A Derbyshire tractor dealer which set out to drive a 360hp Fendt 936 from Lands End to John O’ Groats in 24 hours on a single tank of biodiesel has achieved its aim – but only just.
Three drivers from Ilkeston-based Fendt dealer G&R Pykett managed the 839-mile run in 21 hours 20 minutes. They set off at 8pm and arrived at John O’ Groats at 5.20pm on the following day with just three litres of fuel left in the 660-litre tank.
Average speed was 39.7mph, a figure normally illegal for tractors. However the Fendt was taxed as a special vehicle and ran on duty-paid biodiesel, as well as being given special dispensation by local police forces to run on motorways.
The aim was to show how fuel-efficient a big tractor can be, as well as raise money (£15,000 so far) for the Derbyshire Hospitals Charitable Trust and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
However the decision to use biodiesel rather than mineral diesel did mean having to contend with poorer fuel consumption. So an hour from the finishing post and with the fuel gauge on zero, the tractor had to be throttled back sharply to eke out the last litre or two.
Any dramas or mishaps? Not really, says the firm’s Colin Roberts-Towlson. The only really busy roads they encountered were around Birmingham at 3am when trucks were thick on the ground.
The drivers also had the comfort of knowing that there was a support truck running behind them with ample supplies of Red Bull should their concentration dip.