Unexpected and very challenging weather conditions tested Britain’s ploughmen and women in the 68thBritish National Ploughing Championships at Austrey, near Atherstone, Warwickshire last weekend.
Peter Alderslade from East Bolden, Tyne & Wear won the British National Reversible Champion title for the seventh time using a Valtra/Kverneland combination. It was an extremely close contest as Peter beat last year’s Champion, Mick Chappell, from Yorkshire who was using a Kubota tractor and Kverneland plough by just one point and four points ahead of another previous champion, Ian Brewer from Cornwall who took third place with his Case IH and Kverneland.
The British National Conventional Championship was won by David Chappell from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, winning the title for the fifth time. David ploughed with a Massey Ferguson tractor and a Kverneland plough which has been painted pink as he has been raising money and awareness for Breast Cancer Now through #PloughForLife. Runner-up was ex-world champion, Simon Witty from Filey, North Yorkshire and third place was taken by Evan Watkin from Newton, Powys.
In the vintage sections, Ray Alderson from Darlington, County Durham who ploughed with an International B275 and Ransome RSLD plough, won the Vintage Trailing Championships. Second place was John Crowder from Torksey, near Lincoln and third place was Trevor Johnstone from Wigton, Cumbria.
The Vintage Hydraulic Championship was won by local man, Richard Ingram from Atherstone, Warwickshire, who had his faithful companion, his dog Joey by his side on his Massey Ferguson 35 tractor all day. He is a previous champion and trounced the opposition with a 31 point lead over George Black from Earlston, Berwickshire and Phil Allman from Stafford was third.
Dogs must be a lucky charm, as spaniel Rosie rode with Herefordshire’s Jon Cole as he took the Vintage Classic title for the second year in a row with his Nuffield 10/42 and Ransome TS86, beating two Yorkshiremen, David Thominson into second place and Carl Fretwell into third.
The other main titles over the weekend were the Overall Horse Ploughing Champion which was won by Jim Elliott from Stanley, County Durham who had won on both days; the overall High Cut Ploughing Champion which was won by Shaun Garrod from Norfolk; the overall Young Farmers Champion which was won by Stuart Vickers from Sarn, near Malpas, Cheshire and the overall Vintage Champion, won by Richard Ingram.
The Supreme Championship title is judged independently from the Championship winners and was won by David Chappell. It was a family affair as the trophy he won was the Ken Chappell Trophy and his brother Ken presented it to him.
Another family to take note of was the Vickers family from Cheshire. Dad Nigel was placed 4thin the conventional championship, mum Janet, was the proud winner of the David Brown class and son Stuart was 5thin the conventional championship and also won the YFC Championship.
As Storm Callum hit the country, high winds on the first day followed by rain on the second day challenged not only the competitors but the organisers and everyone taking part in other capacities at the event. Unfortunately many of the trade stands and shopping stalls were unable to erect their marquees and gazebos in the high winds on the first day and on the second day heavy rain forced the Steam Plough Club, who had 23 engines taking part in their Great Steam Challenge, to abandon their plans on the Sunday.
Sue Frith, Chief Executive of the Society of Ploughmen, organisers of the Championships said, “We are very grateful to our hosts, William Corbett Farms and John Upperdine for the loan of their land but we are so disappointed that the weather was against us this year. We were delighted to be back in Warwickshire and all the signs were showing we would probably have had record crowds but it just wasn’t to be”. She also thanked the event sponsors, Firestone, Maxam, Briarwood Products, Cheffins, Cotterill Drainage, Howkins & Harrison, Ivor King and Sharnford Tractors. “Without the help and support of our sponsors and our volunteers who travel from all over the country to be with us, it would be impossible to stage the Championships.”
Full results can be found on www.ploughmen.co.ukand the organisers are hoping for better weather at next year’s Championships which will be held at Nocton, Lincoln on 12th& 13thOctober 2019 by kind permission of Beeswax Dyson Farming.