Search

Was this Top Gear’s funniest post-Clarkson episode? A muck spreader made by GT Bunning of Gressenhall demolishes a Volvo.

PUBLISHED: 10:45 22 March 2017

Greg Shepherd, MD of Bunning Agricultural Engineers at Gressenhall, pictured with one of their muck spreaders which was used in an episode of Top Gear. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Greg Shepherd, MD of Bunning Agricultural Engineers at Gressenhall, pictured with one of their muck spreaders which was used in an episode of Top Gear. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

When the nation’s favourite motoring show asked to trial one of their machines for a segment in its new series, agricultural engineers GT Bunning & Sons jumped at the chance.

Bunning Agricultural Engineers at Gressenhall. Pictured, the battle scarred muck spreader after appearing in an episode of Top Gear. Picture: ANTONY KELLY Bunning Agricultural Engineers at Gressenhall. Pictured, the battle scarred muck spreader after appearing in an episode of Top Gear. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

But as it was Top Gear asking to put a £100,000 muck spreader through its paces, bosses at the Gressenhall-based firm were not entirely surprised to learn that they wanted to demonstrate its capabilities with something a little more challenging than a load of steaming manure.

The hit BBC show, which has a reputation for doing things a little differently, had lined up watermelons, a garden shed and then, incredibly, a Volvo car to pass through its spinning augers.

But did that matter to the Norfolk company that was founded over 100 years ago?

“Absolutely not,” said managing director Greg Shepherd. “I was 100 percent sure it was capable of the job. Our machines are so over-engineered I had every confidence.

GT Bunning & Sons Agricultural Engineers at Gressenhall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY GT Bunning & Sons Agricultural Engineers at Gressenhall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“They are used all over the world from putting wood chip down on the ice roads in northern Canada to rubber on race tracks in Saudi Arabia. They have even been used to clear landmines in warzones.”

Top Gear’s assistant producer and a researcher brought a Volvo to the Gressenhall manufacturing site to give Bunning’s flagship muck spreader, the Lowlander Widebody 380 HD, a test run earlier this month.

They were so thrilled with the shredded result that they booked it for filming on Sunday, March 12. Two Bunning engineers took the machine to a farm in Surrey, near the studios at Dunsfold Park, where it was filmed decimating its irregular cargo loaded in by presenter Matt le Blanc, and ably assisted by guest Tamsin Greig.

The show aired on Sunday, March 19, with many critics saying it was the funniest post-Clarkson episode yet.

GT Bunning & Sons Agricultural Engineers at Gressenhall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY GT Bunning & Sons Agricultural Engineers at Gressenhall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“You could say the phones have been busy,” said Mr Shepherd. “The machine held up really well, it just lost a bit of paintwork and we’ve replaced the shredding blades.

“It is great for us, in the middle of a little Norfolk village, to be on such a big show. We could not have asked for more.”

He said while it is a boost for the Norfolk manufacturing team - they have around 75 workers at Gressenhall making 300 spreaders a year - the publicity could prove huge for their new US factory where they hope to make 500 machines a year.

Other news

53 minutes ago

Ten schools in Norfolk accounted for more than a third of all permanent exclusions made in the county last year.

Yesterday, 20:51

Motorists were warned to avoid part of the A148 following a three vehicle crash near Fakenham.

Yesterday, 18:30

Take a trip down memory lane with our fabulous photographic celebration of East Anglian life through the decades. Today we take a nostalgic look back at Fakenham, a lovely market town situated on the River Wensum.

Yesterday, 16:38

The founder of a charity that improves the lives of some of the poorest communities in West Africa is calling for support after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

Most Read

Yesterday, 20:51

Motorists were warned to avoid part of the A148 following a three vehicle crash near Fakenham.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:36

A Member of the European Parliament was in Fakenham on Friday to warn of the impact that leaving the European Union could have on jobs related to horse racing.

Read more
European Union
Yesterday, 18:30

Take a trip down memory lane with our fabulous photographic celebration of East Anglian life through the decades. Today we take a nostalgic look back at Fakenham, a lovely market town situated on the River Wensum.

Read more
Saturday, October 21, 2017

Police are investigating reports of ill treatment or neglect of residents at a mid Norfolk care home, which announced its closure on Thursday.

Read more
Care Quality Commission
53 minutes ago

Ten schools in Norfolk accounted for more than a third of all permanent exclusions made in the county last year.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 8°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Fakenham and Wells Times e-edition today E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter