Collie's Russell Mehrtens victorious in Victorian and Australian Mouldboard Ploughing Championships

VINTAGE VICTORY: Don Tomlinson, Russell Mehrtens and Gerald Richings all shone at recent ploughing championships. Photo contributed.
VINTAGE VICTORY: Don Tomlinson, Russell Mehrtens and Gerald Richings all shone at recent ploughing championships. Photo contributed.

Collie's Russell Mehrtens has returned home victorious following the recent Victorian and Australian Mouldboard Ploughing Championships.

Driving his 1970s Fiat 450 tractor and New Zealand-built 1960s Clough two-furrow mouldboard plough, Mr Mehrtens won the Vintage Section in the Victorian and national events.

Held at North Wonthaggi between May 9 and 11, the events brought together competitors from around Australia, with fellow members of the WA contingent Don Tomlinson (Albany) notching up third place and Gerald Richings (Bridgetown) placing fourth in the nationals.

A three-time winner of the WA event, Mr Mehrtens drove a semi-trailer across Australia loaded with his and other competitors' equipment, stopping at Colac to practise ahead of the championships.

Some of the conditions at the championships were a little challenging, Mr Mehrtens said.

"It rained like hell at Wonthaggi. We had our wet pants and coat on which made it a bit more difficult getting on and off the tractor," he said.

"A storm came through and delayed things for about half an hour while it was bucketing down but after that we just went back to it and got on with it."

Competitors are judged on several criteria including the quality of their opening split, straightness, uniformity, depth, consistency and finish as they plough a 100m x 20m area, with points allocated for different facets.

Mr Mehrtens, 69, said he ploughed as a child, helping his father on the farm in New Zealand, and did not plough for several decades before taking up competitive ploughing just six years ago.

"Some people like footy or golf; I like ploughing," Mr Mehrtens said.

"It's a test of concentration and I like competing against myself and others."

Mr Mehrtens said while the sport attracted "mainly older fellas", there were a few young ones showing interest and the one thing participants all had in common was that they were "nice blokes who loved tractors".

Meanwhile Collie residents have the opportunity to see competitive ploughing firsthand at a special day set to take place at Chad and Jess Tilbrook's Coalfields Highway property on June 15.

"We're inviting all the WA people who are interested to come along and we're going to have a competition," Mr Mehrtens said

"We'll have practice for those who are unfamiliar with the competition and we'll help those who are just learning to set up..

Anyone interested can contact Don Tomlinson on 0427 366 040, Gerald Richings on 0428 611 617 or Mr Mehrtens on 0408 931 945.