Round 1 of the 2016 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® State Qualifiers, presented by
Brad Turner of Buninyong, VIC won the first state qualifier for the 2016 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Championship. This confirms Turners place in the PRO Championship Qualifier for the 2017 Championship later in the year.
It all came down to the Hot Saw – and it was tense - with Turner narrowly beating Western Australian and hot favorite Brent Rees and South Australian Ray Caldwell in the 7 man competition. Scott Rouse (SA), Dale Goldfinch (SA), Tod Bergsen (WA) and Mike Drecko (SA) couldn't match the experienced campaigners in their debut of STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® but all performed well with many lessons learnt about the new addition to the Australian lumberjack sports calendar.
The day's competition started with Caldwell winning the Springboard but Turner was on form from the Stock Saw where he took maximum points.
Rees and Caldwell were hot on his tail but Turner's consistent performance proved unbeatable.
Rees had it all to do after 2 rounds of the 6 discipline format, He struggled with a 3rd place in the Springboard and 4th place in the Stocksaw, two disciplines he was expected to dominate. A 5 point gap had opened up between Rees and Turner, so nothing short of 4 1st places were required.
Caldwell received a DQ in the Stocksaw for an unsafe restart. When picking up the saw he was judged to have accidently switched it off. The judges had to refer to the rule book and technicians were asked to assess the saw. The saw restarted and ran perfectly, had Caldwell not drop started the saw in the restart he would have picked up some points, but a DQ is awarded for unsafe starting.
Rees who was part of the 2014 World Championship winning team showed glimpses of his true ability claiming 1st place in the Standing Block, Single buck and Underhand Chop to tie for 1st place with Turner with just the Hotsaw remaining.
Caldwell joined the leaders on 30 points with only Rees and Turner to go. 2 Dq's needed to force a 3 way tie and a Stocksaw off. Rees and Turner took to the stage and it looked like Rees was on for the win with a blistering pace for the 1st of 3 disks, Turner played cautious and lined up each cut exactly, hoping for a mistake from Rees. The mistake came on the 2nd disk where Rees went for a wide open change with the 250cc custom chainsaw and the chain rose off the guidebar causing it to dislodge and not cut, some how it stayed on the bar and Rees finished the 3 cuts in 15.90secs, 3 seconds behind the veteran of STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Turner.
Rees will have to wait until next year to try and qualify for the Pro Championship. The win went to Turner giving him a shot at the big time in 2017 at the Pro Championship qualifier later in the year.
Four more State qualifiers to go! Next stop Agfest in Tasmania 5-7 May.
Final Standings for State qualifier 1:
Brad Turner – 36 points
Brent Rees – 33 points
Ray Caldwell - 30
Tod Bergsen - 20
Scott Rouse - 18
Dale Goldfinch - 16
Mike Dreckow - 4