The organizators of the 1997 Bermbach walk behind tractor races had set out a nice circuit:
first they had made a path with holes, where the drivers had to be really careful. Several
drivers went through too fast, resulting in loosing control of the handles and falling off.
Next, skilled manouvring was needed to drive around some straw bales and fences. Damaging
or even touching any of these was rewarded with 15 plus seconds.
After a dexterity excercise the drivers could show the speed of their gear on a ca. 100 metres
long piece of road. Having finished this, the co-driver had to change a wheel on the Austin
Every year, the last part of the circuit consists of a Schlammloch, a mud pool
(loosened ca. 40 cms. deep with a rotary cultivator and then made wet). This is great fun
for the audience, as this is where the tractors can show what they are worth under bad
conditions... This is a small Solo cultivator, with wheels mounted in the place of the
cultivating tools. These are very light, fast and tractable!
There was no complaining about the size of the audience: the place was real crowded (behind
the fences of course).
Luckily there was plenty of beer and Bratwurst to make them stay all day!
Here are my father and me after participating. My father's 1962 Holder E6 (6 hp Sachs
two stroke petrol engine) was clean before we
started! Partly due to a temporarily stuck brake we ended on the 8th place in the
Formule I class (=cultivators with over 5 hp petrol engine).
There was another competitor from the Netherlands: Theo op den Kelder, living ca. 30 min. from
us. He used one of his 30 Hummel tractors, with a 12 hp (or more?) Sachs two stroke
diesel engine of ca. 1962. The Saturday before the races was spent trying the Hummel on the
roads and in the forest around Bermbach.
As mentioned before, some of the drivers lost control over their tractor. This one went so
fast around a corner that he shifted towards the side of the bench, and fell off. All
participants are due to fit a safety switch to their ignition system, so that the engine
immediately stops if the driver goes in another direction than the tractor. So far, no
severe personal injury has occurred.
All tractors driven by ladies competed in a seperate class. It consisted of only one team this
year, but they drove twice anyway. In this class, additional help at the mud pool was allowed, without
adding penalty seconds.
Wolfgang Baum's Bungartz H4 almost managed to disappear in the mud!
This heavy piece of equipment had no difficulty whatsoever with the mud. In fact, two passengers
had to travel along to compensate for the large weight of the machine. Powered by a four
stroke Farymann engine.
Where so many different machinery is present, rare cultivators inevitably occur. This is one I
had heard of, but never seen: a Willmes H2 with 2½ hp Sachs engine, built ca. 1962.
Also a rarity, not the tractor but the engine: a Berning Di10 four stroke diesel engine,
10 hp at 3000 rpm, from 1962. Note the fuel supply pump powered by the air intake. The
tractor is a Schmiedag.