Dad, son set off on vintage machines

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TRAVELLING at 20km/h on vintage tractors from the 1950s over a distance of 480km is certainly not for the faint-hearted.

After a few beers, tractor lovers Matthew King, 20, and his father Wayne King made a pledge to drive on their tractors from Stutterheim to Cradock and back for the annual Cradock Agricultural Show.

A puncture to the back wheel of one of the tractors the night before was not enough to put the father-and-son team off their adventure.

MIGHTY FEAT: Matthew King, left, and his father Wayne King, centre, on their 480km tractor journey from Stutterheim to Cradock and back for the Cradock Agricultural Show. Driving into Cradock with the Kings is Louis Erasmus, who drove a section of the road with them from his farm outside Tarkastad

After fixing the puncture and hitting the road a little later than anticipated, off they headed for Cathcart.

Along the way, interested motorists stopped to take photos with the men and their tractors.

Matthew’s 1952 John Deere A ran off 120 litres of paraffin along the 13-hour, one-way trip.

Wayne drove a John Deere 720 from 1956, which runs on two-cylinder power and made the trip on 80 litres of diesel.

“I love fixing things and a lot of the older tractors have an amazing story behind them.

“One was found under a handyman’s tree …

“Most people nowadays would just use them for scrap metal, but I love fixing them up and learning how things have advanced,” said Matthew, who works as a diesel mechanic at Tractor World in East London.

The men said the heat was by far the biggest hurdle, hitting 38°C on a dirt road off the N6 near Queenstown.

Just 10km outside Tarkastad, they were stopped by another vintage tractor collector, Louis Erasmus, who joined the pair on his tractor for the remaining kilometres to Cradock, and insisted they spend the night at his home.

“Who said tractors can’t make friends?” asked Wayne, after experiencing Erasmus’s hospitality.

“What can beat a father-and-son trip? Our journey proves to others that old tractors can do what modern-day vehicles can do.”

Matthew said: “The highlight of my trip was making the journey with my father and arriving in Cradock knowing that we have got there despite the heat and mechanical difficulties.

“It was so beautiful in the mountains near Commando Drift, seeing the animals and nature and people’s farms.”

The men joined the Vintage Tractor Association stand at the show for one day, before heading home again.

But they won’t stop there. Next time, they aim to drive more than 1000km to the small town of Clocolan in the Free State and back to Stutterheim.

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