Tractor Girl reaches South Pole after five-year expedition [w/videos]

  • Image Credit: AGCO
Meet Manon Osservoort. She's a theater actress from the Netherlands, but she's better know as Tractor Girl. That's because she's undertaken an epic transcontinental journey in an agricultural tractor that started out in Holland five years ago and just ended at the South Pole.

To say that Osservoort's odyssey took five years wouldn't be accurate, but it has been quite a journey. She left her home town near Amsterdam in 2005, driving her tractor across Europe, and Africa and in an expedition that took four years. But when she reached Cape Town, South Africa, behind schedule, she missed the boat that was supposed to take her to Antarctica to complete her mission. She returned home dejected, but a year later secured sponsorship from tractor manufacturer Massey Ferguson to complete her journey.

The agricultural equipment company once based in Canada and now part of Duluth, GA-based AGCO, provided her with an MF 5610 tractor specially equipped to handle the snow and the harsh temperatures, and hooked up to a couple of trailers to carry fuel and spare tires. Osservoort called the tractor Antarctica2 in honor of Sir Edmond Hillary, who was the first to reach the South Pole by tractor (although he made the journey on tracks, not tires, and traded said tractor for a seat on a flight back to civilization). It took 16 days to travel the 1,500 miles from Russia's Novo base to the Pole, crawling at speeds between 0.5 and 6 miles per hour due to the extreme conditions.

Tractor Girl was joined on this final leg of her years-long journey by a mother-daughter team of arctic explorers from Canada, a mechanic from France, a videographer and a logistics coordinator from the UK, and drivers for the pair of specially prepared Toyota pickups.

So what comes next for Tractor Girl? It looks like she's done traversing the world on farming equipment, and is heading home to her airline-pilot partner and 10-month-old baby. But first she'll need to make it back to the coast. Fortunately the return leg is expected to be easier since they already blazed the trail and the tracks will now be frozen solid. Watch her long-awaited arrival at the South Pole in the videos below.

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