This year the theme for the rally was ‘Made in Great Britain’ and organisers welcomed for the first time The Land Rover Club who were in their element in the main ring showing off their multiple 4x4 skills and rare models. “It’s not just vintage tractors and steam and traction engines”, explains Edward. “We have a lot of military vehicles here as well as a local war re-enactment group who have brought many local historical war items here on display.”

The future of the club looks bright with Edward’s continued passion and enthusiasm for encouraging younger generation participation. “A friend of mine who’s an exceptional ploughman, Max Cherry always says that we must keep the younger people interested in the tractors as we are only ever custodian to them”, says Edward. “They will outlive us as they’ve outlived their owners before.”

Following two weeks on from Haynes, runs the popular Stotfold Mill Steam Rally (5th-6th October) where there is plenty on display mixed with the glorious nostalgic smell of soot and smoke.

“I have been showing here every year since the rally started, a part from the first one”, recalls exhibitor Peter Wheeler from Sandy. “There’s three generations of us here today and we’re showing our threshing drum which is being driven off a traction engine owned by family friends. I like to be doing things at shows, not just sitting in a deckchair and I often

demonstrate my dynamometer that will tell you how many horsepower a machine is working at.”

As well as old machines, there are plenty of mint, miniature and downsized reproductions on display including a Fowler 10NHP Road Locomotive and a

Ian Couchman

Ransomes threshing drum where all the parts are scaled down from the full size model and fabricated by hand. “I have cast or machined every part of the drum”, says Ian Couchman. “I went down to a local farm where they had the original machine parked up and I took measurements from there, I had to battle my way through lots of spiders and mice with my camera and tape measure! The hardest part to make was the two crankshafts that had to be absolutely identical in order for the whole machine to work.”

Following a night of rain there was plenty of action and banter to be found out in the ploughing and cultivating demonstration fields. “This is a Caterpillar D4 7J 1941 and Ransomes three furrow plough, the crawlers are definitely fairing better on this heavy ground”! laughs

Caterpillar enthusiast Steve Edwards. “This Caterpillar came over from the states at the start of World War II to build our runways, after the war had ended a lot of the left over machines went into farming.”

Moving on to true horsepower, crowds were treated to meet Monty the Shire and Logie the Clydesdale whilst they set to pulling a traditional horse drawn fire

engine.“I was a craft teacher at Norton School in Letchworth, I was looking for a project that less academically minded kids could get stuck into and that’s when a friend told me about a derelict fire engine sitting in a barn”, says Kevin Wheeler. “I bought the engine and it was all restored by teenage kids over three years in the workshops of Norton School. The kids and I started going to rallies and even got invited to the East of England Show.

These ex pupils are now in their late fifties but they still come up to me at rallies or in the local pubs and recall with fondness their time spent working on the engine.” Another well attended demonstration is that of a traction driven saw bench. “This is an Advance-Rumley that was brought over from America by it’s owner Hadrian Spooner”, says Tom McCauley. “My friends are working the saw bench and are just feeding some chestnut through at the moment which can take up to half an hour to cut approximately a ten foot trunk. Yes, things can go wrong mechanically but that’s all part of the fun, we just love what we do.” Bedfordshire’s love of their heritage is evident from the enthusiasm still shown by show organisers, exhibitors and revellers. The strong farming community and lovers of anything with an engine from military to steam continue to thrive, coming together annually in and around the fields of the county with the emphasis very much being on the encouragement of the youth. To conclude with the words of Max Cherry. “We must keep the young interested in vintage machines because we are only custodian to them, these machines will outlive us all............”

Report by Charley Snowdon

Steve Edward on his Caterpillar Please mention THE VINTAGE SCENE when responding to advertisements NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 9

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