From The Chair: August 2017      

Issue 81 October/November


Some years ago, returning from Belvoir Castle Steam Rally down the A1 one Monday morning, with tractor loaded and caravan in tow, the lorry suddenly died.  We were climbing an incline with no layby in sight during the morning rush hour. Many of you will have suffered a similar experience, perhaps due to a puncture or similar problem.
I managed to pull nearly off the road onto a grass verge before coming to rest, but frankly, when not quite off the road delving under a raised cab with ones feet within inches of speeding traffic is a pretty terrifying experience. The problem turned out to be a blocked primary filter caused by the dreaded 'black slime' the bacterial growth which is the curse of modern reduced sulphur diesel fuel.  Fortunately, Sue and a pal, who was following, directed traffic and we were soon on our way again.  I made two further stops on the way home to clean the filter but arrived without further mishap.
Once home I took the tank off and thoroughly cleaned it out and ever since have added a fungicide to prevent the problem recurring.  I used to check the primary filter before trips both to and from rallies but, as no problem was evident, did so less and less frequently.
Then last week it died again, this time  returning from a show but only a couple of villages from home on a quiet road with room to pull in safely so no problem, other than a short delay and some grease on decent clothes, not the end of the world.
As we were due to leave for another rally the following Wednesday the tank was again removed and steamed cleaned before refilling. I have mentioned my use of additives in diesel fuel both to restore its lubricating properties and to counter the bacterial growth due to the reduction of sulphur levels and the increase in biological level in the past.
So what went wrong this time?........I cannot be absolutely certain but, as I had seen no black grunge in the primary filter glass when I checked it a rally or two earlier, and as the tank had been replenished several times this season so it was not running on 'stale fuel' overwintered in the tank, when our lorries tend to stand and is the prime time for bacteria in the fuel to multiply, I can only assume that I filled up with dirty fuel.
This is a problem that is not going to go away, so do make regular checks, do use a fungicide and if the worst happens call an emergency service especially on busy roads or motorways.  Anyone transporting tractors should certainly consider subscribing to a recovery service, they are not as expensive as some think.  It really isn't worth the risk of being injured or worse.
Some pitfalls when transport exhibits to shows:  Some of you use a car or utility vehicle and trailer combination. That the police are actively checking whether the driver has the correct licence to tow the trailer and if the trailer's weight is within maximum authorised for the towing vehicle is common knowledge.
However, when driving a seven and half ton or larger lorry, being flagged down by VOSA for a roadside check is a pain as they can nearly always find something wrong if they really want to. Usually it is just an inconvenience and one is soon on back on the road.
This was not the experience of one of our members who was pulled in at the VOSA Harlow site recently.  He had a tractor on the back and a small van in tow, nothing mechanically was found to be amiss but he was still detained for a couple of hours.  The upshot was that he was told that he should have been using his tachograph and that he could not tow the van any further, he was then allowed continue with the lorry, but had to return with another vehicle to collect the van.  He has a licence entitling him to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to eight and a quarter tons and had completed a tachograph exemption form; there has been no notice of intended prosecution to date, altogether a very unsatisfactory state of affairs as he does know not what, if any misdemeanour he may inadvertently have committed.
Tachograph regulations have long been a grey issue and the law governing their use has evolved over the years following legislative changes and the courts interpretation of them.  I have since asked several people what the rules regarding tachographs and drivers hours actually are and received as many differing replies.  VOSA's publication "Rules on Drivers Hours and Tachographs" (Revised 2011 GV262-03) the most recent document I could find, clearly states that vehicles or combinations of "Vehicles with a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 7.5 tons used for non-commercial carriage of goods." are exempt. Another government publication states that "Vehicles manufactured more than twenty five years ago" are similarly exempt from these regulations.
This is as far as I have got, but I am still researching what the definitive regulations actually are and hope to be able to clarify the matter in the next issue, we all hope to stay within the law and certainly do not wish to fall foul of it by mistake.  However if any of you know the answer please give me a call, in the mean time do take care.

From Around the Country:
The Stebbing Road Run: Dick Hughes reports, who together with Mac Beanland, are the joint organisers of this event, which has  become part of the annual calendar for events in this part of the world.
Sunday 14th May dawned with  wet misty rain. However, the BBC weather forecast was good and by mid-morning the sky was clear. Forty assorted tractors of which nearly half were Ford related, assembled at David Hunt's Farm at Great Bardfield, Essex. We were all here to take part in the 4th Stebbing Vintage Tractor Road Run.
The owners had come from as far afield as Lakenheath and Ipswich in Suffolk, Rochford and  East Mersea in Essex. The oldest belonging to our host David Hunt, was a 1939 Case model R, whilst the youngest, Chris Metson plus Dug's huge 1985 MB Trac, which managed to get itself jammed under a fallen tree on a remote byway. The other excitement that occurred en route was a Ford 6610 getting a flat tyre and a little grey Fergie breaking down with a fuel blockage requiring a tow back to base.
The journey took us along highways, byways and farm tracks in Bardfield Saling, Great Bardfield, Walthams Cross, the centre of Finchingfield (twice), Cornish Hall End, Little Sampford, Little Bardfield and back to the start across the fields, a distance of 25 miles.
On our return Janet Nicholls and her band of helpers had laid on refreshments.
As well as providing much fun for the participants, this year we were raising money for Essex Air Ambulance. The final figure of £5,815 exceeded that raised for our local Hospice last year.

Farming Through the Ages on 17th and 18th June: 
A rally organiser's nightmare is usually rain but not this weekend it was simply just too hot.  We had a brilliant line up of tractors the stars unquestionably being Roy's two very early M O Ms and, absolutely splendid they looked to, one restored and the other in its working clothes, both hitched to Oliver Number 2 ploughs. The line up included examples up to a New Holland TM, which does show how tractor design has changed over the years, not to mention the enormous increase in size.  But if you look at a Fordson F and then a state of the art New Holland the continuity of the basic underlying structure design is plain to see.
Club Prize Winners were:
Best in Show:Peter Mathewson Roadless Major
Best Unrestored:Roy Pratt Fordson MOM

Farm Machinery Preservation Society's Rally was held on 1st and 2nd June in the grounds of Melford Hall: 
The rally was back again this year, entries were slightly down, probably as a result of last year's cancellation, and exhibitors trying other venues as a result.  However, there was a good display of Ford and Fordson tractors starting with a couple of F's, both of which ran really nicely, right up to a New Holland, arranged in age order on the stand.
Nicholas Smith's F running on trembler coils
We had our own parade, but both rings were quite a bit smaller than in the past.
I gather there is a question mark as to whether the site will be available next year, it's loss would be a pity as traditional parkland sites are getting scarcer and scarcer.

Cambridgeshire Rally at Stow Cum Quy held on 23rd and 24th July: 
This is a much nicer site than its former home at Swavsey.  It is another venue where Fords and Fordsons are grouped round our marquee, both members and friends; in my book, it's the people and tractors that count not which club someone joins.  This year it was showery and on the Sunday our parade was caught by a cloudburst in the ring, that only resulted in the normal, good natured banter, no complaints we're just there to enjoy ourselves.
On a personal note I must thank Ray, Vanda and their team for their help getting Sue to hospital on the Thursday night, fortunately it turned out not to be serious and she was discharged the next afternoon, but a worrying time.

The Ross-on-Wye Societies Welland Rally held on 28th to 30th June: 
Unfortunately, Derek and Margaret, who usually run the Club stand at this rally were unable to attend, as Margaret is recuperating after a short spell in hospital but I am glad to report that she is well on the road to recovery.
Friday was on the damp side but it did not affect the shows running order. I thought the sale was a little disappointing, but as with any auction the lots are determined solely by the entries and consequently if the item you were searching for is there it's a different ball game.
Saturday was mostly sunny with a good gate, however, rain set in after the show closed but luckily cleared for the famous firework display; a fortunate window before setting in with a vengeance for the remainder of the night. Sunday started sunny but was very wet underfoot, consequently there was a limited programme with the tractor parade bought forward some three hours.
A Fordson N Industrial fitted with a P6
Bernard Lobb's County 1004
The afternoon helped dry the ground allowing people to leave for home in the evening without undue trouble.

The Stroud and Vintage Transport Club's Rally at South Cerney Airfield on 4th-6th July:
We had rather a mixed bag of weather. The days leading up to it were wet and very windy, however, Friday dawned bright and was not a bad  day of cloud mixed with sunshine and the odd spit of rain.
Though no ring parades there was plenty to walk round and see.  It's a big show with an entry of nearly eighty full size steamers, some sixty-five buses and coaches, about 366 cars, 277 motor bikes and 277 tractors, together with a large military and several other sections.
Saturday was a day of warm sunshine and very sharp showers but fortunately the tractor parade took place around lunchtime in glorious sunshine.

Andrew Green from Devon reports:
As I write this, we are very much in the midst of our local Show season and it never fails to amaze me the huge amount of work, dedication and expense involved in staging a one day Show and I heartily congratulate those organisers. Imagine the huge disappointment when an event is cancelled due to poor weather as happened very recently - just awful for all concerned.
We look forward in September and October to the local working days and ploughing events. Some of our boys are taking part in the National Ploughing Finals at Bishops Lydeard near Taunton over the weekend of 14th and 15th October and we wish them all the very best for an enjoyable and successful event.
Our Autumn and Winter evening get-togethers are looming  large and where on earth has this year gone!
  I have arranged the following dates with Whiddon Down Village Hall and I ask that you put them in your diaries now :- November 2nd and December 7th, both Thursdays and into 2018, January 24th and February 28th, both Wednesdays. I am currently working on the programme and would welcome ideas of what you might like to do and hear!  Well that's all for now and do keep in touch with me

The Ford & Fordson section at last year's National Ploughing Championship at York was, thanks to Roger Ingham's excellent organisation, a great success. There is a demand from members to have a regular Club section at the championships in future and the committee is happy to provide support but as the venue moves round the country the event's organisation must be lead by members from that area and members need to qualify to be eligible to take part in the normal way.
While at the Stroud Rally Bob Jeffrey had a chap, Bob of The Fairford, Filkins and Burford Ploughing Championships and Country Show who's match is held on the last Saturday of September.  Next year they would like to have a Club section at which members could qualify, anyone interested should contact
Bob on 01451 833636, or if you want to go this year give him a call.
East Kent ploughing Match at Isle of Thanet will be on 27th September, for details contact Rodney Gibson on 01795 841775
The Yeovil Ploughing Match and National will be held on Saturday 30th September at Stone Farm, Stone Lane, Yeovil. For further details contact Fred Anthony 07768 377612 or James Poole 07815 118279.
The Fairford, Faringdon, Filkins and Burford Ploughing Society's Annual Match will be held at Southrop, Lechlade, Gloustershire, GL7 3EA on Saturday 30th September.
Contact Bob Jeffrey on 01451833636 or or Megan Saunders
Southern Area FFA Ploughing Match is on 7th and 8th October at Hall Farm, Fornham St. Martin, for details contact Ken Bailey 07702 202311 or Henry Castle 01824 728422.
Entry forms may be downloaded from our website.
The Northern Area FFA Ploughing Championship will be on the 15th October, to be held at Northwold Farm, Worlaby by kind permission of the Godfrey family.
For more information and entry forms contact Martin Peacock on 07566 211011 or speak to Roger on 01937 531532.
The 67th British Ploughing Championships are on 14th and 15th October at Bishops Lydeard, near Taunton, Somerset, by kind permission of Ken Coles and family. Contact details are Fred Anthony 07768 377612 or James Poole 07815 118279, entries are now closed.

Shows and Rallies still to come:
A working weekend on 2nd and 3rd September will be held at Rix Farm Langham, Nr Colchester CO4 5NJ.  Bring your plough and practice or an implement and put your tractor to work.
Autumn Tractor World - will be on 7th and 8th October on the Newbury Show Ground.  It will be the second year for this event and the special features are 100 years of Ford and Fordson Tractors, all makes of farm machinery from the 1970's and all types of County and Roadless 4 wheel drive conversions.
Newark Vintage Tractor Show - will be held on 11th and 12th November at the Newark Show Ground.  This year's features are One Hundred Years of Ford and Fordson and perhaps of not quite so much interest to members The All British Auto Culto.

In the last magazine I said, and not for the first time, that I would be stepping down as Chairman next year.  Make no mistake I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the chair, particularly meeting so many members and working with your committee, who to a man (in this politically correct age   'am sure that phrase is verboten) have given me tremendous support and friendship. 
The reason is simple, by the next AGM at Tractor World I shall be just short of my seventy fifth birthday; my wife kindly says that I've worn tolerably well, but on looking in the mirror I'm not so sure. Anyway, there is a shed full of unfinished projects to complete, with some standing outside and this winter, just for starters, I must rebuild my lawnmower engine again. It's a John Deer 212 that I've had for some thirty years, it wasn't new when I bought it and with a couple of acres that require regular cutting it needs an engine rebuild every ten years or so.
I was elected chairman at the Club's Annual General Meeting in 2011 with the intention of serving for three years, so am now well past my sell by date. The Chairman's roll can be largely what you make it, everyone on the committee already has another Club duty to take care of which means that we are looking for someone to take over the chair.  Please give me a call if you might be interested and I can promise you that it really is a very rewarding experience and I will give you all the help and support I can.


If you have or know of anything of interest to other members. Don’t be shy if it interests you it will almost certainly interest others, so share it with us.