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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.

Home for Christmas! Triumphant Return to Base Camp for Antarctica2 Tractor Expedition

(15:20 hrs CET, 20 December 2014, Novo Runway, Antarctica): The Antarctica2 bid to drive an MF 5610 agricultural tractor on an ambitious 5000km round trip to the South Pole arrived safely back at Novo Runway on the Antarctic coast today.

In accomplishing the mission, the MF 5610 has become the first standard farm tractor equipped with tyres to reach the Geographic South Pole overland.

There were emotional celebrations for the Antarctica2 expedition team members when they arrived at the South Pole with their MF 5610 tractor on 9 December 2014.

There were emotional celebrations for the Antarctica2 expedition team members when they arrived at the South Pole with their MF 5610 tractor on 9 December 2014.

For ‘Tractor Girl’ and Lead Driver, 38-year-old Manon Ossevoort, her journey proved that, given belief and determination, dreams really do come true. Relying on the dependable power of the Massey Ferguson tractor and the expert support of her polar team, Manon’s 12-year dream to drive a tractor ‘to end of the world’ is now complete.

“I can’t even begin to describe the emotions I’m feeling now,” she said. “Elation at such a wonderful expedition, relief in getting back to Novo Runway successfully. I can’t wait to start telling the story and hopefully encouraging others to follow their dreams.”

The adventure in the hostile Antarctic environment made huge demands on the team and equipment.  A belief in the reliability of the tractor and the crew members to do their jobs was a touchstone of the expedition and enshrined in Antarctica2’s message  #BelieveInIt.  The difficult conditions – bitter cold, high altitude, solid ice, snowdrifts, thick freezing fog and exceptionally rough terrain – all took their toll. However, both humans and machine showed remarkable resilience in the face of adversity and rose to the challenge of this once-in-a lifetime opportunity.

With its relentless physical and mental pressures, the polar trek drew on all the team’s  experience, willpower and endurance to win through. In very short periods of time, emotions could roller-coaster from exhilaration, elation and excitement to frustration and disappointment.

For the Massey Ferguson tractor, the expedition was the ultimate test of strength and durability, exerting massive strain on the components and really challenging the integrity of its design. Such an environment, where even the simplest repair is made difficult by the freezing temperatures, called for a straightforward, dependable tractor. During the 28-day 5000 km journey, the MF 5610 required only a few running repairs and the engine clocked up an impressive 760 hours of operation, which is more than many farms would do in two years of normal work.

Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson Director Sales Engineering and Brand Development said: “We send our warmest congratulations to Manon Ossevoort and the Antarctica2 crew on their magnificent achievement. They have shown extraordinary teamwork and fortitude on this epic trip.”

“In one of the most barren places on earth, we hope that the Antarctica2 expedition has served to highlight to a non-agricultural audience the way farmers are rising to the challenge of feeding the world. Modern farm equipment and appropriate technology can help make the most of the world’s cultivable land and create sustainable farm business for our long-term food security.”

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.

www.AntarcticaTwo.com

#BELIEVEINIT

 

400 km to go! Can the Antarctica2 team be home in time for Christmas?

(Antarctica – 18th December 2014): The drive back from the South Pole is proving every bit as exciting and emotional for the Antarctica2 tractor expedition team as, hour by hour, they tick off the distance home. The latest news is that they have less than 400 km to go to Novo Runway on the Antarctic coast. The MF 5610 put in yet another fantastic record-breaking run of 384 km and is as strong as ever despite the incredibly punishing schedule.

Antarctica2: Still time to take more pictures for cameraman Simon Foster as the Antarctica2 tractor expedition gets closer to home.

Antarctica2: Still time to take more pictures for cameraman Simon Foster as the Antarctica2 tractor expedition gets closer to home.

Now high up in the mountains at an elevation of 3314 metres (10,872 ft),  the team members found themselves once again “gasping for breath” in the thin air. Thankfully, the weather has been clear with light blue skies but the temperature has dipped to minus 30 degrees C – dropping to around minus 37 with wind chill. As Expedition Lead Guide , Matty McNair said in her daily report: “It’s nippy out there.” Emotions are running high with the team as they all eager to get back home to their loved-ones in time for Christmas.

Everyone on the crew is pitching in with tractor driving shifts to ensure the MF 5610 is kept constantly on-the-move. There is no rest for the tractor. The drivers report that the cab is extremely warm and the seat very comfortable. The five-point seat belt helps them strap themselves down when driving over rough terrain. For in-cab entertainment, team members are passing the time in various different ways listening to music, podcasts and audio books. Manon Ossevoort, Lead Driver is  listening to French lessons. Favourite sounds in the cab range from U2, Louise Attaque, Faithless, Trio, Muse, Endochine, Black Keys and Icelandic Music.

Ending her report from the ice, Matty McNair said: “Emotions are high. Will we make it back to Novo Runway to catch the (last) flight out? Will we be home at Christmas? We have just under 400 km to do in about 36 hours.” Nail-biting stuff!

www.AntarcticaTwo.com

#BELIEVEINIT

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