Valtra takes win in 4.5-tonne Super Sport class

Ville Pitkämäki drove Hot Hunter to a somewhat unexpected victory in the 4.5-tonne Super Sport class at the European Championships in Stroe, the Netherlands. Hot Hunter was formerly known as Caesar as driven by Matti Herlevi. Super Sport tractors are similar to Pro Stock tractors except engine speed is limited to 3000 rpm and they can weigh one tonne more. A second Valtra tractor, Herkules XL from Denmark, also competed in the Super Sport class and came in tenth.


 “Mad-Croc Caesar had a small problem, while Green Apple had a late start and suffered from a slippery track. Mad-Croc Caesar came in eighth and Green Apple in tenth in the Pro Stock class,” reports Matti Herlevi.


The first day of the European Championships on Friday 8 September had to be cancelled due to rain. Showers continued on Saturday, so there was only time for a single pull in many classes. The rain did not bother the fans, however, as almost 20,000 spectators were on hand to enjoy the competition.


“Our tractors have a lot of power now and are in good shape technically. We’ve had some problems this season with grip, so we will try new tyres over the winter. We will also be respraying our tractors, as they were last painted back in 2014,” Herlevi adds.



Eyes now on European Championships after Euro Cup

The 2017 Euro Cup was somewhat of a disappointment for Team Herlevi this summer. Matti Herlevi came in ninth in the overall standings with Mad-Croc Energy, while his father Pekka came in 13th with Green Apple. According to the team, both tractors and drivers performed well throughout the season, but they were let down by the condition of the tracks.


“We simply couldn’t get any traction on the tracks in this year’s Euro Cup competitions. Especially in Putten the track was too hard, while in Brande we had a lot of rain. Of course, the conditions were the same for all the teams, but the weight distribution of our tractors is better suited for tracks with a lot of grip. When we redesigned our tractors in 2014, we purposely set up the weight distribution so that they would work better on grippy tracks. At the time it looked like the tracks were getting better with each year, but now they have gone in the other direction. If we would have known this, we would have designed our tractors differently,” comments Matti Herlevi.


While miracles cannot be expected by shifting the ancillary weights around, Team Herlevi hopes to achieve better results at the remaining competitions in Finland this summer by using a slightly longer hitch.


“Our tractors have an enormous amount of power now and are very reliable. The challenge is to transfer all of this power to the track. A few of our pistons failed at the start of the season, but we fixed that problem simply by ordering better pistons,” Matti adds.


Team Herlevi will compete in the European Championships in Stroe, the Netherlands, on 9 September with both tractors. Mad-Croc Energy qualified on the basis of points scored in the Euro Cup, while Green Apple has qualified on the basis of success in the Finnish Championships. Before the European Championships, Team Herlevi will participate in two more rounds of the Finnish Championships in Lappeenranta and Kalajoki.


“Stroe is a new venue for tractor pulling, so we don’t know what to expect regarding track conditions. We are preparing for the European Championships by making sure that our tractors are in perfect condition and that they are producing a lot of power. We will also see if we can improve traction at the remaining events in Finland by using the longer hitch or by other means.”



Team Herlevi to start the new pulling season with two tractors

The Herlevi family will be starting the 2017 tractor pulling season with two tractors. Peach Tea, formerly known as Doris, was sold to a Finnish buyer who plans to compete mainly in Finland to begin with.

Team Herlevi will be competing with Green Apple and Mad-Croc Energy. The team’s main drivers are Matti and Pekka Herlevi with Johanna Herlevi and Ville-Matti Vuollet standing by if needed.

The team’s ambitions are as high as ever. The Herlevis plan to compete in the European Championships, all rounds of the Euro Cup and any rounds of the Finnish Championships that do not conflict with the international meets. They will also compete in at least invitational meets before the start of the season and possibly more over the summer.

The season is quite long this year. It begins on 6 May with the first round of the Finnish Championship in Alahärmä and concludes with the European Championships in Store, Holland, on 8-9 September.