Valtra tractors claimed the top 3 positions at the European Tractor Pulling Championships in Zele, Belgium.
Matti Herlevi driving Caesar was crowned European Champion in the Pro Stock category, while Jurian Duijn from the Netherlands took silver with Next Sensation and Johanna Herlevi third with Gangnam Style. This is the fifth time that Valtra tractors have made a clean sweep of the European Championships, although it has been several years since the last time. Matti Herlevi has now won the European Championships six times, while his father Pekka has won it four times and sister Johanna two times.
“We spent many hours in the garage last winter thinking of ways in which we could further improve our tractors. For example, we rebuilt our transmissions to make them more durable with fewer gears. We also increased the amount of valve lift in the engines, and we made deeper recesses in the pistons before the start of the season. We took some risks, in other words, but it was well worth it in the end,” says Matti Herlevi.
The competition was extremely tight, as it has been throughout the season. The tractors are separated by so little that the positions were decided by just a few centimetres. The tractors were also so well tuned that they all made it thought the first pull easily with the exception of Mud Patrol, which suffered a broken front axle. In the pull-off the tractors continued to pull so convincingly that in the end the top 15 tractors were separated by less than ten metres.
The Belgian organisers managed to keep the track dry and grippy despite rain showers the previous day. Around 10,000 spectators were on hand on both days to watch the championships.