Meet Shawn Luxton, a Tractor Pull competitor who’s been revving at the Fieldays Tractor Pull competitions since 2008. Shawn is also this year’s winner of the weight adjusted class competition, the speed fanatic’s favourite.
The weight adjusted competition is more like drag racing than the usual Tractor Pull, and it is generally only run at Fieldays. The tractors are weighted with sledges according to horsepower (45 kilograms per kilowatt), then it’s down to a sprint to the finish line.
Shawn is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to tractors, especially John Deere ones, as he’s a service mechanic for AGrowQuip, a John Deere dealership in the Waikato and Auckland regions.
He doesn’t just work on tractors though. He looks after a wide range of agri-machinery, from cultivators, balers, and harvesters, to fertilisers, earth-moving equipment, and mowers. Having been in the business coming up 20 years, Shawn knows his stuff and loves the challenge his role brings.
“I enjoy working on a wide variety of machinery, and the problem-solving element of my job, diagnosing what the issue is and getting to the bottom of it.
“The kind of machinery we work on changes with the seasons too. This time of year, we’re doing winter maintenance and the odd farmer’s breakdown. In spring, there’s a fair bit of maize planting and grass chopping going on, and autumn’s pretty hard out with maize harvesters and that sort of thing.”
For those that get excited about working with a range of agri-machinery and equipment and meeting people across the industry, a career as a service mechanic might be for you. They are in high demand within the primary sector and a vital component enabling farmers and growers to efficiently produce New Zealand’s food and fibre.
Shawn says a lot of his customers compete in the Fieldays Tractor Pull as well, and they bring their tractors to get serviced and dyno tested before the big day.
He says the competition is also a good opportunity for him to catch up with his customers, and often, the tractors he’s worked on make it to the finals.
In this year’s weight adjusted competition where Shawn took out first place, the finals were down to Shawn and Tractor Pull organiser, Daniel Reymer.
Shawn’s winning tractor is a 1998 John Deere 7810. It has 15,000 hours on the clock and is still going strong. He says the engine and the weight of the tractor is well suited to the track, and that worked in his favour.
“It was a really close race, I thought he was going to get me in the end. But it rained at the exact right time, it was all a bit of luck really – the weather and the track conditions were on my side.”
Shawn will be holding his weight adjusted class title until Fieldays 2022 when the boy racers of the farming world will go head-to-head again.
Fieldays will be back 15 – 18 June next year and will undoubtedly be packed with more roaring action.
Those who know their way around a tractor should keep their eyes peeled for the entries opening in 2022, and the opportunity to join Shawn and Daniel in the Tractor Pull across the weight transfer, weight adjusted, modified, and pre 85 categories. Who knows, with a good set of wheels, good weather conditions, and a bit of luck, the odds might be in your favour!