I don’t know what happened to this year’s build but we were very late, in fact the guys were still spraying as we pulled out of the shed, all the road-crew were covered in wet paint pulling the cart out. Although this was nothing compared to the amount of spray on those who spent all night finishing the cart.
The first job after getting the cart out was to head up to the air-field for a brake-test. But before this we had to fix the indicators which let us down again. The airfield was wet and slippery but we still managed to achieve the required levels. After a round of chips we headed off to town.
All was going well as we passed through the village but just passed the Chedzoy turning there came a call from Steve in the decorated tractor to say that “something had let go”. It turns out that no.2 piston had let go and the decorated tractor was stuck!
The decision was made to take the cart and gennie into the line-up and try to get the decorated tractor into the Half-Way Inn car-park. A “big thank-you” to Tim Burbridge and Ken Boobyier for coming out to help in the pouring rain! With their help we got the engine running to provide hydraulic power to the steering and Tim towed the cart up to the pub.
Later we caught up with the rest of the club and the cart in Parkway, where there was a lot of disspointed club members. So much work had gone into getting the tractor ready over the past 48hrs, several members had even worked through the last two nights, is was gutting to have to leave it behind.
The dissapointment changed to tension as the gennie was fired-up and many of the circuits were switched on for the first time (I told you we were running late). Fair play to the electricians, most of the lighting circuits worked first time and those that didn't were repaired as we moved up to the start, some new circuits were even wired in for the first time with only 300yds to go to the start.Sadly some of the motor control didn't work as advertised and there was a certain amount of "I told you so" rumbling through the club.
But we were there at the start and we were going to enjoy it!
Despite the damp conditions the crowd was enthusiastic, although not long after we started word came over the radio that the motorway had been closed due to an accident which was going to mean getting out at the end of the procession was going to be difficult (we just didn’t know how difficult).
As we came down the finishing straight it started to get foggy and the rumours about the accident were getting more and more horrific.
Once we had finished and got all the performers off we made our way up the A38 to North-Petherton, but it wasn’t long before we were all stopped by the marshals as a number of emergency vehicles came past us. Finally then we were all moved into a short stretch of road between two round-a-bouts. The only problem with this was that Gary’s car (our only way of getting home) was now blocked in by 50, 100ft long carts and their support vehicles! Despite only owning his new VW for just 2 weeks Gary finally found a route over kerbs and round road-signs to get us home.
What a night it had been, but we made it home that night and sadly some didn’t…
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friend of those who lost their lives that night.