The European Championships in the most powerful form of motorsports in the world, tractor pulling, were held last weekend at the Valtra Pulling Arena in Brande, Denmark. Rainy conditions and numerous engine failures meant that the schedule has to be compressed and many categories had to compete on a “winner takes all” one-round basis. This applied also to Pro Stock 3500.
Team Herlevi is accustomed to success in this category. In the early 2000s the team claimed all three podium positions on numerous occasions. Since then, however, the competition has become a lot tougher, and making it onto the podium in the Euro Cup or at the European Championships requires a perfect performance. Last year the team failed to claim any of medals, so this year they had a lot to prove.
Top three make it past 100 metres
A last minute change of track and diminishing daylight meant that competitors in the Pro Stock 3500 category had only one pull in order to post a result. Johanna Herlevi looked to have performed well with Doris, but the close competition meant her 95.23 metre pull was ultimately good enough only for ninth position. Matti Herlevi encountered an unexpected fuel feed problem with Mad-Croc Caesar and pulled up short at just 72 metres. Before Pekka Herlevi’s pull, the flag marking the best previous pull was already at the 100-metre mark. Sigma Power got off to a good start and claimed the lead in style, pulling 100.15 metres. Unfortunately, it was too early to claim the championship, as there were three more pulls to go. William de Vos from the Netherlands enjoyed a perfect pull with Extreme Temptation and recorded an unbeatable 106.77 metres.
“We really needed this silver medal! It gives us hope for the future and makes us believe in our potential,” commented Johanna Herlevi from the Valtra Mad-Croc Team’s pits as the evening grew dark. The sense of joy and relief could really be felt among the team members.
Valtra claims a second silver
Valtra and Finland were prominently on display at this year’s European Tractor Pulling Championships. More than ten Valtra tractors competed in both the Pro Stock and Super Stock categories, six of which were from Finland. Pekka Herlevi’s silver medal from Saturday was not the only medal for Valtra, as Aki Kylliäinen, this year’s Finnish champion in the Super Farmi 4500 category, also claimed second place with Forest King in the Super Sport (Farm Stock) 4500 category.
Two other Valtra tractors from Finland also competed in the Super Sport 4500 event on Sunday: Ville Pitkämäki claimed fifth with Hot Hunter while Tommy Karlsson had to make do with 13th position due to technical problems with Red Warrior.
The next generation of tractor pulling competitors took part in the Stock GP 500 category, where yet another Herlevi, Matti’s oldest son Lenni (11), claimed fourth position with Little Caesar. His little brother Ronni (6) was very disappointed not to be allowed to compete due to his age, but he was all the more active providing technical assistance in the garage.
European Tractor Pulling Championships 2015 / Pro Stock 3500 (EuroCup position)
|1. Extreme Temptation Case Magnum (7.)
||William de Vos Netherlands
|2. Sigma Power Valtra (11.)
||Pekka Herlevi Finland
|3. John Deere 2 (1.)
||Rasmus Hojen Denmark
|4. Neighbours Nightmare John Deere (4.)
||Daniel Vriends Netherlands
|5. Rocky IH (3.)
||Barend Huybregts Netherlands
|9. Doris Valtra (8.)
||Johanna Herlevi Finland
|16. Mad-Croc Caesar Valtra (6.)
||Matti Herlevi Finland
For more information visit pulling.valtra.com
Text and pictures by Juhani Rahkonen