(05 December 2014, Antarctica). Day 14 ‘Tractor Girl’, Manon Ossevoort, Lead Driver on the Antarctica2 expedition, is now very close to achieving her dream of driving to the South Pole and is calling on others to share their own dreams with her.
After already driving a tractor from her home in the Netherlands to South Africa, and now having covered hundreds of kilometres across Antarctica on a Massey Ferguson MF 5610 tractor, she is on the final push to the Pole. When she arrives she plans to “hug the tractor and build a snowman!”
“This will be a very special snowman – not just because it’s on the South Pole, but inside its tummy I am going to place all the dreams I have collected from people from across the world I have met on the way,” she says.
There’s still time to share your dream on the Pole, she adds: “What’s your dream? What do you believe in? Send me a message and add #BELIEVEINIT or go to www.tractortractor.org and maybe we can give your dream a global stage. I’ll carry your dream on the back of the tractor and it will become part of this beautiful journey to the South Pole.”
There is, however, still a lot of ice to traverse on the MF 5610 tractor before she can build that snowman. While the team has had its fair share of harsh conditions, they have so far escaped the worst Antarctic weather. The team were concerned, but relieved, to hear that they missed a vicious storm at their departure point, Novo Runway, which had prevented all aircraft flying in and out of the continent. Similarly they were surprised to hear a similar storm had raged for four days previous to them arriving at a refuelling base.
But the good news is in the Antarctic summer the sun doesn’t set, so the team can make good progress by driving in shifts and travelling day and night. Manon shares much of the driving with Nicolas Bachelet, the Lead Mechanic from France.
“Nicolas is 24 years old – the same age as me when I started my first tractor voyage to South Africa.
Nicolas has been working with the Massey Ferguson tractor since the start and the preparation and has really taken it under his wing. When we first met a two years ago he was quite shy and quiet and didn’t speak much English, but on the expedition he has really opened up.
“He will jump into the tractor, shake the snow off his coat and check everything is OK. He is always looking and checking things and fixing anything before it could become a problem. It’s really good to have him around,” she says.
"I’ll carry your dream on the back of the tractor and it will become part of this beautiful journey to the South Pole."