Laurence O’Toole just missed out on winning gold at the 2019 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® World Champions Trophy at Tjoloholm Castle in Gothenburg, Sweden over the weekend.
The 38-year-old from Doncaster, Victoria put on a thrilling performance, navigating his way through to the final, where he powered through four blocks of wood with axes and saws in a time of 65.22 seconds to win the silver medal, but six time American champion Matt Cogar was just too good, beating O’Toole by just 1.53 seconds to claim victory and the gold Champions Trophy ring.
O’Toole qualified 3rd in the time trial, setting a time of 65.70 seconds to move directly into the quarter-final where he faced Robert Ebner of Germany. In that quarter-final he comfortably beat the German champion and set the fastest time of the day and a new personal best of 62.87 seconds, the win earning him a semi-final match-up against Michal Dubicki of Poland. It was the semi-final that took its toll on O’Toole however, as Dubicki pushed him through each of the four disciplines until O’Toole unleashed on the standing block with devastating blow to finish 2.96 seconds ahead of his opponent in 63.82 seconds book his finals spot.
Matt Cogar had already completed his semi-final match against 2018 Champions Trophy winner Sterling Hart of Canada to set a new fastest time of the day of 60.91 seconds.
The two fastest men of the day took to the stage to decide the 2019 Champions Trophy and they didn’t disappoint the thousands of fans in attendance at the stunning Tjoloholm Castle, and watching live streams around the globe.
Cogar took a small advantage from the stocksaw into the second discipline, the underhand chop, and lengthened his lead to almost three seconds ahead of O’Toole when the Australian failed to capitalise in his strongest discipline. O’Toole clawed back the gap on the American in the single buck saw with Cogar struggling to get into a smooth rhythm. The pair hit the standing block within a second of each other and it was a battle of will power as much as it was strength. Cogar turned to the back side of the standing block first, but O’Toole wasn’t far behind, as the two delivered their final drives to sever the block it looked like O’Toole was going to claim victory, but Cogar’s block hit the deck 1.53 seconds before O’Toole’s, giving him a well deserved maiden world title victory.
The third and fourth place match-up was unfortunately cancelled due to Michal Dubicki picking up an injury in the heat against O’Toole, giving the bronze medal to Stirling Hart of Canada.
“It was a great race against Cogar, he was on fire all weekend and I knew I had to put in a big performance to take the win. It would have been great to claim my third world title of the year, but second place is a great achievement with a field of athletes so good both here in the final and back home in Australia. I felt I could have maybe got the win with a little more rest between my semi-final and the final, but Matt had the luxury of the extra break by winning the time trial yesterday”.
Josh Bakes, the 21-year-old from Sheffield, Tasmania, also put in a great performance, placing second and breaking a world record against the world’s best up-and-coming athletes in the under 25 division.
Despite finishing tied on 32 points with New Zealand’s Chris Lord, Bakes fell just short of claiming the gold when the championship was decided on countback of overall times, Lord besting Bakes by just 0.23 seconds. Read the full story here.
Both Laurence O’Toole and Josh Bakes will next be in action at the 2019 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Australian Championships on 14th and 15th September in the Gold Coast where they’ll be looking to qualify for a spot on the Chopperoos team heading to the World Championships in Prague on 1st and 2nd of November.
FINAL RANKINGS STIHL TIMBERSPORTS CHAMPIONS TROPHY 2019
- Matt Cogar (USA)
- Laurence O’Toole (AUS)
- Sterling Hart (CAN)
- Michal Dubicki (POL)
- Robert Ebner (GER)
- Ferry Svan (SWE)
- Jesse Whithead (NZL)
- Armin Kugler (AUT)
- Martin Kalina (CZE)
- Elgan Pugh (GBR)
- Martin Komarek (CZE)
- Andrea Rossi (ITA)