BY PETER O BRIEN
SIMILAR to many nine-year-olds, Ryan Dudley is an avid tractor and machinery enthusiast. However, the thing that sets Ryan apart from most of his peers is the fact that he actually purchased, and owns, his own tractor.
Hailing from Ballinacarriga near Garnish on the Beara peninsula, Ryan has worked tirelessly over the past number of years, saving up money whenever he could to make his dream of purchasing his own tractor a reality.
Finally, in 2021, Ryan had accumulated enough money in his tractor fund and was keeping a keen look-out for a compact tractor. An Iseki TU160 Landhope came to his attention at Clontrac Tractors in Clonmel, Co Tipperary and after an inspection with his father David, a deal was struck and the Iseki landed in Garnish.
Renowned for their compact tractor expertise, Iseki is a Japanese tractor manufacturer with ties to the Agco corporation.
Manufactured between 1984-1987, the Iseki TU160 Landhope is powered by a gutsy 1l, three-cylinder Mitsubishi engine, producing 16hp. The 6F/2R transmission is split over a three speed gearbox with hi and lo ranges, with a reverse gear in each range. The tractor is complete with three-speed PTO, differential lock, 4wd and three-point linkage.
While the TU160 was in very good order, the decision was made to fully restore the tractor over the 2021 winter. Inheriting a passion for tractors and mechanic skills from his late grandfather, Eoin Pad O’Sullivan, Ryan stripped the tractor down, assisted by David.
The body panels were soda-blasted and powder-coated, with the chassis also repainted, along with new decals all around, while an LED lighting package modernised the tractor.
Local fabricator Noel Kelly from Allihies designed and fitted a new roll bar, and a seatbelt was added to further improve the safety of the tractor. As a final touch, the Iseki was treated to a new set of tyres.
Fully restored to pristine condition, Ryan’s proudest moment was taking the Iskei on its maiden voyage.
However, the tractor is not resigned to being a show piece. The Iseki is kept busy pushing in silage to cattle on the farm, as well as rotavating and tilling vegetable gardens.
A third class student of Cahermore NS, Ryan’s Iseki is testament that with hard work, determination and a little bit of help, any dream is possible.