In an unusual competition, tractors raced to a finish line in Rostov, Russia—at the 17th annual Bizon Track Show.
Tractor drivers, who have been working the fields, got to compete neck in neck at the Bizon Track Show, the only official tractor race in Russia.
One of the aims of the annual show is to attract more young people and create interest in the agricultural business.
“On your mark, get set, go!” Engines revved, the tractors took off at high speed.
While tractors normally operate at around 25 miles per hour, the racing speed will triple that.
Tournament organizer Sergey Sukhovenko explained, “I did motor racing, on a serious level, and participated in the Championship of Russia, in the World Cup, at the same time.”
He continued, “Now, my business is connected with agriculture. It was at this junction of motor racing, speed, and agriculture, that the idea to make a race on tractors was born.”
There were 33 participants this year; all of them ordinary farmers and operators of rural machines. For some, it is their first time.
Ten riders are selected for the final races.
Sukhovenko explained, “Drivers are ordinary machine operators who work on tractors. More than half of the tractors are the ones that worked just three to five days ago in the field.”
The 6.2-mile racetrack is covered by gravel and soil. Drivers maneuver sharp corners, springboard jumps, and splash through pools of mud to show off their best skills.
As organizers do not restrict upgrades, racing tractors can be modified to increase their power, speed, and stability.
Many install turbochargers, air-cooling systems, or add high-pressure fuel pumps and make changes to gearboxes and other tractor elements. Aviation kerosene is often added to the fuel tank. Safety belts are a must because tractors are prone to topple over during the race.
Although the race is open to both men and women, there are more men participants. Since 2002, there were only two female participants.
Champion Vyacheslav Mironov knew too well that one wrong move could mean losing a race.
The Rostov local government awarded the first three winners with new tractors.
Mironov got to take home a Russian-Czech tractor, while winners for the second and third place each received a Minsk tractor.
Includes reporting from The Associated Press