A MASSIVE crowd, performances from iconic machines and visits from some famous faces ensured the tractor pull in Quambatook on Saturday was one for the ages.
The 40th edition of the annual event - which now hosts the Australian Tractor Pull Championships - once again cast Quambatook into the national spotlight as the town lived up to its reputation as the home of tractor pulling.
Competitors came from across the country, while spectators converged from far and wide - some for the first time - to take in the sport that captures the imagination of people of all ages from all walks of life.
Pulling began in the early afternoon with the vintage tractor classes - favourites particularly among farmers who fondly recall the machines from their younger years.
The scream of engines pushed to the limit ripped through the air throughout the afternoon and long into the night.
The farm tractor perpetual trophies were hotly contested, with Owen Parker taking out the four-wheel-drive trophy from Peter Gross.
The modified machines were visually spectacular, fighting it out across several classes, including the John Parker Memorial Trophy 4.2 tonne class, which went to Quamby Quaker, while Bad Attitude took out the Red Steer event.
The championships again featured the Modified Lawn Mowers class, which gives the next generation of tractor-pullers aged 10 to 16 the opportunity to learn the basics of the sport aboard ride-on mowers fitted with roll cages.
A surprise visit from The AFL Footy Show's Sam Newman sent the crowd into a frenzy, with people milling around as the football legend conducted his infamous Street Talk segment, which will appear on this week's show.
Newman spend a couple of hours at the tractor pull and even took a ride in 'Spot On' during its run in the modified truck class.
The Easter Bunny also made an appearance, delivering an abundance of chocolate eggs to a swarm of youngsters.
There was food aplenty, thanks to the Cooperating Church, Lions Club and Amity Club.
Entertainment abounded, with a performance by the Whip Industries Minibike Team, while other attractions included truck and tractor displays.
Quambatook Tractor Pull Association president, Doug Carroll said while the figures were still being calculated, the crowd seemed excellent.
"There was very little space on the spectator banks, so I think it was a very good turnout," he said.
"We were overwhelmed for the 40th to have a very good selection of vintage tractors and modified tractors, including half-a-dozen that had come out of retirement."
The most prominent of those was the Quamby Quaker, which was built in 1976 by tractor pull founder John Parker.
Mr Carroll said it was a case of all hands on deck to run the event.
"Thanks to all the volunteers who ensured it was a fantastic day," he said.
Round 8 at The Keith Diesel and Dirt Derby
As per most motor sport events scrutineering was the first thing on the agenda Friday night , With that completed it was time for some fine local cuisine , For some ,it was a barby and others it was a burger and chips from the roadhouse just down the road . The night continued on under a clear star filled sky , for some it was longer than others as there was plenty of gas bagging , yarn telling and even some pre competition day banter .
The rooster crowed at 6am, just enough time to hoover a bowel of Nutri Grain down in the dark, do my hair (for all the photos and TV crews of course eg Blokes World who filmed on the day) and wake everyone else up on site (Ps Kellogg’s are not a sponsor of tractor pulling but if they wish to please contact the ATPA). The sun was well up, the scales were set up ready for use as every tractor must pass over them prior to competing, the track was getting the finishing touches and the drivers meeting was done and dusted .This being the final event for the year it was do or die for some tractors to make or keep placing in the season points tally, GAME ON.
A small quantity field of minis hit the track but those that were there had great competition on the superb track prepared by Brett Harris. The limited minis hit the track as if the sled wasn’t behind them set the sled took out the 770 from rockabilly then 2 tuff third fresh dirt close fourth. In the 825 set the sled loved the track and took home another first fresh dirt nipping at its heels and rockabilly third. Rough Justice came home in the pull off set the sled second and rockabilly third 2 tuff fourth after trying to shift the 80 metre bollard along the bank.
Super minis little willy took the prize in all weight classes success 2 grabbed a second in the 860 and 4th in the 920, grumpy grabbed a third in the first 2 weight classes and second in the last weight class flaming furious got a third in the last 2 weight classes Jaws made the journey to Keith going home with a second in the middle weight class
In the open minis blown income grabbed 3n firsts and who Cares wasn’t far behind getting a well-deserved second
It was great to see three Western Australian tractors competing rockabilly, grumpy and awesome made the journey but electrical problems stopped it from competing.
On the other track the super modified took the top off the track with both Disorderly Conduct and Scrap Value having a cracker of a run? The perfect track once again prepared by Brett Harris was allowing the tractors to fly down the track reaching good speeds with Flav in Slickas sled hammering them at the 100 metre mark. Disorderly conduct achieved 1 first and 2 seconds Scrap Value 2 firsts and 1 second, Pure Insanity didn’t show due to too many metal fillings in gearbox.
Wicked Whitetail achieved three firsts from Wolverine Deere in the Pro stock ,but put on a great show of horsepower filling the Keith air with plumes of black smoke
Plum Crazy made the earth rumble as the 3 540 chevs roared into action, mark drove all three so no breakdowns.
In the limited modified the track was perfect and all tractors were galloping down the track, tractors were up gears taking advantage of the track that suited them. In the 2.5 tonne Slickas had them all six tractors within 1 metre of each other. Shilberite took out the first class closing followed by Flatstick then Dear Diff driven by Yvonne Gray. The 2.9 tonne class there was three tractors in the pull off Full Throttle had a well-deserved win followed by Shillberite and Flatstick, in then pull off all three tractors were within 300mm of each other. The 3.4 tonne saw more pull offs with 4 tractors in it Local tractor Shillberite performed for the home crowd and managed a first followed by Flatstick then Full Throttle
IN the 2wd trucks Bad attitude grabbed a first in the 2.5 tonne and the 2.7 tonne Dirty deeds beat bad attitude in the pull off to get a first in the 2.6 tonne , dirty deeds got seconds in the other 2 classes and bizzee Bee with bazz Ward at the helm managed three thirds for the day.
Commentator Ryan even got to drive a pro stock tractor, he didn’t need a microphone as you could still hear him squealing with excitement even with the helmet on , his tractor “ Sod Buster “may never look the same again as I hear it could be being converted to a diesel now
The main arena was going all day with racing lawnmowers, monster truck ,figure eight racing, remote control racing cars, various side shows for the kids, Fashion displays Chris Spirou acrobatic display, centurion tank display and finishing off with the Header demolition something for everyone ,where else could you go for a day to see this for $20 an adult well done to the Keith and surrounding community for the support, sponsorship and backing of a event like this that attracts in excess of 6500 people generating money and work people in and around the area.
The next ATPA event is the AGM and presentation night, being a bit like the Brownlow medal count in footy the drivers and WAGS all get dolled up and have a good time with some serious stuff like the setting of next year’s Calendar dates, rule changes and electing of new office bearers . If anyone is reading this and doesn’t have a tractor and want to be involved in the sport perhaps try before you buy so to speak there are jobs like scorers, scrutineers ,office bearers, marshals, tractor drivers , tow vehicle drivers etc that have you right next to the action just contact the ATPA and let us know you are interested. Stay tuned for the next update regards Furious.