Big tractors set new record

This unique event also raised a considerable sum for a cancer charity. Joe Spencer reports.

Big tractors set new record
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Case IH Quadtrac owners from across the UK gave up one of the summer’s best harvest days on 28 July to gather their machines at Limestone Stud in Lincolnshire and raise more than £20 000 (about R260 000) for Cancer Research UK. In the process, they set a new Guinness World Record for the largest number of such tractors simultaneously at work.

Stepping in at short notice, Graham Rowles Nicholson of Limestone Stud, a director of various agricultural businesses in England, Ireland and South Africa, offered his farm as the venue for this fund-raising drive. The event was the brainchild of Neil Maddison and Helen Rainthorpe of JJR Farms near Lincoln. A tractor driver, Neil has operated Quadtracs for JJR Farms for many years, and Helen gave up a career in teaching to manage her family’s business after the premature death from cancer of her father, John, two years ago.

Well known in British farming circles for using the latest technology to grow crops in a cost-effective, yet environmentally-friendly way, John Rainthorpe was a keen proponent of the pivot-steered, rubber-tracked, high-horsepower Case IH Quadtrac. Hence Helen’s unique way of commemorating her father’s memory and raising funds for cancer research.

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The money was raised in a number of ways. Case gave a generous donation, while stands were sponsored and raffle tickets sold to win a model Quadtrac donated by Britains Toys. Each Quadtrac paid to register and several sought sponsorship and donated larger sums of money. The largest amount came in the form of individual donations on the day.

A mighty roar

At exactly 1.30pm, the drivers, with each of their machines coupled to some form of cultivator, fired up their tractors and travelled away from the crowds to the opposite end of the field, whereupon they turned, lowered their implements and powered towards the audience for seven minutes and 47 seconds with engines roaring, horns blaring and headlights blazing. The sound was mind-blowing.

Confirming the achievement

Helen Rainthorpe was presented with a certificate confirming that the total time that all the tractors were working together qualified for a new entry into the Guinness World Records, as adjudicated by a representative from the franchise. Each entrant received a replica of the certificate, and 1/32 scale model Quadtracs were given by Case IH marketing manager Charles Blessley to the drivers of the oldest tractors, those with the highest number of hours on the clock and the machines that had travelled the furthest in order to participate in this unique event.

With tractors from the earliest models of the mid-1990s up to the latest Quadtrac 600, claimed to be the most powerful production tractor on the market, almost all variants from the Quadtrac’s 16-year history were represented in the 50-strong field.
“We were delighted to help Helen Rainthorpe with her idea and do what we could to help generate as much money as possible for a very important cause,” said Blessley.

Further information on the Quadtrac Record and the cancer research funds it raised can be found at