Posts Tagged ‘Antarctica’
The 2014 Antarctica2 mission to take a tractor to the South Pole emulates the achievement of explorer Sir Edmund Hillary who led the first mechanised expedition to the South Pole in 1958 using a fleet of Ferguson TE20 tractors.
In 2014, 56 years since Hillary’s journey and 56 years since the birth of the Massey Ferguson brand, an MF 5600 tractor will make a similar trek across the ice.
On January 4 1958, driving 28hp TE20 tractors, Hillary’s team became the first overland explorers to reach the South Pole since Captain Scott’s expedition in 1912.
In his now famous telegram he told the ‘Massey-Harris-Ferguson Farming Company’:
“Despite quite unsuitable conditions of soft snow and high altitudes our Fergusons performed magnificently and it was their extreme reliability that made our trip to the Pole possible. Stop. Thank you for your good wishes = Hillary”
At the time, the press described this as the ‘The Last Great Journey in the World’, although the expedition’s official title was The Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1955-58. Led by Englishman, Sir Vivian Fuchs, its aim was to be the first to cross the continent overland – 50 years after Shackleton’s ill-fated attempt – while gathering scientific data.
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In 2005, at an international theater festival in the Netherlands, Dutch storyteller and actor Manon Ossevoort performed her live narrative, “DO.” It’s a story about a girl on a tractor taking the dreams of many to the end of the world. So, when the story ended, Ossevoort drove out of the theater on a tractor and began a journey.
Ossevoort’s odyssey led her through Europe, the Balkans and down through the continent of Africa. Along the way, she performed her story and collected, on little slips of paper, the dreams and hopes of the people she met.
After four years and more than 23,000 miles, Ossevoort reached the Cape of Good Hope. “I literally missed my boat,” she says. The ship she had planned to take to Antarctica—the symbolic end of the world—had canceled its trip. “I had no sponsors, nothing,” says Ossevoort. “But I had thousands of dreams in the back of my tractor that I had promised to bring to the South Pole, a continent where there’s never been war.”
Cue Massey Ferguson. The company has a unique connection to Antarctica. Sir Edmund Hillary and his team drove three Ferguson TE20 tractors to the pole in 1958. That same year also marked the introduction of the Massey Ferguson brand. Sponsoring another trek to the South Pole on Massey Ferguson tractors seemed like a perfect way to celebrate both milestones.
Ossevoort and a Massey Ferguson assembled team of specialists have begun polar training in Iceland and northern Canada with a new Massey Ferguson 5600 Series tractor that has been modified to create “the ultimate polar-expedition tractor,” she says. The expedition plans to sail to Antarctica in December 2014, where it will follow the same path as Hillary’s expedition.
Ossevoort explains what she’ll do with the stories she’s collected on her journey: “I’ll symbolically finish my epic story at the geographical South Pole by building a snowman with the ‘dreams of the world’ in its belly.”
Preparations for Antarctica 2014 from Massey Ferguson are progressing well. The MF 5600 tractor that ‘Tractor Lady’ Manon Ossevoort will drive to the South Pole in 2014 is built and currently being prepared for its arduous journey.
Staff at Massey Ferguson are also assembling a team of top specialists to support Manon and the MF 5600 tractor. These include top polar explorers, experienced expedition leaders, a highly trained tractor technician along with back up from other specialists.
“Massey Ferguson is very proud to be involved in this great adventure,” says Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson’s Brand Development Manager. “The project is part of our heritage and follows in the tractor tracks of Sir Edmund Hillary, who completed the same journey on a Ferguson Tractor 55 years ago. It will be the 56th anniversary of that significant event when Manon’s MF 5600 reaches the South Pole in 2014.”
‘Tractor Lady’ Manon has undertaken polar training in Northern Canada as well as initial tractor testing on a glacier in Iceland, along with members of the MF team.
Manon said, “I am very excited about what we have achieved so far and how the project is proceeding. In recent months I have managed to keep quite a big secret – that is Tractor Lady is soon to become Tractor Mama! The birth of my baby is another whole new adventure for me personally. But I am really determined to complete the journey and finish the story I have been creating for the past nine years.”
Massey Ferguson is delighted with Manon’s special news, adds Mr Scott. “Naturally we share the joy of Manon and her partner, Rogier and send them every best wishes for the future and look forward to our continued progress towards the South Pole together,” he adds.