Canadian call up for Ashley

Ashley Boyles with his National Ploughing trophy. Now he is preparing for the World Championships in Canada next July.
Ashley Boyles with his National Ploughing trophy. Now he is preparing for the World Championships in Canada next July.

An Osgodby man is hoping it will be third time lucky when he faces international competition at the World Ploughing Championships next year.

Ashley Boyles took the title at this year’s British National Ploughing Championships held in Lichfield last month and will now go on to represent England next July at the Worlds in Canada.

But it is not the first time the 29-year-old has had the honour of representing his country.

His first trip to the Worlds was in 2008, when they were held in Austria, and he returned in 2009, to Slovenia, where he finished a very credible fourth place.

“I am looking forward to the Worlds next year,” said Ashley.

“It is the championships’ 60th anniversary, so that makes it extra special.”

Ashley went on to explain the World Championships is an intense ten-day programme, with the chance to practise during the day and then events in the evening.

These training days lead up to the two days of competition.

The first day is stubble ploughing and the second day grassland.

As with all championships, there are two classes - conventional and reversible - and it is in the conventional class that Ashley will be competing.

There will be 30 countries in each class and each competitor has three hours to plough their half an acre plot.

“It is quite a tight time and the judges are marking you from the moment you start, so it is quite pressurised” added Ashley.

But Ashley got a better insight into the judging process at last year’s World Championships in Croatia.

He was invited to be part of the international judging team, which works in groups of three to mark the competitors.

“I learnt a few bits from the other judges and enjoyed the experience - but I would rather be ploughing,” said Ashley, who has been competing since he was 14 years of age.

So now the pressure is on to get back on the tractor and put in the time to prepare for next summer’s competition.

“It’s just the same as any sport,” said Ashley, “it is all about practice, practice, practice; the more you do it, the more natural it becomes.”

And as with all sports, funding for the World Championship is an issue for competitors.

Although equipment can be hired for events, it leaves competitors at an obvious disadvantage.

“When I have competed before, the competitions have been held in Europe, so it was easy to load the tractor and equipment on to a trailer and drive it to the host countries” said Ashley.

“But next year, with the competition in Canada, everything needs to be shipped over, which will cost quite a bit.”

Unlike some of the other countries taking part, competitors here have to fund themselves, so now Ashley is looking to raise the money to pay for the shipping.

Anyone who would like to help sponsor Ashley for the World Championships can give him a call on 07766 831309

You can also follow Ashley on Twitter @boylesploughing.