Driving a 500hp Super Mini Modified tractor – video

Matt Wood has a crack at piloting the Super Mini Modified tractor, part owned by Kelvin "Jobbo" Jobling as a part of Team Outlaw

Photographers: Andrew Britten

Jobbo must be a good bloke, because he didn’t bat an eyelid when I asked if I could have a crack at piloting the Super Mini Modified tractor he part owns as a part of Team Outlaw.

super mini modified tractor 1Team Outlaw itself consists of Kelvin “Jobbo” Jobling, a former Aussie champion puller, as well as Melbourne-based teammates Bob Kinnersley and Kenny Patterson.

super modified mini tractor engineSo I rocked up to Quambatook – the spiritual home of Aussie pulling – for a bit of a rundown on what’s involved in dragging an 850kg sled 100 metres down a dirt track. Jobbo walked me through it. Firstly, don’t crash. Secondly, don’t back off or the sled will catch you – this can apparently get rather nasty. Thirdly, keep the front wheels on the ground.

Super modified mini tractor engine 2I reckon one of the more challenging things about tractor pulling is writing about it without giggling like a schoolkid every time I use the word pull. It’s a sad indictment on my maturity really, but what do they expect when the sport is littered with terms like “full-pull” or “pull-off”?

super modified mini tractorThe tractor itself is named “Hopeful”. It’s a Super Mini Modified and uses a tunnel-rammed, 500hp 383ci Chev stroker for motivation. A 3500rpm stall converter-equipped Powerglide tranny gets those gee-gees to a Toyota Stout diff to turn those beefy competition tyres. In the mini classes a Ford 9-inch is the most popular diff, but it requires a new gear set to get the right ratio for hauling. The old 6.2:1 Stout item is a cheaper way of getting the gearing without going for big dollar components.

super modified mini tractor - plugI’ve been wanting to have a pull for a while now, so Jobbo let me take Hopeful for a spin bob-tail before having a crack in competition at the Diesel and Dirt Derby in Keith, South Australia. Without a sled on the back these things are a loud, barely controllable riot, and they don’t really have much in the way of brakes. Good thing it was a big paddock. I’ve got this…

Photographers: Andrew Britten