Roy Robb: Back in the good old seat again

Roy at the wheel of his trusty Ferguson.

Roy at the wheel of his trusty Ferguson.

IT’s not about the horsepower, it’s about the man on the seat.
So says Roy Robb as he sits back and takes a break from ploughing a nine-acre field adjacent to his home at Killyclug, Letterkenny.
Sitting behind the wheel of his vintage 1955 Ferguson T20 tractor, Roy (63) rescued the tractor ‘from the ground’ back in 1970 – paying the princely sum of £150 – before lovingly restoring it to its present condition.
“I wouldn’t swap her for a new one – not a hope,” he smiles.
“She’s two years older than me and probably just as reliable. It’s never dirty. I always clean her up after a day in the field,” he explains.
It’s a big job for a small tractor and plough, but the Ferguson T20 is easily up to the job.
“I just ploughed the one field this year but I often take her out on vintage runs. I’m off to Burt on Saturday before we go to Carrigans on September 18 for a special Ferguson show. The last time we held it, two years ago, there were 734 working tractors in the one field at the one time.”
Boasting a top speed of 19mph, Roy’s T20 won’t be breaking records any time soon, but he’s in no rush.
“It will take me an hour to get to Burt this weekend but we’ll get there. It’s not about the horsepower it’s about the man on the seat. I’ve been driving tractors since I was twelve. It’s what I do,” he said.
Although it has taken him four days to plough the field, Roy explains that he has been taking his time.
“I was diagnosed with cancer and had three quarters of my lung removed in St James’ Hospital last November. I then had a lot of chemo in Letterkenny, which was sore, and I was lying low all winter. I was a bit short of breath but it’s great to get back out to the fields,” he said.
Married to Sheila, a Bridgend woman, the couple met in Scotland while Roy worked as a heavy machine operator in open cast coalmines and quarries.
“I hope to sow the field out in the next week or so before taking silage off her next year,” he said.
In the meantime, Roy and his Ferguson T20 will get many admiring glances in Burt tomorrow ahead of next month’s big Ferguson show in Carrigans. “There’s not too many of them left but I can still get parts handy enough,” he said.
With that, he puts the tractor into gear and he’s back finishing off his job of work – one taken with care and precision.

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