She was only 16 and already moved 950 kg more than successfully: Melanie Hofer, Germany's and Europe's youngest tractor pulling champion. And also involved: ifm, with sensors but also as supporter right from the start.
But what exactly is tractor pulling?
Tractor pulling is a motor sport. A vehicle with heavy loads has to be moved for as a long a distance as possible using a tractor. The rustic, but very simple tractor pulling of 40 years ago has now become an absolute high-tech motor sport of superlatives which very many renowned companies sponsor, where they test materials and produce parts. Since a few women became active in this sport which is still dominated by men, the media interest has grown.
Enthusiasm and passion
Already at nappy age, Melanie Hofer felt at home at the family garage in Bodnegg. She was infected with the "motor sport virus" at a very early age. Shortly before she turned 8, Melanie wanted to sit behind the steering wheel of a garden pulling tractor. Her request was her father's and brother's command "and we built her her own tractor for the 500 kg standard class", recalls Hubert Hofer, father of the ambitious sportswoman and himself a successful tractor pulling driver. "At her first start on her 8th birthday, the earliest possible age for participation, she already ended up in 3rd position against strong competitors." Some good positions in the German championship followed that year and as a highlight she became the youngest European champion in this class during the European Championship in Kampen (NL). She holds this record to this day. In the following years, she drove in different garden pulling classes and won several German and European vice champion titles. Always with the big goal in mind someday to follow in daddy's footsteps and to drive the 950 kg unlimited free class. At 16, Melanie took over the steering wheel of this vehicle and in the two following years each, she became the German vice champion and this year, almost exactly 10 years after her first European championship success, she became German champion. Here again, the youngest German champion and only woman who has made it in this class in 40 years of tractor pulling in Germany. And that's not all. The exceptional talent did a training and became a mechanical engineer.
Why does this family team suit ifm so well?
Not only because they use and appreciate ifm products such as the PG2797 electronic pressure sensor with analogue display. With the pressure sensor, the tyre pressure is set exactly up to 2 digits after the decimal point. "The tyre pressure plays an important role in the drivability and handling of the vehicle and thus decides about victory or defeat," explains Melanie Hofer. Also the cohesion and inventor's spirit of the family team corresponds 100 % to the ifm spirit. The small team developed and constructed the vehicle completely on their own. Decisive: Abilities such as meticulousness and precision and also the will to continuous further development. "We mean what we say and we act accordingly." (principle from the ifm philosophy) could come from the Hofer family.