Well, it’s not pulling a tractor on a rope like some ancient tug of war. This is adrenaline-fuelled competitions using tuned-up tractors to pull a weight transfer sledge along a 100m track. The furthest distance pulled, is the winner. If two or more get past 100m, then the sledge is made heavier and a ‘pull-off’ takes place.
But of course, the sledge and the tractors are very sophisticated. The sledge starts as a rolling weight, but through a system of weight transfer, it gets progressively heavier as it is pulled further down the track. And it’s up to the tractors to pull it as far as their horsepower allows.
There are many varied classes, offering scope for a wide variety of interest and budgets, for those looking to take part. Here is an outline of BTPA tractor classes:
Super Farm – using an original engine, gearbox and rear axle, limited to 405ci (6.6 litre) and limited to 3,000rpm or 370cui (6.0 litre) and limited to 3200rpm using diesel fuel only, single turbo, maximum weight of 3,500kg. As a introductory class, typically 5-800hp.
Super Sport – using an original engine, gearbox and rear axle, limited to 549ci (9 litre) at 2,700rpm or 510ci (6.6 litre) at 3,200rpm. Diesel only, single turbo, maximum weight of 4,500kg, typically around 1,500hp.
Limited Pro Stock – using an original gearbox and rear axle, limited to 405ci (6.6 litre) but with unlimited rpm. Diesel only, single turbo, maximum weight of 3,500kg, typically around 1,500hp.
Pro stock – diesel-only, single turbo, maximum weight of 3,500kg, maximum engine capacity of 510ci (8.3 litre) with unlimited rpm and a maximum rear tyre width of 24.5 inches. Typically around 3,000hp.
Super Stock – methanol or diesel, four turbos in three pressure stages, maximum weight of 3,500kg, maximum engine capacity of 650ci (10.6 litre) and a maximum rear tyre width of 30.5 inches. Typically around 5,000hp.
Limited Super Stock – methanol only, single turbo with 102mm restrictor, maximum weight of 3,500kg, maximum engine capacity of 510ci (8.3 litre) with unlimited rpm and a maximum rear tyre width of 24.5 inches. Typically around 3,000hp. Think Pro Stock with spark ignition.
Mini Modified – single engine, max weight of 950kg Typically around 1,500hp -2,000hp
Light Modified – max weight of 2,500kg, and a maximum rear tyre width of 30.5 inches. Mostly twin-engine, typically around 3,000hp
Modified – max weight of 3,500kg, and a maximum rear tyre width of 30.5 inches. Multi-engined V8’s and V12’s, typically around 7,000hp
Heavy Modified – max weight of 4,500kg, and a maximum rear tyre width of 30.5 inches. Multi-engined V8 and V12 tractors, typically 10,000hp
How do I get a pulling tractor?
Many tractors are built from scratch, but there are many that are bought too – often from teams retiring, upgrading or downsizing, or simply changing class. If you’re thinking of building a tractor, you really need to buy a rule book from the BTPA and decide which class you’re going to compete in. If you’re buying a tractor, make use of others with experience, to guide you on your purchase. Tractors change hands regularly, so keep an eye on UK activity, the European scene and the American circuits too.
Not ready for the track, but still fancy getting much closer to the action? Well, here’s a few options.
I’d like to get closer to the action
contact your regional tractor pulling club, to see how you and the club may work together. You’ll find that volunteer helpers are always required for a variety of jobs, including setting-up, organising and running an event. And there’s lots that has to be done after a pull too, which means many hands make light work.
I’d like to host a pull
Fancy hosting an event? You’ll need space, lots of it. Enough for a 100m track and run-off area, plus pits, parking and spectator space. We’re always looking for opportunities to promote tractor pulling in different parts of the UK. So if you’ve got an idea, come forward, get in touch with the BTPA or any of its directors, to explore what might be possible.
Get in touch, become involved, share your ideas.
Follow the British Tractor Pulling Association on Facebook with @btpauk