MF tractor at South Pole

Massey Ferguson has reported that, after a gruelling 2,500km ice-journey, the Antarctica2 expedition team arrived with its MF5610 tractor at the South Pole today. 

The project was to drive the agricultural tractor on a 5,000km round trip from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole.

The quest echoes the achievement of explorer Sir Edmund Hillary who led the first mechanised expedition to the South Pole in 1958 using Ferguson TE20 tractors.

See also: MF tractor arrives in Antractica for South Pole journey

Lead driver Manon Ossevoort had already driven a tractor 38,000km from her home in the Netherlands across Europe and Africa.

The final leg of her journey was brought within reach when Massey Ferguson sponsored her to achieve her goal on an MF5610.

Manon Ossevoort and her team at the South Pole

The trip took 17 days of tough driving on the MF5610, often for 23 hours or more and pausing only briefly for routine maintenance and driver changeover.

The tractor engine has been running virtually non-stop since the expedition departed on 22 November.

Along the way, the team tackled treacherous crevasse fields, steep climbs, punishing sastrugi (solid ice-waves as much as 1m high) and deep, soft snow.

Crossing the Gabienz Mountains at 3,400m altitude, temperatures plummeted to -56C with wind chill. 

After a day’s rest at the South Pole, the Antarctica2 team will pack up, turn round and embark on the same route back to Novo Runway on the Antarctic coast.

They will follow in the exact tracks of their outbound trip which, now having iced over, should speed up their return journey. With luck, they could be back before Christmas.