As Santa and his reindeer prepare to take off from the North Pole, an AGCO Corp. tractor has just carried out an expedition across icy terrain to the opposite end of the world.
A modified Massey Ferguson MF 5610 tractor on Dec. 9 completed a 17-day, 2,500-kilometer (1,550-mile) journey to the South Pole updating an expedition undertaken by legendary British explorer Sir Edmund Hillary, who led the first mechanized trip to the South Pole using a Ferguson TE20 in 1958
But his ran on tracks; the MF 5610 was the first vehicle to travel on tires to the South Pole. The tractor model is made in Beauvais, France, and is used widely throughout Europe.
The Antarctica2 expedition was born when Massey Ferguson, a global tractor brand started in Canada but now owned by Duluth, Ga.-based AGCO, decided to sponsor Dutch actress Manon Osservoort’s stalled five-year journey to the end of the world.
Ms. Osservoort had started in Amsterdam with a 30-year-old tractor and a dream to travel to the end of the world, exploring the interwoven stories of humanity along the way. The “end of the world,” she said, could mean the South Pole or a desolate, war-torn country, depending on whom you ask. Ultimately, she wanted to inspire people globally to live their dreams despite adversity and fear, she said in a TEDx talk.
“Tractor Girl,” as she’s been dubbed, made it to South Africa but missed the boat that was to take her to a Russian research station on Antarctica to begin her journey. Massey Ferguson helped her dream become a reality, as she became lead driver and ambassador on the final expedition, which included other crew members.
She posted a video of her approach to the South Pole, tearful as she came to the end.
“I actually can’t believe it that we will make it in time for Christmas. Mentally I was just preparing that it would last until the 12th of January, but we’ve done such a good deal that we can go home for Christmas. Isn’t that cool? Well done, tractor,” she said.
The expedition returned on the same tracks it made coming down, speeding things up. Indeed, Ms. Osservoort and the team made it home Dec. 20.
The tractor used 650 gallons of fuel; its engine ran for 584 hours.
To learn more Watch her TED talk here.