8 things to know about the 2019 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Champions Trophy
In the early hours of Sunday 26th May, our Australian trophy winner, Laurence O’Toole, will battle it out against the world’s best in the 2019 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Champions Trophy at Tjolöholm Castle near Gothenburg, Sweden. If you are planning to don your green and gold to support our champion, here are 8 things you must know including what time to set your alarm, who’s competing and how the competition works.
What is the Champions Trophy?
The ‘Trophy’ format is the ultimate endurance format of the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Series. Athletes must cut through four blocks of wood in four different disciplines, one after the other, with no breaks in between.
Who will Laurence be competing against?
The 2018 Champions Trophy saw Canada’s Stirling Hart claim victory, the holder will be back to defend his title this year but will face stiff competition from an elite field who have qualified through either the European Trophy held in October last year, or for USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia through their own national Champions Trophy competitions.
The final field for the 2019 Champions Trophy:
Jesse Whitehead (New Zealand)
Matt Cogar (USA)
Martin Komarek (Czech Republic)
Armin Kugler (Austria)
Martin Kalina (Czech Republic)
Robert Ebner (Germany)
Andre Rossi (Italy)
Elgan Pugh (Great Britain)
Ferry Svan (Sweden)
Michael Dubiki (Poland)
Stirling Hart (Canada)
Laurence O’Toole (Australia)
How does the competition work?
After setting a qualification time in the time trial, the top 12 athletes are seeded into a knockout system completing four disciplines where they face off in sudden death head-to-head matches. The winner advances, the loser is out!
What are the four disciplines in the Champions Trophy?
Athletes are required to complete four disciplines one after another, starting with the STIHL stocksaw, followed by the underhand chop and single buck, before the last discipline, which is the standing block chop. Each discipline is set out in a specific position across one half of the stage, meaning the athletes must run from discipline to discipline, adding an extra athletic dimension to the format. The two sawing disciplines take place on the same 40cm pine log, while the two chopping disciplines use poplar logs; the underhand chop being 30cm and the standing block 27cm.
How does this format differ to other STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® competitions or traditional wood chops, such as the Royal Easter Show?
The traditional STIHL TIMBERSPORTS format sees athletes compete in up to 6 disciplines, against the clock and each other, there are only ever 2 athletes on stage at a time, so individual times are used to rank the results. The athlete with the fastest time in each discipline gets the most points (12 points if there are 12 athletes), and the slowest gets one point. At the end of the day, the athlete with the most points is declared the champion.
At non-STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® wood chopping competitions, like the Sydney Royal Easter Show Wood Chop, athletes compete in a number of different individual disciplines. At any one time there could be 8-10 athletes in a row competing and the winner is the first athlete to finish. Each discipline has its own champion, and whilst there is usually an award for the best overall athlete, it’s not the major prize of the competitions. In any one competition there could be 10 plus champions declared due to multiple disciplines with multiple wood diameters as well.
STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® competitions require athletes to compete in multiple disciplines using both axes and saws; therefore, the champion is the greatest all round wood chopping and sawing athlete.
What is a fast time in the Champions Trophy?
The World Record for the Champions Trophy format is 57.95sec which is held by Australia’s own Brad De Losa, a time he set on the way to winning the World Champions Trophy in 2016.
A lot depends on the wood, being a natural product each log varies and so times can vary between competitions, and even individual heats. All wood in STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® series competition is either a species of poplar or pine, soft woods that are available in most countries across the world. The organisation does everything it can to provide fair wood for close competitions, but sometimes Mother Nature is not so kind and hidden knots or rotten sections of logs can occur that will make or break an athlete’s day.
In the early stages of the competition, it is unlikely we will see a time come in under a minute, but as the rounds progress and the athletes learn more about the wood, times get quicker and quicker!
What does the Champions Trophy winner receive?
The winner will be crowned the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Champions Trophy Champion, one of only two individual World Titles in the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Series. They will also receive approximately $20,000 in prize and a number of gifts from the competitions sponsors including a Jacques Lehman limited edition watch.
How can I watch the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Champions Trophy from Australia?
STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Australia airs every Saturday at 12:30pm (AEST). The TV series follows the Australian athletes as they compete on home soil and across the globe each year. Episodes following the 2019 series will air in early 2020. All past seasons can be viewed at the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Australia YouTube page.