11 August 1995

Cambs entrant finds persistency pays

PERSISTENCY has paid off for Cambridgeshire tractor driver and Young Farmer, Graham Fensome.

The 1995 Royal Show was the fourth occasion Mr Fensome had made it through to the semi-final of Tractor Driver of the Year. But this is the first year he has qualified for the events climax – the grand final to be held on Aug 15 at Silsoe Research Institute.

"In the past it has always been the tractor loader section which has let me down at the semi-final stage. I am more used to operating telescopic handlers," Mr Fensome says.

"John Deere and Massey Ferguson 300-series tractors have tended to be fitted to the loaders at past semi-finals. But this year the loader was fitted to a new MF 6100-series tractor, with which I am more familiar. That made the task easier."

Mr Fensomes knowledge of the MF 6100-series comes from driving a recently delivered 95hp 6150 for Lord de Ramseys 930ha (2300-acre) Abbots Ripon Farm-ing Company based at Grove Farm, Abbots Ripton. He has worked on the all-arable estate since leaving school in 1985.

His time is divided between driving an H-plate 275hp Caterpillar Challenger 65 rubber-tracked crawler on primary cultivation work – ploughing with an 11-furrow Gregoire Besson reversible and deep cultivation/mole ploughing – and the MF6150 on top work.

That top work includes fertiliser application with an 18m (60ft) Kuhn Aero pneumatic spreader, baling and hedge cutting. He also does some low ground pressure spraying with a Frazier Agribuggy.

As to why he continues to enter Tractor Driver of the Year, Mr Fensome says the event is more than just a competition.

"Every year you learn something different, even if it is just a useful reminder. Simple things such as climbing in and out of the cab the correct way – always facing the tractor."

When not tractor driving Mr Fensome is a keen Young Farmer and also spends time building garden furniture from scrap metal. &#42

Young Farmer Graham Fensome… Four times a semi-finalist but never a finalist – until this year.