Two members of tractor enthusiast club Blue Force are celebrating 100 years of blue tractor production in 2017 by undertaking a 5000 mile, 51 day Coastline Tractor Challenge, not previously attempted on tractors.
The pair set off from New Holland’s Basildon factory on Thursday, April 13, in two new T6 tractors supplied by the manufacturer.
Blue Force club members have a passion for preserving and running vintage and modern Fordson, Ford and New Holland marque tractors.
Phil Gibson, chairman of Blue Force, and Peter Plehov, club treasurer, will drive a route around the coast of mainland UK & Ireland, stopping at several points on route including Bournemouth, Galway and Edinburgh.
Phil and Peter set off from the gates of New Holland’s Basildon factory at 9am on new T6.145 and T6.180 tractors, which have been donated by New Holland. Each tractor will tow a shepherd’s hut, built by Phil and Peter. One hut for sleeping accommodation and the other for fuel, oil and supplies.
Phil and Peter’s Coastline Tractor Challenge will culminate at Tractor Fest on the 10th & 11th of June at Newby Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire.
Andrew Watson, Business Director, New Holland UK and Ireland, said: “We have always had a close relationship with the Blue Force Club so we were delighted to assist Peter and Phil when we heard about their challenge. We look forward to following their progress and wish them luck on their journey.”
Phil Gibson said: “I have been overwhelmed by the tremendous support from New Holland, without them we would not be doing any of this.”
The trip is almost entirely funded by donations that have come from club members and generous sponsors. New Holland dealer Robertsons of Orkney have funded the pair’s ferry crossings to the Orkney Islands to guarantee the islands’ blue tractor fans can be part of the celebrations. Other New Holland dealers along the 5000-mile route are hosting events to celebrate 100 years of blue tractors and support Phil and Peter on their Coastline Challenge.
Phil, who is a lifelong blue tractor user and fan, said about the challenge that he and treasurer Peter had, “lived, worked and breathed tractors all our lives, but this is something very new”.
The Coastline Challenge will also raise funds for two charities, Steps Conductive Education Centre in Loughborough, and Cancer Research UK. Phil and Peter have a personal connection with the charities and the pair aim to raise £25,000 by the end of 2017. They have raised nearly £7,000 before setting off from Basildon.
To follow the progress of Phil and Peter on the Coastline Challenge, The Blue Force Tractor Club Twitter and Facebook feeds will provide regular update, and a list of locations can be found on the club’s website www.blueforce.uk.com.