Under the blaze of the midnight sun, a golden Massey Ferguson 7600 tractor arrived at Cape North, Norwayon 30 June to complete the first half of an epic 13,000 km expedition across Europe to raise vital funds for an African school.
Just three weeks and 4500 km after leaving Val Bormida in Italy, the tractor and its drivers, MF customer Gianni Brovida and his team-mate, Leonardo Cavazzi reached Cape North, the most northerly point in mainland Europe, located 71 degrees North, inside the Arctic Circle.
They spent just a few hours at the Cape before embarking on their return trip via Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and France where they will call in at the AGCO manufacturing facility in Beauvais where the tractor was made. Sponsored by Massey Ferguson and with support from Trelleborg tyres, the total trip will see them pass through 17 countries.
“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity and enthusiasm of the Massey Ferguson dealer network and our many supporters as we travelled north from Italy,” said a jubilant Gianni Brovida. “It has been an unbroken chain of support and clearly demonstrates the fantastic camaraderie and spirit the Massey Ferguson brand inspires. We feel very emotional about reaching our northern destination and quite taken back by the popularity the expedition has given us.”
“The golden MF 7600 tractor has been totally reliable, exceptionally comfortable to drive and a real star in attracting people to our cause to raise money for the agricultural school in Chad,” he continues. “At one point we were stopped by the police but that was because they wanted to take pictures and hear our story! A group of Taiwanese tourists surrounded the tractor and sang a song to us to wish us good luck, while a ferry company has offered us a free ride on our return journey.”
A key aspect of the expedition is the ability of supporters to follow the tractor’s every move online, thanks to the latest geo-mapping satellite technology. “We’ve also been posting blogs and using social networking to chronicle our journey,” adds Gianni. “As a result of Facebook for example, an American follower has invited us to go across to the United States with the tractor next year.”
The agricultural school in Chad, one of the world’s poorest countries, helps children whose parents have died from AIDS and is controlled by the LAI diocese. Italian nun, Rosanne Cavarero, also from Val Bormida manages the orphanage’s financial department.
The humanitarian side of the trip is key for the two drivers. Leonardo Cavazzi knows Sister Rosanne and is well aware of the pressing needs of the school. The aim, to collect as much money as possible en route to donate to the school, is as they say ‘to make the Cape North sun shine on Chad.’
Rather than the classic Massey Ferguson red, the MF 7624 model is liveried in striking gold to celebrate the string of top awards the tractor range has achieved since its launch. This includes the Golden Tractor for Design Award in the 2012 Tractor of the Year competition at Germany’s Agritechnica show in 2011, where it was also named as Machine of the Year.
“Gianni and Leonardo are doing a fantastic job, we are really proud of their achievements,” saysGianluca Gherardi, Massey Ferguson National Sales Manager, Italy. “Cape North marks the midway point of their adventure and we are looking forward to the rest of their journey before they arrive back in Italy at the end of July.”