Mittwoch, 9. November 2016

The story behind Wind Up!

How did the construction of Wind Up! happen?

Behind Wind Up! is a team.
This currently mainly consists of Thomas Tönies, Kai Uwe Wegner, Christoph Raker, Sascha Mecking and the Tönies family (because without Theo, Ida, Granny & Grandpa Tönies we wouldn't get anywhere).
Also on board we have Thorsten Schlarbaum, Bernd Raker and Jürgen Sanders, who are helping when they can, but have other obligations in life, too.

The pivot point in the team is probably Sascha Mecking (so - that would be me - at least I have to pay all the bills).

I got into Tractor Pulling in the late 70s (I can't really remember it clearly, as I was a kindergarten kid) through my dad.
As a child / teenager I won 3 German championship titles in Micro Pulling and later on, as a young adult, added another German title in Garden Pulling.
By the age of 18 (also through my father) I got into the Green Monster Team, where I could add my smart ass comments for the next 15 years.
Basically I did parts procurement, asking smart people questions, learn and teach, doing the methanol injections and adding a good idea here and there. Basically involved in everything, but thanks to being all thumbs - not really so.
This methanol stuff however was fun and I got my fingers into several systems in other teams (e.g. Le Coiffeur, It Kypmantsje, Starlight Express and some more I don't want to put here).
After figuring out you can't make a living on this and nobody thanks you for it anyways, I pulled pack from being "on track and in the workshops" and somehow ended up in the tractor pulling politics.
My main focus was to give the sport a future base in Germany. So attracting new, young people, new events and get some life back into the old association.
The result is now called the "Farm Pulling series" in Germany and it develops just great - but it's all diesel tractors.

But at the bottom of my heart I am modified puller. It's gotta be effective (pull the sled with the least effort) and that's where diesel fails.
So it also has to go on with modified tractors in Germany. Something for the young folks!
"But they are all scared!"
Hey - it ain't that hard!

After a job related move back to my old home north Germany I was without a workshop and a team. Unbearable situation - because boring!

Something I had to do and new, young modified teams had to be motivated.

One day, exchanging info about / finding parts for Allisons and talking methanol set ups I ran into the Otte family from Nebraska which is operating two Allison powered modified tractors in Nebraska.

Father Bowdie back then was building a new 3-engine Vortec V8 puller with his students.
WOW - I loved that project. Stuff from the junkyard with potential used on a pulling tractor, young folks involved. Exactly what I was looking for!

Otte's then did some more a little later:
First a 4- engine tractor and then for Andrew Beckmann a tractor with two Vortec Turbo engines was built.
Really simple and runs really well.

"Damn... I can do that, too!
Document it all and show the young folks how it's done without much of an expensive effort!"

That was the "mental birth" of Wind Up!.

After a totally unexpected offer of the Black Diamond Hot Farm Team from Markhausen/Friesoythe regarding workshop and transportation and with Kai Uwe a buddy from the "very old days" (by now an engineer) joining in, the foundation was laid. We got everything we need!

But first I had to save up some money and then we could start slowly.

In spring 2016 we bought the rolling chassis of "Madam" from Denmark. Basically because of the Kippley gear box but a rear end and some wheels came with it, too.
That was something for a start.

The first idea of using the old chassis turned out to be quite a backlash: Too small and the roll cage didn't fit real boys over 200lbs...
So - off to plan B: Building a new chassis.

From various teams (Final Destionation, Le Coiffeur, Knock Out, Iwan, Green Monster, the Eagle,...) we received a hell lot of support with parts they had no use for anymore.

Blake Otte in the US helped gathering parts, too...

My Canadian cousin Joris found two LQ4 Chevy V8s in New Brunswick (for 1500 $ CAN) and during the summer of 2016 we kept collecting parts, so we could actually start building Wind Up! in the fall of 2016.

In the photo album you'll find pictures of how we put this all together.

We hope to make it to the track in 2017 and improve the machine over time (turn up the boost).
The tractor is build in modules, so we can swap individual components for more modern parts in the future and add one or two engines in the future.

This doesn't necessarily make the tractor "dirt cheap" now, because we try to save some weight (for lim mod only we could have gone with a stock Fuller transmission or even a tractor rear) and further options don't hurt.

Basically we mainly want to run the new lim mod in Germany but also dare to hook in light mod once in a while, even though we're badly out-powered there. But others have been in that situation before and those who never start won't develop any further.

Hopefully we're not getting boo-ed off the track if we'll be stuck at 150 ft.
How much further we're going to play the horsepower game depends a lot on future perspectives. We know HOW to do that. But at least I know what it means to chase titles and points and then coming to work tired in the morning

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