2015 Championship Final

STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Australian Championship 2015: Grand Final competition report.

The road to the 1st STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Australian Championship started in March 2015 at the F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne (VIC), after stops in Launceston (TAS), Toowoomba (QLD) and Sydney (NSW) it lead to Bathurst's famous Mount Panorama race circuit.

40 of the country's top lumberjacks sports athletes had been whittled down to an elite few, just 10 would compete in the Grand Final and only 1 would be crowned Australian Champions and lift the giant trophy (a magnificently carved replica of Australia incorporating 3 axe heads into the design) above their head. It wasn't only the Australian Championship up for grabs, the winner would represent Australia at the World Championship in Poznan, Poland only 1 month later on 13th and 14th November. The top 4 would also make up the Australian Team looking to defend their title from 2014.

The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Australian Championship 2015 athletes:

Brad Delosa (NSW)
Laurence O'Toole (VIC)
Jimmy Head (QLD)
Mitchell Argent (QLD)
Matt Gurr (TAS)
Justin Beckett (NSW)
Kody Steers (TAS)
Brayden Meyer (VIC)
Brodie Dingle (QLD)
Dale Beams (TAS)

Favourites for the championship had to be De Losa and O'Toole, but as we saw in the state rounds and wildcard qualifier the favourites don't always win, anything can happen, consistency is the key with STIHL TIMBERSPORTS, and with 10 points for 1st and 1 point for 10th in each round a disqualification (DQ) could cost any athlete their chance of winning.

Round 1: Springboard

Matthew Gurr (49.78) didn’t disappoint in the springboard, setting a new Australian Record to take 1st place and 10 points. The surprises of the round were Brad De Losa (64.89) finishing 5th after taking 8 hits on his second board, and previous record holder Dale Beams (69.80) struggling into 6th place. 2nd O’Toole (54.78), 3rd Meyer (55.54) 4th Argent (57.79) 5th De Losa (64.89), 6th Beams (69.80), 7th Head (73.89), 8th Dingle (77.98), 9th Steers (88.09), 10th Beckett (103.95).

VW Amarok Leader board after Round 1:

Matt Gurr (TAS)                    10
Laurence O’Toole (VIC)         9
Brayden Meyer (VIC)             8
Mitchell Argent (QLD)            7
Brad Delosa (NSW)               6
Dale Beams (TAS)                 5
Jimmy Head (QLD)                4
Brodie Dingle (QLD)              3
Kody Steers (TAS)                 2
Justin Beckett (NSW)             1

Round 2: Stocksaw

The key to the stock saw is to keep the revs up, the chain moving and don’t get disqualified! Jimmy Head let the pressure show by jumping the gun: DQ, 0 points. De Losa (13.08) took 1st place and moved to top of the VW Amarok leader board. Only 0.06 separated 2nd to 4th with Beckett (13.76) beating Dingle (13.79) and Argent (13.82). 5th O’Toole (14.37) and 6th Meyer (14.39) 7th Beams (14.82), 8th Steers (14.95) 9th Gurr (14.97).

VW Amarok Leader board after Round 2:

Brad Delosa (NSW)                 16
Laurence O’Toole (VIC)           15
Mitchell Argent (QLD)              14
Brayden Meyer (VIC)               13
Matt Gurr (TAS)                       12
Brodie Dingle (QLD)                11
Justin Beckett (NSW)              10
Dale Beams (TAS)                    9
Kody Steers (TAS)                    5
Jimmy Head (QLD)                   4

Round 3: Standing Block

With 1 point between each of the top 8 places it was still anybody’s for the taking, consistency across all rounds was going to be key. Beams was once again favourite for the block, but he and Dingle in the first heat couldn’t re-create their heroics of the qualifying round posting times of 23.60 (Beams) and 26.86 (Dingle). Surprise of the round was once again De Losa (23.15) finishing 7th and collecting only 4 points. O’Toole (19.35) on the other hand stamped his mark on the competition opening up a 4 point lead, Youngsters Steers (19.59) and Meyer (20.50) took 2nd and 3rd. Head (21.79) took 5th but remained on the bottom of the ladder. 4th Gurr (21.66) and 6th Argent (22.81) were still in the hunt for the title at the half way stage.

VW Amarok Leader board after Round 3:

Laurence O’Toole (VIC)           25
Brayden Meyer (VIC)               21
Brad Delosa (NSW)                 20
Mitchell Argent (QLD)             19
Matt Gurr (TAS)                      19
Kody Steers (TAS)                  14
Brodie Dingle (QLD)               12
Justin Beckett (NSW)              12
Dale Beams (TAS)                  12
Jimmy Head (QLD)                 10

Round 4: Single Buck

Known as the misery whip, the single buck separates the men from the boys, Delosa (14.71) set a new Australian Record to take his second round win and a maximum 10 points, a full 2.14 seconds ahead of 2nd place Meyer (16.85) to continue his roller coaster of a day and keep his hopes alive. 3rd Dingle (17.44) started his challenge for the top 4. O’Toole (18.28) claimed a respectable 4th to maintain his lead. 5th Head (18.76), 6th Beams (19.70), 7th Beckett (19.77), 8th Gurr (21.32) 9th Argent (22.10), 10th Steers (23.81) all still could make 4th place and take a spot on the Australian Team.

VW Amarok Leader board after Round 4:

Laurence O’Toole (VIC)        32
Brayden Meyer (VIC)            30
Brad Delosa (NSW)               30
Matt Gurr (TAS)                     22
Mitchell Argent (QLD)            21
Brodie Dingle (QLD)              20
Dale Beams (TAS)                17
Justin Beckett (NSW)            16
Jimmy Head (QLD)                16
Kody Steers (TAS)                 15

Round 5: Underhand Chop

With O’Toole 2 points ahead of Delosa and Meyer, a mistake was going to prove costly for any of them. Argent (20.95) surprised the leaders taking the 10 points. Meyer (21.41) took 2nd place as he did in the Single buck, Steers (21.51) provide he truly is one of the on form axemen at the moment taking 3rd and O’Toole (22.09) wasn’t happy with his 4th place that meant him and Meyer were now neck and neck in 1st place on 39 points. Head (22.14) was making a late surge with 6 points for his 5th place. De Losa’s (23.41) continued his bad day with the axe’s picking up just 5 points and leaving himself 4 points off the top. 7th Beckett (24.04) 8th Dingle (24.79) 9th Gurr (49.78) and 10th Beams (27.88) day’s were all but over, although their times in the Hotsaw would play a pivotal role in deciding the 1st Australian Champion.

VW Amarok Leader board after Round 5:

Brayden Meyer (VIC)               39
Laurence O’Toole (VIC)            39
Brad Delosa (NSW)                 35
Mitchell Argent (QLD)              31
Matt Gurr (TAS)                       24
Brodie Dingle (QLD)                23
Kody Steers (TAS)                   23
Jimmy Head (QLD)                  22
Justin Beckett (NSW)               20
Dale Beams (TAS)                   18

Round 6: Hotsaw

Disqualifications were going to prove key in the final round, and that they did!

Heat 1: Beams (DQ – incomplete cookie) vs Beckett (DQ – thrown chain)
Heat 2: Head (8.30) vs Kody Steers (DQ – Cut line)
Heat 3: Dingle (DQ – cut line) vs Gurr (17.89 – Failed to start 1st time)

After 3 heats four DQ’s meant that 1st place would take 10 points and a cut faster than Gurr’s 17.89 would get the top 4 a minimum of 6 points. Meyer and O’Toole were sitting 4 points ahead of Delosa. The pressure was on. De Losa knew only 1st place and 10 points would give him any chance of winning, and a new Australian record of 6.29secs did just that to move him into provisional 1st place, 6 points ahead of O’Toole, Meyer and now Argent (13.42) all on 39 points, with only Meyer and O’Toole to go.

VW Amarok Leader board after 4 heats of Round 6:

Brad Delosa (NSW)              45
Brayden Meyer (VIC)           39*
Laurence O’Toole (VIC)       39*
Mitchell Argent (QLD)          39

*still to compete.

Meyer and O’Toole were last to compete,to win the title they needed to beat each other and beat Gurr’s time of 17.89sec, neither could make a safe cut.

O’Toole looked to be in trouble from the start of the warm up, only just getting his saw started after 5-6 attempts, it finally fired with only 10 seconds of the warm up remainig, O’Toole only just managing to get his hands on the wood before the gun fired. Meyer with his back to O’Toole wouldn’t have known of the drama going on behind him. The gun fired and O’Toole made a perfect 1st cut, the 2nd cut was incomplete meaning he had to go back for a 4th but he’d gone too big and had run out of wood, DQ for O’Toole. Meyer also made a perfect 1st cut, but then struggled through the 2nd and 3rd posting a time of 15.47secs.

Final VW Amarok Leader board:

Brayden Meyer (VIC)               46
Brad Delosa (NSW)                 45
Mitchell Argent (QLD)             39
Laurence O’Toole (VIC)          39

Jimmy Head (QLD)                    31
Matt Gurr (TAS)                         30
Brodie Dingle (QLD)                  23
Kody Steers (TAS)                     23
Justin Beckett (NSW)                 20
Dale Beams (TAS)                     18

What a finish! 15.47secs gave Meyer 7 points, and more importantly it was enough to secure him the Title of 2015 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Australian Champion, and Australia’s representitive at the 2015 World Championships in Poland.

De Losa finished 2nd, his chopping really letting him down where as his three 1st places and two Australian records in the sawing disciplines should have been good enough for the former World Champ.

Argent and O’Toole finished tied on 39 points, Argent taking 3rd spot on count back of overall times, the DQ in the Hotsaw cost O’Toole who had been consistent all day.

Meyer, De Losa, Argent and O’Toole make the Australian team, along with 5th place Jimmy Head who goes to Poland as the reserve.

Next chop… Poland!