Two members of tractor enthusiast club Blue Force are celebrating after completing a 5,000 mile, 51 day Coastline Tractor Challenge, not previously attempted on tractors. The challenge marks 100 years of blue tractor production in 2017. The challenge started from New Holland’s Basildon factory on Thursday 13th April in two new T6 tractors supplied by the manufacturer. They return to the factory on Friday 2nd June.
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, have driven a route around the coast of mainland UK & Ireland, stopping at several points on route including Bournemouth, Galway and Edinburgh.
Each tractor has towed a shepherd’s hut, built by Phil and Peter. One hut for sleeping accommodation and the other for fuel, oil and supplies.
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 have been following their progress and are excited to welcome them back to the factory at Basildon having completed their fantastic journey.”
Phil Gibson said: “I have been overwhelmed by the tremendous support from New Holland, without them we would not have done any of this.”
The trip was almost entirely funded by donations from Blue Force club members and generous sponsors. New Holland dealer Robertsons of Orkney 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 hosted 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 was something very new”.
The Coastline Challenge is raising 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 £13,000 so far.