News 2006

Pekka Herlevi receives entrepreneur award from local community


The business community of Kälviä in Northwest Finland has awarded tractor pulling hero and local contractor Pekka Herlevi its 2006 entrepreneur award. Pekka received his award from the Kälviä Entrepreneurs Association (Kälviän Yrittäjät ry) at a special ceremony on Friday 24 November.

Pekka Herlevi started his business in 1985. These days his operations include preparing competition pulling tractors. The Herlevi family, including Pekka and his children Matti and Johanna, has achieved unparalleled success in the sport of tractor pulling. The company also produces Racing Diesel engines for passenger cars. Customers for Pekka Herlevi’s specialty vehicles come from Finland, Europe and the USA.

The company is currently building a 600-square-metre washing and repair facility in Kälviä that will be completed in early 2007.

Gold and silver finish to the season

934 1Matti Herlevi took silver in Arnum with his Caesar.
The Valtra Shell Pulling Team ended the 2006 season by taking first and second places at the invitational event in Arnum, Denmark. Johanna continued her late-season charge by taking her second win in succession. Matti was just 11 centimetres behind. On home turf Rasmus Højen’s John Deere came in third, two metres short of Matti and just 22 centimetres ahead of Pekka.

“We had a good event once again, but the competition was really tough. The track was excellent during the first pull but softened by the pull off,” Johanna commented.

The tractors performed perfectly, negating the need for any major overhauls during the winter season. Pro and Super Stock headlined the event, which was enjoyed by 3000-4000 spectators in the sunny autumn weather.

Success in final event secures 1-2-3 in Euro Cup

920 1Pekka was second in Luxembourg, but number one in Euro cup.
Johanna Herlevi returned to winning form in the final round of this season’s Euro Cup, thus awarding the Valtra Shell Pulling Team a perfect one-two-three in the Pro Stock 3500 Class. Johanna won the event in Bettborn, Luxembourg on 17 September in front of father Pekka, while Matti finished in fourth. Before the last round Johanna was just one point behind third-place Danish driver Rasmus Höjen. However, when his John Deere failed in the last event, finishing up in eight place, Johanna overtook him by a clear margin in the final standings.

“The traction was better than any other track this season, so the power of our Valtras could be utilised to the best advantage. I maybe could have gone another couple of centimetres, but I didn’t want to risk anything before next weekend’s meet and since victory in the overall Euro Cup was guaranteed,” commented Pekka Herlevi, who lost to Johanna by just over one centimetre in Bettborn.

Matti was surprised to finish down in fourth position, as all three Valtra tractors had the same ballast, tyre pressures and gear ratios.

“I drove a little to the left of the track, while the others went to the right. I can’t think of any other reason why I ended up over ten metres short,” Matti wondered.

The Valtra Shell Pulling Team’s season continues next weekend at the invitational event in Arnum, Denmark. After that the team and its tractors will return home to Finland. Over the winter the programme includes servicing and a few exhibitions, including in Moscow and Jyväskylä, where one of the pulling tractors will be on show. The spring season begins in March at the indoor event in the Netherlands.

“Luckily we don’t need to carry out any major overhauls during the winter, but we should still try to find just a little more power somehow. The competition is getting close,” Pekka points out.

921 1Pekka Herlevi won three out of six competitions in Euro cup and won silver in European Championships.

Herlevi family claims top two positions at European Championships

914 1Matti Herlevi and Caesar driving to victory
Matti Herlevi took gold and his father Pekka Herlevi silver in the Pro Stock 3500 Class at the European Tractor Pulling Championships in France on 3 September. Daughter Johanna was a disappointing seventh. The success of Valtra tractors was bolstered, however, by independent driver Johannes Örn, who drove his Valtra to fourth.

How did the competition go, Matti? “Good! The tractor performed well. My pull off attempt was almost perfect; the tractor just drove straight, so I didn’t have to correct the line with the brakes at all. I had a bit of an advantage, as I was able to pull second. It looked like the track was getting soft towards the end.”

The entire Valtra Shell Pulling Team was satisfied after the event. They had set out to claim all three podium places, but they knew it would not be easy. Success in the European Championships requires two successful pulls, unlike in the summer-long Euro Cup events.

“Luck always plays a bit of a role. Johanna’s tractor began to bounce ever so slightly, and amidst such tough competition the game was effectively over for her,” Pekka commented.

The European Championships demonstrated once again the popularity of tractor pulling in Central Europe. Even though the event was held in a rather remote area, at least in the opinion of several participants, nevertheless a total of 14 countries were represented with 90 tractors in 7 classes. A total of 10,000 spectators followed the event over the two days.

The team is now preparing for the last round of the Euro Cup to be held in a couple of weeks time. Two medals are already guaranteed, but their colours are not. A one-two-three is also just a point away.

915 1Matti Herlevi took gold and his father Pekka Herlevi silver in the Pro Stock 3500 Class at the European Tractor Pulling Championships

Valtras good, weather not

908 1Johanna Herlevi is confident about European Championships in France on 2nd and 3rd of August.
The tractors of the Valtra Shell Pulling Team ran excellently after servicing at the invitational pulling event in Bouconville, France. As a result of the strong performance, the tractors will remain in France at a local Valtra dealership for two weeks to await the European Championships.

“It poured with rain in Bouconville on both days, and the arena turned into one big mud pond. It was impossible to get a proper pull, but the tractors themselves worked well,” reports Johanna Herlevi.

The Herlevi family is preparing for the European Championships in early September with a lot of confidence. The ambitious yet equally realistic goal is a one-two-three. If the tractors perform as expected, and the conditions are good, the chances of taking all three podium places are indeed good.

“Let’s hope that rain will not spoil the track at the European Championships, as our Valtras are best on tracks with a lot of traction requiring brute force,” Johanna points out.

909 1It was pouring rain in Bouconville, but the tractors ran well.