News 2014

Countdown takes silver at European Championships


Driven by Christian Rudén from Sweden, Countdown claimed second place in the Pro Stock class at the European Tractor Pulling Championships in Bouconville, France, on the last day of August. Other Valtra tractors also had a successful day, including all three tractors entered by the Herlevi Pulling Team, Next Sensation from the Netherlands and the new Norwegian entry Tyra, which was competing in its first international competition.


Altogether six of the top ten tractors were Valtras, and most of these were more or less constructed by Pekka Herlevi.


“I haven’t taken any major risks when developing the tractor,” says Christian Rudén. “If something works, I don’t change it. With this recipe I have won European Championship and Euro Cup medals on a fairly frequent basis. Still, I have huge admiration for those who push the envelope, try new things and keep the sport moving forwards.”


At the European Championships, the sled was set up really tight on the first pull. As a result, there were many engine failures and only two tractors out of twenty achieved a full pull. In the pull-off, KAWE Runaway Deer from the Netherlands took victory with an impressive performance. Overall the Netherlands dominated the European Championships, claiming 17 out of the 21 medals being contested.


Within the Herlevi Pulling Team, father Pekka achieved a pull that was one metre longer than that of his daughter Johanna, who in turn out pulled her brother Matti by one and a half metres.
“My turbo failed right at the end of the pull and even caught fire a little. It had little impact on the result, however, as I had already lost momentum. It would have prevented me from taking part in the pull-off, but that was anyway unnecessary as only two tractors qualified,” Johanna Herlevi reports.


The conditions in Bouconville were challenging. There had been downpours the previous day, and it rained sporadically during the competition too, but otherwise the sun and light breeze dried the track quickly. As a result, it was impossible to ensure the same conditions for all competitors, even though the organisers did their be


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Next Sensation claims second place in Euro Cup


The Dutch Valtra team Next Sensation has taken silver in this year’s Euro Cup. At the last round in Brande, Denmark, Next Sensation came in fifth, which was enough for second place overall. This year’s Euro Cup had only three rounds and proved surprising in other ways too. One Trick Pony from Great Britain took overall victory ahead of many of this season’s favourites.


The Herlevi family’s Valtras continued to suffer from teething problems in Brande. The team’s tractors were completely rebuilt over the winter, and work continues on perfecting the package. Each competition provides the team with valuable lessons, allowing it to further improve the tractors. It is already obvious that the new tractors have the capacity for much stronger performance than the old tractors, so long as they get all the pieces in the right place. The performance of the previous tractors had been optimised over many years of development.


The competition was once again very tight in Brande, where the conditions were fine. Only five tractors made it to the pull-off, including Next Sensation and Mad Croc-Caesar. The other five Valtra tractors managed between 90 and 100 metres on their first pull, just failing to qualify for the pull-off.


The next highlight of the season is the European Championships in Bouconville, France, on 31 August. All of the teams are hard at work preparing for the event. Since the medals at the European Championships are awarded on the basis of just two pulls, the teams will risk everything when tuning their machines. Valtra is the main sponsor in Bouconville, so Valtra will have a strong presence at the European Championships.



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Brande 2

Next Sensation takes bronze in second round of Euro Cup


The Dutch pulling team Next Sensation took a fine third place with its Valtra at its home event in Made on 22 June. The Valtra tractors of British team Bear Essentials also performed well, coming in sixth and ninth. Unfortunately, the Herlevi team’s problems with their new tractors continued in the Netherlands.


“Caesar managed a good first pull, even though a water pipe coupling in the cooler failed. When we get back home I will make a new coupling that won’t fail. Both Doris and Sigma Power had problems with their engine valves and rocker arms. We’ll have a look at those too after this European tour,” promises Matti Herlevi.

This year’s Euro Cup is more merciless than ever, as there are only three rounds in the Pro Stock category. Since the Herlevi team completely rebuilt its tractors over the winter season, the first two rounds of the Euro Cup have been somewhat trial and error. As a result, the overall situation in this year’s Euro Cup is more than challenging.


Mad-Croc Caesar in fifth position is still within striking distance of the top. Next Sensation from the Netherlands is impressively in second place, although the first four tractors are separated by just one point. With 30 points on offer at the last round in Brande, Denmark, in principle any one of the tractors can still take the lead even from last position, or vice versa.


The European Tractor Pulling Committee has already promised more rounds next year for the Pro Stock category to allow the reliability of all tractors and teams to be tested over an entire season. As always, the European Championships will be decided in a single event, so any of the teams has the chance to surprise.


Mad-Croc Caesar third in the Euro Cup season opener


The opening round for Pro Stock tractors in the Euro Cup was held in Pezzolo di Russi, Italy, on Sunday 8 June. The event attracted 14 teams from across Europe to compete among the vineyards in temperatures of over 35 degrees. The organisers succeeded in keeping the track in good condition despite the heat, and the good traction led to impressive pulls throughout the competition.


The Herlevi team has entered the season with completely new machinery based on a Valtra S374 tractor. The displacement of the 8.4-litre Agco Power engine has been slightly reduced to 8.3 litres to comply with the rules. The new chassis and intercooler have allowed weight to be transferred more to the front to improve the tractor’s balance when pulling.


Matti Herlevi kicked off the 2014 season driving Mad-Croc Caesar. Despite the slippery conditions in the first section of the track, Matti got off to a good start and achieved an impressive full pull. Johanna Herlevi was up next on the all-new Doris. The changes meant taking big risks, which were unfortunately realised in her first pull of the season. Johanna pulled up short at around 60 metres when a turbo component failed. Sigma Power had similar difficulties. Sigma Power was driven this time by Ville-Matti Vuollet, who soon realised that everything was not right after the start. Like Johanna, he had problems with turbo pressure, plus there was a problem with the injection pump, so he had to pull up before the 90-metre mark.


Going into the pull off, the team’s hopes were all on Matti and Mad-Croc Caesar. Right at the start Jurian Duijn from the Netherlands achieved a fine pull measuring 104.38 metres with his Valtra, Next Sensation. Mad-Croc Caesar and Matti were up next. The organisers did a great job maintaining the track despite the heat, and Matti got off to a great start. At around the 60 metre mark the front end got up a little too high, losing speed in the process. The result was nevertheless a decent 97.56 metres. The following tractors were unable to match his second-place pull until last year’s Euro Cup winner Rasmus Hoyen with John Deere 2 managed a very balanced pull that gave him the speed and grip to surpass Next Sensation’s pull by 30 centimetres. The Valtra tractors of the Bear Essentials team from the UK came in 8th and 11th with Ice Bear and Baby Bear, respectively.


Matti’s third place was a good opener for this season’s Euro Cup, which heads next to Made in the Netherlands on 22 June. The Made Powerweekend promises to be the biggest tractor pulling event of the season. Tractors in all Euro Cup categories plus national categories will compete on three parallel tracks over the three-day midsummer weekend.



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