After a 5,000km expedition from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole, a Massey Ferguson 5610 tractor has returned home to France.
The Antarctica2 mission took 17 days to reach the South Pole and 11 days to retrace its frozen tracks back to base at Novo Runway on the Antarctic coast.
The expedition team was challenged by some of the most rugged terrain and hostile conditions on the planet.
Crevasse fields, steep climbs and exceptionally demanding surface conditions – ranging from solid ‘ice-waves’ to deep soft snow were some of the challenges the team faced.
Temperatures at one stage dropped to minus 56 Celsius.
The MF 5610 became the first standard farm tractor equipped with tyres to reach the geographic South Pole.
Upon returning home, the expedition’s ambassador and lead driver, Manon Ossevoort realised her 12-year dream to drive a tractor ‘to the end of the world’.
Arriving back to Beauvai, France, Manon handed back the MF 5610’s keys to Richard Markwell, Vice President and Managing Director Massey Ferguson Europe/Africa/Middle-East who had given her the keys on July 29, 2014.
“We are all so proud of our tractor and the incredible achievement of Manon and her Antarctica2 team,” Markwell said.
He also congratulated Manon and the team on their “courage and their determination”.
“It’s feels good to deliver the tractor safely back to its home. We drove it hard for 28 days across 5,000km and, overall, clocked up 760 hours engine running time – that’s more than many farms would do in two years of normal work,” Manon said.
The MF 5610 was escorted by police to the Beauvais Town Hall where the Mayor of Beauvais Caroline Cayeux made a speech.
“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,” she said.
The Beauvais manufacturing facility is the largest producer and exporter of farm machinery in France.
It employs 2,200 people and 85% of production is exported to 75 countries.
Antarctica2 is the second expedition to the South Pole by Massey Ferguson tractor. The first was undertaken by explorer Sir Edmund Hillary who successfully reached the Pole in 1958 with a fleet of specially adapted Ferguson TE20 tractors fitted with tracks.
The MF 5610 will be one of the main exhibits on the Massey Ferguson stand at the SIMA Show in Paris on February 22-26.