Wild Card qualifying round

STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Australian Championship 2015: Wild Card qualifying competition report.

The top 16 lumberjack sports athletes from across Australia met at Bathurst on the 9th and 10th of October, all with one goal in mind, become the first ever STIHL Timbersports Australian Champion, a title that would see them represent Australia at the World Championships in Poznan, Poland on 14th November 2015.

8 athletes were already in the final after finishing 1st and 2nd in one of the 4 state qualifiers, the remaining 8, who finished 3rd and 4th in their states, had the chance to join them with 2 spots up for the final up for grabs in the Wildcard Qualifying Round.

Dale Beams (TAS) and Dale Ryan (NSW) were the favourites to make it through, but as with their qualifying rounds things weren't 100% guaranteed. Rounding out the field for the Wild Card Qualifier were Brodie Dingle (QLD) Joshua Adamson (QLD), Jarrod Williams (VIC), David Coffey (VIC), Chris Owen (NSW) and Geoffrey Lovell (TAS).

Round 1: Springboard

Favourite for the Springboard had to be Australian record holder Dale Beams, but it seemed like things weren’t going to go to plan for Beams as his time of 62.51secs (14secs slower than his record) was beaten by Ryan (57.33), Adamson (58.31) and Dingle (61.21), the two Queenslanders looked like they could upset the favourites from the start.

VW Amarok Leader board after Round 1:

Dale Ryan (NSW)                  8
Joshua Adamson (QLD)        7
Brodie Dingle (QLD)              6
Dale Beams (TAS)                5
David Coffey (VIC)                4
Chirs Owen (NSW)               3
Jarrod Williams (VIC)            2
Geoffrey Lovell (TAS)           1

Round 2: Stocksaw

The Stocksaw round is notorious for making or breaking athletes day, DQ and you find yourself way down the leader board, win it and your confidence will be sky high. Jarrod Williams (VIC) won with a time of 13.13secs, a surprisingly slow time when you look at the qualifying rounds, suggesting that the wood was a little harder than previous. The top 4 was rounded out by Dingle (13.80), Owen (14.13) and Ryan (14.74). Beams’ day looked like it was going to follow a similar pattern as the TAS round, with him picking up only 2 points in 7th and leaving him 7th overall. Dingle and Ryan moved ahead of the pack, joint in 1st place with 4 rounds to go.

VW Amarok Leader board after Round 2:

Brodie Dingle (QLD)              13
Dale Ryan (NSW)                  13
Jarrod Williams (VIC)            10
Chirs Owen (NSW)                9
David Coffey (VIC)                 8
Joshua Adamson (QLD)        8
Dale Beams (TAS)                 7
Geoffrey Lovell (TAS)            4

Round 3: Standing Block

Once again Beams was the favourite to take out the standing block round, being the current Australian Record holder normally helps. Beams didn’t disappoint and took the 8 points on offer for 1st place with a 20.30sec chop, just 1 sec shy of his record. Dingle (25.85secs) didn’t fare so well in this round picking up just 3 points in 6th position. Ryan (21.76secs) picked up 3rd to maintain his top spot, and Adamson made up for his error in the Stocksaw where he finished last, to come 2nd with a time of 20.78sec. The day looked all but over for Lovell, and Williams strong start looked like it wasn’t going to be enough to take the youngster into the final, as he moved from 3rd to 7th.

VW Amarok Leader board after Round 3:

Dale Ryan (NSW)                  19
Brodie Dingle (QLD)              16
Dale Beams (TAS)                15
Joshua Adamson (QLD)       15
David Coffey (VIC)                13
Chirs Owen (NSW)               13
Jarrod Williams (VIC)           11
Geoffrey Lovell (TAS)           6

Round 4: Single Buck

A round notoriously won by the bigger more experienced athletes, surely Beams, Coffey or Ryan would take the 8 points? No one expected Dingle to beat his personal best by nearly 7 seconds, but that he did with a time of 21.62secs to claim 1st. Beams (21.69), Coffey (24.10) and Ryan (24.75) rounded out the top 4 and extended the gap over Adamson, Williams, Owen and Lovell, who all needed a miracle if they were to claim one of the top spots.

VW Amarok Leader board after Round 4:

Brodie Dingle (QLD)            24
Dale Ryan (NSW)                24
Dale Beams (TAS)               22
David Coffey (VIC)               19
Joshua Adamson (QLD)      16
Chris Owen (NSW)              15
Jarrod Williams (VIC)          15
Geoffrey Lovell (TAS)           9

Round 5: Underhand Chop

Only 5 points separated the top 4 with 2 rounds to go, the underhand chop was going to play a pivotal role in the competition, only 2 athletes would make it through to the next day’s final. Beams had managed to pull himself up from 7th to sit just 2 points off the leaders Ryan and Dingle. 4 of the top 3 didn’t disappoint, Coffey (25.06), Ryan (26.67) and Dingle (27.49) took 8, 7 and 6 points respectively. Beams seemed to have run out of steam posting a time of 30.12secs leaving him in 7th and collecting just 2 points. He now needed a miracle and some DQ’s in the Hotsaw to make the top 2 and book his spot in the final, maybe 2015 just wasn’t going to be his year?

VW Amarok Leader board after Round 5:

Dale Ryan (NSW)               31
Brodie Dingle (QLD)           30
David Coffey (VIC)              27
Dale Beams (TAS)              24
Joshua Adamson (QLD)     21
Jarrod Williams (VIC)          19
Chris Owen (NSW)             18
Geoffrey Lovell (TAS)         10

Round 6: Hotsaw

With only 2 athletes (Beams and Ryan) owning their own Hotsaws, the rest of the pack would be using the STIHL supplied Hotsaws, known for their reliability, but nowhere near as fast as some of the competitors own saws, you would expect a Ryan and Beams 1st and 2nd. But that’s why the Hotsaw is always the last event, no one can predict what is going to happen. And they certainly didn’t predict this! 3 DQ’s (Disqualifications) and one of them from within the top 4.

2 DQ’s in the first two heats for Owen and Adamson cemented their bad days. Williams and Lovell posted times of 12.10 and 11.00. Beams was up next against Coffey, the stats team were working overtime to see what was needed for the pair to make the top 2. It worked out Beams needed 8 points which only a win for the round could give him, and then he needed a DQ from Dingle or Ryan. Coffey had to finish in the top 2 and hope that the final pair’s times were slower than 12.10secs.

Beams, who DQ’d in the qualifying round managed to win the heat with a shaky 10.97sec cut, with his saw once again nearly stalling. Coffey (14.81secs) found himself in 4th at the time for the round, meaning only a double DQ for Dingle and Ryan could see him reach the final.

Dingle and Ryan, by far the most consistent athletes all day only had to post a time to make the final, it didn’t matter if they both took the full 60 seconds allowed, 3 good disks and they were in the final.

Dingle clearly didn’t know this was the case, and posted a cracking 11.53second time, just 0.10 slower than his PB, a risk, but he’d been on fire all day. But meanwhile on stand 2, Ryan was still trying to get his saw started. It didn’t fire in the whole 60 second warm up, and it didn’t fire during the 60 seconds from the gun. The clear star of the wildcard qualifying round falling at the final hurdle, a gutting situation that nobody wanted to see. DQ for Ryan, saw wouldn’t start.

Beams had somehow managed to pull off a miracle, finishing 1 point ahead of Ryan, with Dingle the overall winner on 36 points from a possible 48.

Final VW Amarok Leader Board:

Brodie Dingle (QLD)          36
Dale Beams (TAS)             32

David Coffey (VIC)              31
Dale Ryan (NSW)               31
Jarrod Williams (VIC)          24
Joshua Adamson (QLD)     21
Chris Owen (NSW)             18
Geoffrey Lovell (TAS)        17

Brodie Dingle (QLD) and Dale Beams (TAS) qualify for the Australian Championship Final.