On september 29th the Intertechno Lambada and Screaming Bobcat Teams have an "open workshop day" at IJsselcentraleweg 1 in Zwolle /NL. Between 14.00 and 18.00h everybody is welcome to stop by and have a look behind the scenes of their operations. Further info on the Lambada website.
It's Euro Cup Finals in Luxembourg this weekend! The beautiful arena in Bettborn will host Europe's strongest tractors for the final big event of this season. The points race in the Pro Stock and the heavy modifieds is by far not over yet and it's yet unknown who will win the toughest points series in Europe. In Pro Stocks, two Valtras, one John Deere and one IHC can still win the points at this final event and in the modifieds, Green Fighter and Intertechno Lambada still have to battle it out. The Super Stock decision is not completely final yet, but it takes David Jones quite some luck (or bad luck for Willem Veldhuizen) to win the points. Further info about the event can be found at www.ltpf.lu . They are usually also very quick with updating the results on the website. I have to announce a stock pull in Hildesheim, so I won't be there this weekend. I hope Stephan and Christian are going to take some nice shots. Current Euro Cup Points
Martin Larsen and Flemming Svendsen-Tune of the Fox Team are going to host a TV Program, that seems to be some kind of danish "monster garage". My danish is pretty poor so I don't get it all, but seems like people can take part in a poll, deciding what the two have to build... The link to the site is here.
Conclusion about the french season: A good season with 6 events which saw the victory of L'aspirateur in 3T5 and 4T5 in it's first season of competition. Flash Power made the show during all season with the most beautiful pull this year. In 3T5, there was a lot of competition with 10 tractors, the Transmash "Mister Mash" had lot of problems in its second season (clutch, injection). Vil Coyote in it's first season had problems with a bad ignition. Packman was, as always, the best diesel in France. A new Pro-Stock IH was born and he made two events. It was a good job for the team from the south of France who are now in search for new tires and a better turbo. for the 2008 season. In TWD, Dominator won this year, it was the most strongest. A new TWD arrived from a young team.
The first information for 2008. Two more events and a new John Deere Pro Stock.
(click on pictures for bigger view) The main event in Europe are the "European Championships" at the end of the season. The top 80 (this year equally to 22%) of all the national competitors of the seven most popular classes plus the qualifiers of the Euro Cup are invited to this prestigious event. It's location moves to a different member country of the ETPC each year and fans come travelling from all over Europe to support their national heroes at these finals. This year it was the Danish Tractor Pullers (DTP) to host the pull and of course they used the Herning Pulling Arena, which more or less is THE place for high level pulling in Scandinavia. That the European Championships mean more than the usual Euro Cup event could be told by the number of fans rolling in on Friday night and Saturday morning. There was campers, trailers and tents everywhere and the size of the camping grounds used for the Euro Cup event had to be more than tripled. 11.000 spectators poured through the gates. Considering how meagerly Denmark and the surrounding areas are populated, it was A LOT of people and made the promoters smile big time. For luck the artificial hills next to the track provided enough space for them all and besides some of the Scandinavians getting totally drunk because of the (for them) cheap beer (the Norwegians pay 80 US$ for a crate of beer at home) the event went through very peacefully and was one big party. To sum it up: The European fans drank 2200 gallons of beer from the commission stands only... Before the event could be started the sled got under a very careful tech inspection by the 2008 rules, because of the accident in England two weeks ago. All European sleds must have an automatic shut down system from now on: If the box doesn't move, the sled has to automatically apply the box brakes, activate the push down and wheel brakes and pull the kill switch. The two German sleds passed this inspection and we were ready for a safe competition. But before the show started, everything went quiet and the video screen showed a special about Jan van Alphen, who lost his life due to a malfunctioning sled smashing the weight box upon him at the british finals two weeks ago. A minute of silence was held and the puller's parade was rather quiet when leaving the track. But the show had to go on and the sled was put upon the track, weighted for the 3.5t / 7700 lbs Super Stock competition. The class is still struggling in numbers because of the Alky - Diesel war. On top of that the Clarke Pulling Team didn't show up to the pull. Peter Clarke is president of the British pullers and had other sorrows than competing after the accident. So Red Alert and Red Fever, two of Europe's strongest Super Stocks were missing. But there of course was another strong british Super Stock with a Brent Long engine: Just Smokey of David Jones. It was up to him to fight the dutch John DeeresBernerBits'n Pieces and HoovertrackBits'n Pieces for first place. Others with chances for a spot on the podium were the dutch IHAerdvruter and the Cummins powered New Holland Zapo. After the qualifying runs (everybody gets two chances to reach the Full Pull) there was six out the gate and within all those alkies, one diesel! Nils Damgaard on his Blue Power Ford doesn't stop to mix up the alky parade. In the Pull Off Willem Veldhuizen with the HoovertrackBits'n Pieces laid down the distance to beat and dragged the sled to 102.84m. That was quite a long ways to the chequered flag for the rest of the competition! Gert-Jan Pauly on the Aerdvruter stayed 30 ft behind and came to a hold at 93,40m. Then the Englishman Dave Jones with the Just Smokey: The 610 cui Long engine was doing all it could, but at 95.89m it was over. That was still 20 ft behind the dutch John Deere! That Veldhuizen Special Products is having an excellent set up together became crystal clear, when Willem Veldhuizens team mate Edwin Derksen drove the BernerBits'n Pieces to 99.89m and into runner up spot. Then Benni Harmelink on the Zapo got a little too close to the left hand boundary line and had to back out of throttle, which was the chance for Niels Damgaard on the diesel: He ended up 5th overall. Not bad for a diesel at all! So the first class was in the books and the next one ready to go. The "950kg unlimited modified" as it is now called in Europe. To those who don't have a clue what this could be: Unlimited mini rods at 2090 lbs! The track had by now gotten a little on the dry site and it took lots of wheel speed to make the qualification for the Pull Off. The danish Interceptor Team tried three times to make the Full Pull: Dropped the distance of the test pull and then failed in both official attempts! Except him and his two fellow Danish man everybody made a Full Pull in the end and we had 8 in the Pull Off. The crowd was already betting their money on their favourite puller. The two with the best chances on the win probably were the Lambada VI with a Knox Hemi and the Mission Impossible - a "cute" little Allison powered machine. The track proved to be even more difficult now and if you got out of the center line, you were lost in the dust. The worst it probably hit Emil Roth from Sweden . He and his big KB Hemi ended up in a cloud of dust and could scrap his tires afterwards. The German KB Hemi machine, Mr. Rabbit was on a good run, but something let go in the engine and in the end two Chevy powered machines passed him: Beverol Exception and The Dealer. The Dealer even managed third place overall! But the top two were playing their game 40ft further down the track: Rene Geerts with the Mission Impossible Allison this time stayed behind the Lambada. Last year he had put it on them all. But the Allison beast is not easy to handle in this class. After the little unlimiteds it was TWD time. This class is still not really picking up, even though the swedish pullers brought three machines to the finals this time to compete against the top four of the dutch competition and one English man. The English guy, Kenny Smith on the Legend & Hero stopped his attempt with the engine being spread all over the track. The Swedish guys showed some ok runs, but in the end it was the dutch guys out the gate only. The one with probably the best engine in the class is Johnny Kraai from Putten . He was on a monster run, but then pulled over to the left and ended up out of bounds. So old time TWD puller Arie Luyendijk set the best distance with the Sledge Hammer, followed by the Screaming Bobcat and the Intertechno Predator. Remarkable here is the fact, that the owner and driver of the Screaming Bobcat, BertusBroeks is the owner of Intertechno (dutch Bobcat and Atlas Import) and thus also sponsor of the Intertechno Predator (as well as the Lambada and the Next Sensation team). But he already started rumors of campaigning a modified next season. He just loves the sport and is Hemi crazy... After all these single engine classes it was time for the multi engine modifieds at 3,5t (7700 lbs). The Full Pull was not that much of a task for the better teams and 10 made it out the gate. However the track was like concrete by now and a lot of tractors had real bad bouncing issues. The first distance was laid down by "l'aspirateur" (the vacuum cleaner in english) a dutch / belgian / french triple turbine cooperation, running the french competition. The tractor ran pretty well and set the first distance to 86.09m. That was enough to stay ahead of the two twin Allison machines of the Green Monster Team that both bounced like kangaroos but by far not enough to stay even close to the Lambada Modified. The three KBs made it to 104.05m. That was a lead by 60ft for now!!! It even was way too much for the multiple champ Brian Armistread on the Desperate Dan. 88.86m was al he could squeeze out of his four Chevy engines. The triple turbine Baby Duck, the 4 Chevy's of Black Power (which ended up in nice fire ball, melting a head gasket and some minor areas of the head) or Cougar couldn't manage anything worth a trophy neither. But there was one young team from the Netherlands, that had put together a hell of a triple Hemi mod over the years. With all the goodies on board they had laid down some very impressive wins during the 07 season already. But in Denmark it all went the worst: The throttle cable of the second engine came loose and having the fuel system of the two front motors hooked together, the front engine got way lean and spit the blower off. So in the end is was the Whispering Giant turbine machine with Baas Liefting behind the wheel finishing in third position. The first day of pulling was over and by now it had gotten quite cold and stormy and on the camping grounds "catch your flying tent and try to fasten it to the ground securely" was the main game to play. Anyhow the next morning awaited us with bright sunshine and just a light breeze. The track had been worked on heavily over the night and we could go on pulling. 2.5t (5500 lbs) modifieds were up first.
After having run the class in the Euro Cup competition for the first time this year and Black Power not coming out on top and even getting his butt whipped at some german pulls by the end of the season, Poul Ager Jensen invested in some new blowers. The European Championships taking place 20 mls away from his workshop should not be the place for him to be decrowned as kind of the light mods for over a decade. But there was some other teams who were going to try very hard: The dutch Green Spirit single Griffon of the deRegt family, the swedish Wild Thing, which actually is the old Empty Pockets with two KB Hemis mounted side by side, the britsh Black Gold aux blown single Allison, the German twin turbine Isotov 2 and the German Green Monster single Allison and the RoudeLeiw from Luxembourg with a 3350 cuiCurtiss Wright radial bolted into the lightweight chassis. After the dust had seddled on the 8 way pull off, everything looked the same as in the past though. Poul Ager made them all look like total idiots, with a distance of 101.22m in the pull off. Runner up finish went to Stefan Kronvall with the Wild Thing and 91.71m and the Green Spirit with 90.13m. Black Gold bounced half way down the track, Isotov 2 just never really hooked up, RoudeLeiw broke it's drive line and the Green Monster's Allison spread it's supercharger wheel into the intake manifold.
Pro Stock time!!! During the season BarendHuybrechts with the IH Rocky and the danish John Deere team had shown they could beat the Valtra tractors of the Herlevi Family from Finland, but the Herlevis brought a new weapon to Denmark. A Pro Stock machine called "Countdown" they have built to sell (150.000 US $ and it's yours) and qualified through the finish championships. So the team brought a total of four tractors to the European Championships! If that wasn't enough to win the title, then what would be? The Countdown laid down the first pass and made a Full Pull. Everybody thought the sled was set ok, but it proofed to be on the heavy side for the European standard. Out of 20 only four made a Full Pull. And those four were Countdown, Rocky, Sigma Power (another Valtra) and the John Deere. You wouldn't believe the rpms these guys are getting out of their 510 cui engines... rumours speak about 7000 + to make the big 5 inch chargers spin. Anyhow Matti Herlevi was first hook and barely kept the charger spinning: At 95.19m it was over for the young guy and BarendHuybrechts had his chance to win the title. The 1066 screamed like an animal in pain but 92.19m was all he could manage. Would the new Countdown be stronger than the other Valtra tractors? The godfather of Pro Stock Pulling in Europe, PekkaHerlevi then showed that also his Sigma Power was very capable of winning this event and parked it right between the distances of Rocky and Countdown. That made it two Valtra on top and an IH on third. How about John Deere? The big danish Deere got it's nose a little too high and had to seddle for fourth place. Looks like the Valtra domination in Pro Stock pulling is not over yet! Whether the modifieds would be dominated by V8 Hemi power or not was the question in the heavy mod class. Nine of the strongest pulling tractors in Europe made the Full Pull in this class. Unfortunately two of them couldn't come back to make a second run: The swedish 5 KB Olds machine Cougar and the dutch twin Griffon Green Spirit. They had busted their planetary big time and there was no way fixing it between two runs. My team captain Tobias Hoerstkamp had first hook in the Pull Off and with the front end loaded on the triple Allison "Green Fighter" had an excellent start but got to the left and had to back out of it a little at 95m - but managed to get back into the track and hit the throttle again to reach a final distance of 102.70m . The next one up, Brian Armistread was in total disbelieve, when his five Chevy's on Desperate Dan already got stopped at 84.70m. The four turbines on Baby Duck didn't help for a much better distance, but 91.70m was runner up position so far - and was to remain runner up until the end of the class. The 5 KB Olds on the danish Fox were good enough for 91.40m - and then it time for the Lambada to enter the track. Willem Dingerink opened the four big butterflies on the 4 Knox Hemis and was off for a good start. But at around 80m the wedge chassis lost control of all that power, one wheel over spun and the tractor headed to the left badly. Willem had to shut it down and stood at 88.37m. Since the turbine tractors Whispering Giant and Iwan passed that distance it was only the 6th position for the Dutchman. What a Pull Off! Another European Championships had come to an end, the dutch remain the strongest tractor pulling nation in Europe and besides the German finals and the Euro Cup finals, the European Season is over! all pictures from the event