THE PERTH Tractor Pull Association has many members who are into racing modified V8 tractors on a sand strip pulling a moving weight. The sport started out years ago by farmers having a beer and bragging about who had the fastest, toughest tractor. Now days it’s a full blown sport. There are still a few farmers involved but many are now methanol junkies, pulling these massive V8 fuel injected, blown motors into specially designed tractors; others stick with a moderately worked V8 engine, keeping a budget in mind.
These men take their sport seriously; they run different classes depending on their engine size and weight. The aim of this sport is to pull a sled that runs a weight which slides as the sled is pulled, so there is gradual weight gain for the tractors up to a distance of 200 metres.
There are two different size sleds, one runs 6.1—14 tonne; the other runs 14 plus—22 tonne, so at the start of the run the sled is at its lowest weight, and by the end its at its heaviest. May the biggest meanest tractor pull it the furthest distance and be the winner.
The most popular class is limited modified which is limited to a 360 cube motor and a minimum weight of 800 kg. In other classes one fella runs two motors, both 350s, with an 18-speed Road Ranger gearbox. Another fella, Blitza, runs a 351 with an F250 gearbox on the front and a tractor gearbox behind so he’s got more choices in his ratios for his final drive power.
These tractors normally start in second gear running a hand throttle and twin rear brake set-up, individual, to steer the tractor by braking (steering) with the rear wheels.
This is an exciting sport to watch and I recommend it to anybody. One fella Graham even let our fellow Ozbike photographer have a run down the strip in his limited class tractor. Richie was the envy of most spectators including myself.
The Beverly tractor pull and sand drag days are a great outing for any petrol head and family. Most fellas use these sand drag days for test and tune days for bigger races such as Bindoon and Westdale. Most competitors on these days are families with mum, dad and the kids racing; the kids just love it. The days are always combined with the sand drag bikes, Harleys, modified V8s, making it an exciting day.
If you ever get a chance to visit a tractor pull or sand drag event, don’t miss it. It’s not just a fast run down a drag strip—it’s about power, throttle control and self control; a heavy foot often bogs you down at the start making this a sport of strategies.
Words by Gazza; pictures by Richie & Gazza