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Crowds turn out for South Pole Expedition Tractor Homecoming! 

Rapturous welcome for MF 5610 on return to Beauvais Birthplace after 28-day 5000 km Antarctic adventure


Massey Ferguson, a worldwide brand of AGCO, reports that the MF 5610 tractor which spearheaded the gruelling Antarctica2 expedition to the South Pole in December received a hero’s welcome on its return home to the French City of Beauvais. 

Crowds turned out to honour the tractor at special homecoming ceremonies held at the AGCO manufacturing plant where it was designed and built and at the Town Hall where Madame Caroline Cayeux, Mayor of Beauvais welcomed it back on behalf of the City.

Special guests at the ceremonies were the Antarctica2 Expedition’s Ambassador and Lead Driver, Manon Ossevoort, Lead Mechanic, Nicolas Bachelet and Cameraman, Simon Foster. In taking Manon safely to the South Pole, the MF 5610 not only helped her realise her 12-year dream to drive a tractor ‘to the end of the world.’ but also became the first standard farm tractor equipped with tyres to reach the Geographic South Pole overland. 

At the Beauvais plant, Manon officially handed back the tractor’s keys to Richard Markwell, Vice President and Managing Director Massey Ferguson Europe, Africa and Middle-East, who had previously presented them to her on 29 July, 2014. “We are all so proud of our tractor and the incredible achievement of Manon and her Antarctica2 team,” said Richard. “Our warmest congratulations on their courage and their determination as well as, of course, their belief in the Massey Ferguson brand. Manon’s challenge to us to accompany her on her expedition was one which we were willing to accept and always confident to win. Our tractor had a job to do and it delivered.”

“Employees here at Massey Ferguson along with a global audience of millions followed the team’s battle across the ice as news of their exploits unfolded like an adventure story each day. It was exciting and inspiring to see one of the tractors designed and built in this factory making both history and headlines around the world.”  

Thanking Massey Ferguson for believing in her dream and supporting the expedition with the supply of the MF 5610, Manon said: “It’s feels good to deliver the tractor safely back to its home. We drove it hard for 28 days across 5000 km and, overall, clocked up 760 hours engine running time – that’s more than many farms would do in two years of normal work. Throughout, it was strong, steady and sure – a tribute to the MF staff who design and build the machines here at Beauvais. Thank you for letting me borrow your brilliant tractor!” 

After ceremonies at the both main factory and the Beauvais 2 cab assembly line, the tractor made its way under police escort to the Beauvais Town Hall plaza to be greeted by Caroline Cayeux, Mayor of Beauvais 

“I know I speak for all our citizens in Beauvais when I say that we are brimming with pride to see a tractor produced here reach the South Pole. What an accomplishment!” the Mayor remarked. “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. Bravo and congratulations from us all.” 

AGCO’s Beauvais manufacturing facility is the largest producer and exporter of farm machinery in France. Employing 2200 people, the factory exports 85% of production to 70 countries. Average annual output is 16,500 tractors ranging from 80 to 400 horsepower. The factory has recently been nominated by AGCO to produce a new range of tractors - the cab version of the MF Global Series – from 2016 which will add an estimated further 2500 tractors to its annual output. Since 2010, more than 300 million euros have been invested at the plant to boost quality, productivity and competitiveness. 

The 110hp MF 5610 used on the South Pole trek is a standard farm tractor specially-prepared by Massey Ferguson Beauvais engineers to add protection against the freezing temperatures and exposed terrain. 

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. Challenged by some of the most rugged terrain and hostile conditions on the planet, the punishing route across the ice left the tractor and team battered, bruised but unbowed. The traverse took them through dangerous crevasse fields, steep climbs and exceptionally demanding surface conditions - ranging from solid ‘ice-waves’ to deep soft snow. All this in an environment of constant biting cold which, at one point in the mountains at altitude of 3400m, dropped to minus 56 degrees C with wind chill.  

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.   

Reaching the Pole on 9th December, the 2014 Antarctica2 team reported their historic news: “This is South 90 – as far South as anybody can go. It’s unbelievable - at the South Pole there is a red Massey Ferguson tractor!” 

The MF 5610 will be one of the star exhibits on the Massey Ferguson stand at the SIMA Show in Paris 22-26 February. 

Together with Massey Ferguson which supplied the tractor, Antarctica2 enlisted the support of leading farm machinery industry partners including Trelleborg, Castrol, AGCO Finance, AGCO Parts, Fuse Technologies and MechaTrac.

Source: AGCO, Massey Ferguson