Round 1: The road to Norway starts now

The road to the World Championships starts now for Australia's top STIHL Timbersports athletes.

The fierce battle to make a Chopperoos team looking to win their 4th straight STIHL Timbersports World Championship kicks off on the 6th of May, as the 2017 STIHL Timbersports Australian Pro Tour, presented by the Volkswagen Amarok V6, saws into ‘axesion'!

Now entering its 3rd year, the Pro Tour continues grow and sees Australia's top 8 STIHL Timbersports athletes compete in a gruelling 4 round series at some of the best known locations and events Australia has to offer. After the final round in Bathurst, the 5 athletes with the most points from across the series will qualify for the defending champion Chopperoos, who'll then travel on to the STIHL Timbersports World Championships in Lillehammer, Norway.

The 8 man Pro Tour field is comprised of some familiar faces from 2016 with Brad De Losa (NSW), Laurence O'Toole (VIC), Brayden Meyer (VIC) Jamie Head (QLD), Mitch Argent (QLD), Matt Gurr (TAS) and Kody Steers (TAS) all returning to chase a prized spot in the five man team. The only newcomer to the pack is veteran New South Welshman Justin Beckett, who'll be looking to shake up the pecking order and beat out some past and present National Champions.

The hot favourite to claim the Australian Title is once again be Brad De Losa from Lithgow, who fans will remember won the 2016 Pro Tour title in a heart stopping, sudden-death Stocksaw shootout over Victoria's Laurence O'Toole. O'Toole will be desperate to go one better than last year's 2nd place finish after he led the tour into the final round but couldn't recreate the form that got him there when it mattered most. 2015 Australian Champion Brayden Meyer from Broadford, Victoria will be right in the mix and knows the importance of a good start in Round 1, after a disappointing 4th place in the season opener cost him any chance at back-to-back crowns last year.

The Pro Tour kicks off in Tasmania, the spiritual home of wood chopping on May 6th before travelling to Townsville in July, Melbourne in September with the final round taking place at Bathurst in October. With a spot in what is possibly Australia's most successful sporting team of the current day on the line (the Chopperoos have won the team relay at the world championships an unprecedented 4 times, including the last three in a row) the stakes have never been higher.

2017 Australian Pro Tour Calendar:

• Round 1: Tasmania (Agfest Field Days) 4-6th May
• Round 2: Townsville QLD (Townsville 400 Supercars) 7-9th July
• Round 3: Victoria (Sandown 500 Supercars) 16-18th September
• Round 4: Bathurst, NSW (Bathurst 1000 Supercars) – 7-9th October
• World Championship: Lillehammer, Norway 3-4th November.