and throw mud around without even having been there.
I have taken the links to those websites off this site for now, in case you wonder where they are. If you are looking for that kind of action, this is the wrong spot - please go elsewhere.
This issue needs to be discussed (and you can be sure it will be discussed and throughoutly investigated) - but not here and for sure not now.
I would like to apploud the users of the dutch forum though. There was not ONE (deleted) post that got off track. Same for my PW Forum.
So I have opened the PW Forum again as it seems people here can behave and show respect - but be sure I'll have an eye on you.
The dutch forum will remain moderated for a little more (you can post but I need to validate the post - which I do like every two hours).
I am waiting on what TP.nl does and follow their actions.
Thank you for your understanding
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
But anyhow Michiel asked me yesterday to put up a link to his pictures from Bakel and some others have taken pictures, too.
Well.. here they are:
Eric took pics at Fort Recovery:
Monday, August 27, 2007
On Sunday, August 26 a tragic accident during the tractor pull in Great Eccleston, Great Britain has lost the life of Jan van Alphen driver of the modified tractor Popeye.
Jan, a well-known tractor puller in Europe as well as in the United States, has been involved in tractor pulling since the introduction of the sport in The Netherlands in 1979. Jan has an impressive list of National and European Championship titles.
We will remember Jan as a pioneer in the sport and as a man who was always willing to share his knowledge with others in the sport.
Our thoughts are with his wife Thea, John, Tonny and Sandra, and other family and friends. We wish them a lot of strength to cope with this terrible loss.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Totally unexpected, the Dragon Fire tractor of Paul Heistermann laid down a full pull in its third run down the track ever!
The Team around Paul Heistermann was totally happy and the crowd simply went nuts. They voted it their favourite tractor for the day and there huge crowds around it all day and evening, until Heistermann put the machine back into the trailer.
Congratulations for a job very well done from my end. It takes a lot to get a tractor with such an odd concept working within just 2 events!
After teams could qualify for the finals all over northern germany, last saturday was the big day for them at the Tractor Pull in Schmachtenhagen, a little village next to Berlin. Along with the Garden Pullers and the unlimited mods they drew a crowd of app. 2500 people, who were all in an excellent mood and really cheered for each competitor.
The 3.5t Sportklasse saw a very close competition between the Team Willingen and the Team Beesten, both running Deutz tractors. In the end Heiko Behle on Daisy won ahead of his team mate Dirk Scholz on "Lady" and Klaus Röttger on his 90 06.
In the 4.5t Sportklasse there was no way past the "Blue Wum" of Team ABC Cloppenburg. The Ford actually ran out of track in the end. Actually no surprise, as it's the only tractor in the competition with more than 7 litres engine capacety.
Heiko Behle again had a good run and finished in runner up position while Rainer Röttger of Team Beesten managed to get past the Lady Deutz this time and ended up in third place. After all it was a good first year for the german hot farm pullers.
We had 14 tractors take part in the championships and for next year we expect even more competitors. A couple of tractors are getting prepared at present and some of them will make their first showing at Lengerich next weekend. Others are supposed to come out at Weseke and Füchtorf next year. Rumors speak about one big John Deere and a V8 MF both for the 4,5t and a Renault, two or three more Deutz, another John Deere and maybe even an Oliver for the 3,5t class.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Detailed and printable results will be available shortly after each session.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Thursday night, still on vacation and happy about some Ebay deals having gone well for me...
If things go right my cam should arrive tomorrow and in time for Lengerich and for the EC I will have my lens package together, too.
At this point I have to say a HUGE thank you to Intertechno and the Lambada team, who more or less shocked me with a financial support for a new cam, that I never had expected and will keep things going on here for quite a while! THANK YOU!
As soon as I am back on my home computer, banners will go up, too. (Same for you Mr. Clarke!).
As you have noticed, there wasn't many news about the tractor pulling world on here lately, but I had my nose stuck into Ebay and Foto forums to find the right stuff.
Yesterday evening I went to visit my buddies in Beesten and see what they are up to: Cutting tires for the hot farm finals this upcoming weekend... also not really spectacular.
Anyhow - this weekend we'll hit the road to Berlin together with Team TAZ and I should be back in action with the new cam there.
If we all feel well enough on sunday morning to take the 6 hour drive back home, we might also pay a visit to another brush pull in this area, held next to a little fair. Was told the beer there is good on sunday evening and most of us have monday off :)
The week after, I'll be on tour a lot, too: Lengerich, Dronten, Beesten, Lengerich... helping other Pullers and see what I can help at Lengerich track construction...
Worthington, OH -- The National Tractor Pullers Association (NTPA) pulls into the Wood County Fairgrounds for the 41st annual National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green, OH. The National Tractor Pulling Championships is the largest outdoor truck and tractor pulling event in the country and showcases the top competitors in the sport of truck and tractor pulling. Record crowds are anticipated for this spectacular display of motorsports power. Competitors have their sites set on a coveted Bowling Green Championship Ring and bragging rights after claiming a victory at this NTPA Super National Event. The points race is close in nearly all divisions, adding to the drama and suspense at this world renowned event.
Fans arriving early have the opportunity to enjoy Thursday night’s concert by the Danger Brothers. Tickets for the concert are $10 each or free for children ages 10 and younger. The Danger Brothers take the stage at 8 p.m.
The Super National classes scheduled for Bowling Green include: Super Farm Tractors (SFT), Pro Stock Tractors (PS), Diesel Super Stock Tractors (SSTD), Super Stock Open Tractors (SSTO), Mini Modified Tractors (MINI), Modified Tractors (MOD), Unlimited Modified Tractors (UNL), Two Wheel Drive Trucks (TWD), Four Wheel Drive Trucks (FWD), Super Modified Four Wheel Drive Trucks (SMFWD), and the Super Semis (SEMI).
Friday, August 17: 1 p.m.: TWD, SSTO, SFT, FWD
7 p.m.: MOD, SMFWD, MINI, SSTD, SEMI
Saturday, August 18: 12 p.m.: MOD, FWD, SFT, SSTD
6:30 p.m.: PS, SSTO, TWD, UNL
Sunday, August 19: 12 p.m.: UNL, PS, SEMI, MINI, SMFWD
For ticket information, visit the National Tractor Pulling Championships Web site at www.pulltown.com or call (888) 385-7855. Tickets are available online or at the gate on the day of the event. Advance tickets are $20 per session or $40 per two-session day (Friday or Saturday). On the day of the event, tickets are $22 per session or $44 per two-session day (Friday or Saturday). For all sessions, children ages 10 and younger enjoy free admission. Three-day passes, reserved seating and camping are all available.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
The last bit of straw was bailed today, new clay for the hot farm track is on hand and will be worked in middle of next week and the last competitors are signing in, too.
For those of you who run "Sportklasse" or "Super Sportklasse" or Stock, we are still taking competitors (still plenty of price money left in the 5.5t Sportklasse). You can sign in via www.treckertreck.de -> "Teilnehmerinfo" and scroll down.
At present we expect over 150 stock tractors and about 30 Sportklasse tractors from Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. A total of 4500 € in price money will be paid out to the Sportklasse Tractors - so we can expect some good competiton. The party at and next to the tack at Lengerich is famous already... those who've been there know what I am talking about.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007
My cousin will celebrate her birthday saturday and made it quite clear what she'll think if I go pulling instead...(no Lochem for me this year).
On monday I'll have a meeting with the promoter of Lengerich to discuss the last couple of things and see what we can do track wise (the place is only good for duck hunting at the moment).
As you can see - PW is priorety no. 2 right now, but that will change again middle of next week, when it's getting closer to all the finals!
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Peter Porikis, a photographer from northern germany found his way to the Tractor Pull in Edewecht and then really let his cam go...
Excellent shots of ALL the action of both days on http://www.flickr.com/photos/oldigitaleye/collections/72157601244902607/
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Dragon Fire webvideo go to:
The new Alligator did it's maiden run in Alphen this weekend. The new 3.5t twin Griffon machine made it to over 70m and everything worked fine. Team happy and another big, loud twin Griffon machine added to the European modified class.
Congratulations from our end for a job very well done!
Further info (in dutch) and more pictures