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Polar stars steal the limelight at SIMA

The MF 5610 tractor which captured the imagination of millions worldwide on its epic journey to the South Pole is  one of the star exhibits on the Massey Ferguson stand at this week’s SIMA Show in Paris. Joining the famous tractor on day one of the exhibition was Antarctica2 expedition Lead Driver, Manon Ossevoort, who spearheaded the 5000 km return trip to the Pole in December 2014.

In completing the mission, the MF 5610 claimed its place in history and became the first standard farm tractor equipped with tyres to reach the Geographic South Pole overland.  For 38-year-old Manon, the ice challenge proved that, with belief and determination, dreams really do come true.

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“I was impressed with the MF tractor’s performance,” she says. “It just kept going and going and going – like a tenacious little animal ploughing through the icy conditions. And it turned out to be the best place to be on the expedition – spacious, warm and comfortable. A safe haven. We had 24-hour daylight but I loved doing what we called the ‘night’ drive when the rest of the team was sleeping back at camp. It was just me and the tractor, breaking trail in this beautiful landscape. Driving across the solid ‘sastrugi’ ice waves was like climbing over rocks. It became an extreme sport for us, navigating them fast and safely!  I am really proud of the tractor. It became the most solid and dependable friend to me.”

Visitors are able to see the MF 5610 as it returned battle-scarred from the ice complete with especially-developed Trelleborg tyres, crevasse bar, electric winch, polycarbonate windscreen, rear-mounted generator and extra 410 litre fuel tank.

Commenting, Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson Director Sales Engineering and Brand Development said: “We are thrilled to feature the tractor on our stand at SIMA and delighted to welcome Manon as our guest. Her experiences on the ice with the team filled us with awe. We were overwhelmed by the response from the global audience who followed the Antarctica2 adventure. It was an inspiring feat, and so many people have taken the tractor to their hearts. The MF 5610 received a hero’s welcome when it returned to its birthplace at our manufacturing plant in Beauvais, France. We are all so proud of its achievement.”

Also making an appearance at the MF SIMA stand are the expedition’s Lead Mechanic, Nicolas Bachelet and Cameraman, Simon Foster.

Welcome home! Police escort through city streets for returning South Pole tractor hero

The MF 5610 tractor which spearheaded the gruelling Antarctica2 expedition to the South Pole in December received a rapturous hero’s welcome on its return home to the French City of Beauvais on 13 February.

Crowds turned out to honour the tractor at special homecoming ceremonies held at the AGCO manufacturing plant, where it was designed and built, and at the Town Hall where Madame Caroline Cayeux, Mayor of Beauvais welcomed it back on behalf of the City.

Left to right: Antarctica2 MF 5610 at the Beauvais 2 Training Centre. Simon Foster - Expedition Creative Director, Manon Ossevoort - Expedition Ambassador, Nicolas Bachelet - Expedition Mechanic

Left to right: Antarctica2 MF 5610 at the Beauvais 2 Training Centre. Simon Foster – Expedition Creative Director, Manon Ossevoort – Expedition Ambassador, Nicolas Bachelet – Expedition Mechanic.

Special guests at the ceremonies were the Antarctica2 Expedition’s Ambassador and Lead Driver, Manon Ossevoort, Lead Mechanic, Nicolas Bachelet and Cameraman, Simon Foster. In taking Manon safely to the South Pole, the MF 5610 not only helped her realise her 12-year dream to drive a tractor ‘to the end of the world.’ but also became the first standard farm tractor equipped with tyres to reach the Geographic South Pole overland.

At the Beauvais plant, Manon officially handed back the tractor’s keys to Richard Markwell, Vice President and Managing Director Massey Ferguson Europe, Africa and Middle-East, who had previously presented them to her on 29 July, 2014. “We are all so proud of our tractor and the incredible achievement of Manon and her Antarctica2 team,” said Richard. “Our warmest congratulations on their courage and their determination as well as, of course, their belief in the Massey Ferguson brand. Employees here at Massey Ferguson along with a global audience of millions followed the team’s battle across the ice as news of their exploits unfolded like an adventure story each day. It was exciting and inspiring to see one of the tractors designed and built in this factory making both history and headlines around the world.”

Thanking Massey Ferguson for believing in her dream and supporting the expedition with the supply of the MF 5610, Manon said: “It’s feels good to deliver the tractor safely back to its home. We drove it hard for 28 days across 5000 km and, overall, clocked up 760 hours engine running time – that’s more than many farms would do in two years of normal work. Throughout, it was strong, steady and sure – a tribute to the MF staff who design and build the machines here at Beauvais. Thank you for letting me borrow your brilliant tractor!”

After the factory ceremony, the tractor made its way under police escort to the Beauvais Town Hall plaza to be greeted by Caroline Cayeux, Mayor of Beauvais

“I know I speak for all our citizens in Beauvais when I say that we are brimming with pride to see a tractor produced here reach the South Pole. What an accomplishment!” the Mayor remarked. “Massey Ferguson is an industrial icon in our City and the Antarctica2 achievement is a true testimony to the skills and knowhow of the employees at AGCO Massey Ferguson in Beauvais. Bravo and congratulations from us all.”

The MF 5610 will be one of the star exhibits on the Massey Ferguson stand at the SIMA Show in Paris 22-26 February.

South Pole ‘Tractor Girl’ calls in to thank Massey Ferguson team in UK

Staff at Massey Ferguson in the UK gave a warm welcome to Manon Ossevoort who drove an MF 5610 tractor on the adventurous Antarctica2 mission to the South Pole.

Manon Ossevoort 'Tractor Girl' and Expedition Ambassador and Lead Driver of the Antarctica2 Expedition visits Abbey Park

Manon Ossevoort ‘Tractor Girl’ and Expedition Ambassador and Lead Driver of the Antarctica2 Expedition visits Abbey Park

The 38-year-old Dutch-born Expedition Ambassador and Lead Driver, better known as ‘Tractor Girl’, visited Massey Ferguson’s offices at Abbey Park Stoneleigh in Warwickshire on 23 January. Manon captured the imagination of millions worldwide as she and her team battled across the vast icescape with the MF tractor on a gruelling 28-day, 5000 km round-trip from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole. On reaching its destination, the MF 5610 made history to become the first standard farm tractor equipped with tyres to reach the Geographic South Pole overland.

Throughout the expedition, a Massey Ferguson team at Abbey Park was responsible for coordinating the expedition communications and relaying news and pictures of the epic journey to a global audience.

“It was a great pleasure to welcome Manon to the UK and hear yet more details of this extraordinary story,” said Declan Hayden, Vice President, Global Sales & Operations Planning. “It is truly an awe-inspiring feat, highlighting the strength and endurance of the MF tractor, as well demonstrating the fortitude and resilience of the crew.”

Manon commented: “By supplying the MF 5610 to Antarctica2, Massey Ferguson showed its belief in this incredibly ambitious mission and took up my challenge to take a tractor to the South Pole. I am thrilled to be here and back with the MF team who worked with me on planning the expedition over a period of three years. They never stopped believing that we could achieve our goal. I know the team at Abbey Park was eager to hear more of my story but I was equally fascinated to find out how they supported the expedition communications day-to-day.”

The Abbey Park Team welcome Manon Ossevoort and Simon Foster back to Abbey Park

The Abbey Park Team welcome Manon Ossevoort and Simon Foster back to Abbey Park

Manon was joined at Abbey Park by fellow team member, Antarctica2 cameraman Simon Foster. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said. “Taking pictures and video in the extreme cold was exceptionally challenging. We were able to take some great shots of the tractor on its voyage which were used widely by the world’s press and across social media.”

Paul Lay, Massey Ferguson Manager, Public Relations and Communications who led the Abbey Park-based communications team adds: “Antarctica2 was an amazing project for the team to manage. The technical challenges of conveying communications and developing news from Antarctica quickly to a global audience were immense. There are no geosynchronous communications satellites at the Earth’s Poles so digital communications are very slow and unreliable.   We overcame those and were delighted when, together with other world media, the BBC ran a four minute live news broadcast with Manon when her MF 5610 tractor reached the South Pole – a first.”

The Antarctica2 MF 5610 expedition tractor will be a highlight of Massey Ferguson’s stand at the upcoming SIMA Show in Paris 22-26 February 2015.

Pole within reach as team battles arduous conditions

(07 December 2014, Antarctica) Day 16: The most difficult terrain yet encountered on the Antarctica2 expedition has made the final stages of the mission to reach the South Pole using a Massey Ferguson MF 5610 tractor some of the most challenging yet.

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With 300km left to the Pole, seasoned members of Tractor Girl Manon Ossevoort’s support team say they have never experienced such bad travelling conditions. Although the weather has been good, with hazy yet sunny blue skies, the snow underfoot has been extremely soft, resulting in speeds as little as 4km/hr (2.5mph).

In one recent eight-hour shift the tractor faced soft, sinking conditions every few hundred metres, but the MF 5610 and its drivers proved their ability to cope with the tough going.

“By downshifting into the lowest gear, A1, and engaging the diff lock, the tractor would climb out slowly and we could make progress again,” explains Expedition Lead Guide, Matty McNair.

The fact the MF 5610’s transmission can stand up to such extreme duress is testament to its design and construction, believes Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson Director Sales Engineering and Brand Development.

“These are conditions few farmers are ever likely to face, but the resilience of the tractor transmission shows just how well it is made, just as the resilience of the team shows what they are made of too.”

Tough for the team but goal is in sight

(3 December 2014, Antarctica) Day 12: It’s tough going for the team at the centre of the Antarctica2 expedition as they get closer to their goal of reaching the South Pole. The harsh terrain is taking its toll on the Massey Ferguson MF 5610 tractor and its drivers, but with the halfway point now behind them, both are bearing up well.

Conditions are still tough for the Antarctica2 expedition as it gets closer to its goal of reaching the South Pole.

Conditions are still tough for the Antarctica2 expedition as it gets closer to its goal of reaching the South Pole.

While the weather has continued to be favourable (temperature is now just minus 24 degrees C!), the hard-packed ice underneath the snow has little ‘give’ in it, meaning that traversing the terrain can be tiring for the drivers. There have been some fuel issues with the support trucks, caused by the bitterly cold conditions, but so far this hasn’t proved a problem for the MF 5610.

The team has now reached the Russian 83 refuel camp, where the hosts welcomed their visitors with hot soups and shots of vodka. The stop provided a chance to refuel and begin fuel pump repairs on one of the support trucks before continuing south.

As lead driver Manon Ossevoort carries with her to the South Pole the dreams of all the people she has met on her journey, those whose job it is to chart the team’s progress are busy trying to capture every key moment. This ranges from the highs of good progress to the lows of trying to make technology work in a harsh climate. Videos and photos are being taken throughout each day, before being edited and put on the relevant expedition websites . With no high-speed wifi in Antarctica, material must be transferred using the Iridium Satellite system, and a single short video clip, for example, can sometimes take half a day to upload.

www.AntarcticaTwo.com

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