Round 4 Preview - part 2
Final Chopperoos spot up for grabs
The chance to join the Chopperoos at the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS World Championships in Germany is the driving force for competitors heading into the final two rounds of the Australian Championships.
Series co-leaders Brad De Losa (NSW), Laurence O'Toole (VIC) and Jimmy Head (QLD), as well as fourth-placed Brayden Meyer (VIC) are all but guaranteed tickets to Stuttgart.
The fifth and final berth, however, could go to any of the four remaining STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Australia competitors, with just three points separating fifth and eighth place.
Round four of the Australian Championships heads to Sandown, Victoria, where fifth-ranked Kody Steers (TAS) believes he can break away from his rivals after the confidence boost of being named Champion Axeman at the Royal Queensland Show (Ekka) last month.
"The underhand and stocksaw have been letting me down but I'm cutting them better now and I have definitely improved on springboard. The show chops are great practice for the big stage of the STIHL competition," Steers said.
"I don't believe I can win the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Australian Championship from here but I can definitely make the top five.
"Worlds are my focus, I just need to put a bit more distance between me and the other three."
Tasmanian Steers said he had been keeping a close watch on his rivals and rates eighth-placed Mitchell Argent (QLD) as a major threat.
"Mitch didn't get off to a good start this year but has been going well overall, he's going to come home strong."
For Argent, finishing fifth in round three of the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Australian Championship in Ipswich proved he can quickly climb the VW Amarok Championship ladder but he will need to blitz the sawing events.
"I've been chopping well but I don't do much sawing, that's my problem," Argent said.
"The plan for me is to get to Worlds. It is pretty tight for that last place but I proved at Worlds last year in Poland that I can lift under pressure and I want to draw on that ability at Sandown.
"To make that team and wear the green and gold is the ultimate. Every axeman wants to be a Chopperoo."
At the top of the ladder, O'Toole, Head and Brad De Losa are locked in an unprecedented three-way tie for first place.
Head was the sole leader until Ipswich, when O'Toole hit a purple patch of three personal bests to win the day and a share of the lead on the VW Amarok leader board.
Round four of the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Australian Championships gets underway on September 17 and 18 at V8 Supercars Sandown 500 in Melbourne.
Championship Points after 3 of 5 rounds:
1. Laurence O'Toole (VIC) – 20
Brad De Losa (NSW) – 20
Jamie Head (QLD) – 20
4. Brayden Meyer (VIC) – 18
5. Kody Steers (TAS) – 9
6. Matt Gurr (TAS) – 8
7. Brodie Dingle (QLD) – 7
8. Mitch Argent (QLD) - 6