Classic Fergies head up new tractor rally at Yorkshire museum

The Little Grey Fergie is perhaps the most iconic of all vintage tractors and one that the country calendar phenomena of the past 20 years '“ the tractor run '“ just would not be the same without.

Andy Trezise with his vintage Ferguson T E F tractor at the Yorkshire Museum of Farming at Murton Park near York.

There were several grey Fergies on the impressive Beadlam Tractor Run as it passed through Kirkbymoorside last Sunday and next weekend Harry Ferguson’s TE20; to give its official name, will be very much in evidence as the Friends of Ferguson Heritage organisation hosts its annual rally and run at the Yorkshire Museum of Farming in Murton near York.

Andy Trezise grew up next door to Walter Turton’s farm in the East Yorkshire village of North Newbald during the 1950s and 1960s. His father worked on another farm in the village. He recalls driving Ferguson and Massey Ferguson tractors as a boy and retains his love of them today. He currently owns three, is the East Yorkshire co-ordinator of the Friends of Ferguson Heritage and organiser of the forthcoming event at the museum where he is also a trustee. It is his passion. He is also chairman of the Wolds Vintage Group Rally that takes place in Fangfoss in July.

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“I didn’t follow my father into farming. I went into the building trade, which is what I still do today, but I remember driving tractors, ploughing, planting crops and taking up potatoes. I spent all my young days on the farm.

“It was by chance when I was in my 30s that I took on my own first grey Fergie and things have just gone from there. I had been doing a job for someone who it turned out couldn’t afford to pay me so I took his little grey Fergie instead.”

Andy’s first dabble with vintage tractors was not to last too long, but he was soon to be in amongst them again and he has not looked back since.

“We moved house and I decided to sell it as at that time I had nowhere to keep it. When my wife Sylvia and I were on holiday in Stratford upon Avon I went to a Friends of Ferguson Heritage show in Coventry. The organisation had only recently started and they were looking for a regional co-ordinator in Yorkshire. They took me on and I became a director, which I have ceased being now. It is now one of the largest clubs for vintage tractor enthusiasts with more than 5,500 members worldwide.”

Within a matter of months after selling his first Grey Fergie Andy made the decision to buy a Massey Ferguson 135. A couple of years later he purchased a Grey Fergie again. The bug had taken control.

“I’d taken the 135 on a few road runs and had an allotment at the time so I was putting it to use there. The same guy I’d bought the 135 from then sold me the TE20 and I now have a third one – a Massey Ferguson 165, which I bought from a man in Northallerton having been put in touch with him at the tractor rally at Newby Hall.

“The Grey Fergie is a 1955 model. The TE20 was near to the end of its production by then as they were manufactured from 1946-1956; the 135 is a 1970 model and the 165 from 1969. I’d always fancied having a 165 as that was the model I drove on Mr Turton’s farm. I’ve had them all done up and the Grey Fergie is now here at the museum. Vintage tractor rallies and tractor runs have become very popular. The first one I ever went on was a little rally at Riccal. I borrowed a friend’s tractor that day.”

While next weekend’s Friends of Ferguson Heritage rally and tractor run will see nowhere near as many Fergies and Massey Ferguson models such as the 135 and 165 as at the bigger rallies held at Newark in November, where over 150 will be on show, or at the Tractor Fest at Newby Hall in June the event at the Yorkshire Museum of Farming offers an ideal opportunity for those who want to get involved to ask questions and become part of what Andy describes as a very friendly fraternity.

“These are really good social events where we all come along for a nice time and love talking with people about the tractors, their history and their place in farming. We will have around 30 vintage tractors on display and although most will be Fergies and Massey Fergusons we don’t just stick to them. There will probably be David Browns, Nuffields and Leylands too as well as stationary engines, some commercial vehicles and a trike bike club from Wakefield.

“The Yorkshire Museum of Farming is the ideal place for a show like this because it’s where you expect to find old tractors and that’s why I approached the museum director Peter Draper nine years ago. Thankfully he was all for it and I’ve since become a museum trustee. I also now run the café here on a franchised basis. The museum is wonderful and with Dave Thirlwall, who runs the educational side that includes Saxon, Viking and medieval days through the Danelaw village, it is on the up. There’s so much potential here and our numbers are on the increase.”

Andy believes the current vintage tractor rally and road run craze will remain but warns of a possible hiatus in the future.

“I love going on tractor runs but I’ve been on them when it has rained all day and been wet through. On the Wolds run last year we pulled out of John Stonehouse’s farm at Burnby where we set off and it never stopped until the lunch break three hours later, but we also raise money for Yorkshire Air Ambulance and doing that lifts your spirits.

“I think the next 10-15 years will see the craze continue but once the older ones retire the younger people coming next may not have the same enthusiasm as they weren’t born with these types of tractor.

“Those who want to drive what are being used today or over the past 20 years may not then be able to afford to maintain this computerised generation of tractors that now require diagnostic kits. That may quieten down the vintage scene a little.”

The Friends of Ferguson Heritage Rally and Tractor Run takes place at Yorkshire Museum of Farming next weekend, on May 13-14.