Galway man’s bid to set Connacht tractor run record

A Co. Galway farmer has put plans in motion to organise a record-breaking tractor run during the bank holiday weekend next month.

“The biggest tractor run in Connacht; that’s what we’re hoping for. I’m not saying we’re going to have it; it depends who comes on the day,” Barry Stephens told Agriland.

Stephens put together a tractor run with just a week’s notice last year and got a hundred machines to take part. With six weeks to go, he’s hoping to triple those numbers with the call of the open road – the M17, to be precise.

The new motorway won’t open to the public until next November, but Stephens has managed to swing a test drive for a good cause with a little canny negotiating.

A number of photographers are expected to attend and a drone will also be used to capture the event.

“We’re driving from Tuam to Corofin on the motorway. It’s going to be good. We’re planning on big numbers,” he said.

Tractor runs aren’t allowed on motorways. But we’ve got permission.

“The reason we got permission is because the motorway is going through my land. I built up a good relationship with the contractors and the guys, so that’s the reason I’m getting it now.

“It’s the first and last tractor run ever on a motorway,” he said.

One special piece of kit to get machinery lovers’ juices flowing at the event will be a vintage Porsche tractor, which is set take part in the the Tuam-Corofin run on the Sunday.

“This tractor is rare because, first of all, it is in better condition than the day it came out of the factory. You’d want to see this tractor now. I think it will do 55mph on the road.

It’s the novelty of going on the motorway. It’ll be a bit of craic.

There will be spot prizes for the best-turned-out machines.

The tractor run will start at Corofin GAA pitch at 11am on Sunday, May 21. Entry is €10 and the run is being organised in aid of Corofin Developments and the community centre there.

It’s just one of a range of activities being organised as part of the Connacht Sheep Shearing Festival in Corofin over the May bank holiday weekend. On the Sunday, there will be a qualifying competition for the All-Ireland and All-Nations Sheep Shearing Competition this summer, with heats starting at 7am and finals in the afternoon.

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