Meyer too hot to handle at STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Virtual Australian Championship
Reigning STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® World Champion Brayden Meyer left it late to win the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® AUSTRALIAN VIRTUAL CHAMPIONSHIP. After 5 of 6 extreme wood chopping and sawing disciplines, it looked like fellow Victorian and former World Champion Laurence O’Toole was going to take the win, putting another notch in his already-impressive belt.
Then Meyer made a comeback, logging a lightning fast time of 5.80 seconds in the Hotsaw discipline where he successfully cut the required 3 discs of the 46cm log. This exceptional speed, paired with an uncharacteristic mistake by O’Toole, secured victory for Meyer and left O’Toole stumped as to his loss.
Nevertheless, Meyer wasn’t immediately aware of his win.
Due to continued border closures and restrictions, the 2020 competition was held virtually at 4 locations over 4 days. Meyer only found out where he placed whilst watching the ‘as-live’ airing on Facebook with the rest of the world Sunday evening.
“Being at the same event as Laurence in Victoria I knew I was in with a chance, but not knowing how times would unfold at the other three events last week it was a nervous wait last night (Sunday) watching with the family.”
“Whilst the feeling wasn’t as good as being up on the big stage, it’s still great to win the virtual title and I had a few beers to celebrate.”
Victoria claimed all three places on the podium, with Glen Gillam of Toongabbie in 3rd place and Laurence O’Toole in 2nd place. Queensland trio Jamie Head, Mitch Argent and Brodie Dingle rounded out the top 6.
While his game was strong, Meyer’s position chopped and changed throughout the competition.
He placed first in the Underhand Chop, a discipline for which he has held the world record since 2015. However, things didn’t go to plan in the Stocksaw and Standing Block, placing him well down the field in 6th and 7th. At the half way stage, Meyer sat in 4th place on the ladder behind fellow Victorians Laurence O’Toole & Glen Gillam (who were competing at the same venue) and Mitchell Argent (competing in Queensland).
In round two, Meyer finished 2nd in the Singlebuck followed by 3rd in the Springboard. This saw him climb to second place on the ladder, but O’Toole’s first place in the Springboard and 4th place in the Singlebuck meant he took a 5 point lead at the top.
Just one discipline remained, the Hotsaw: O’Toole’s most dominate discipline. Had Meyer been aware of the scores, he might have had cause for concern.
However, the virtual nature of this year’s championship meant the judges were keeping athlete’s times a secret. They were unaware of the ladder, but could get a sense of how they fared against the other two in their state.
Usually in the Hotsaw, athletes know how many points they need to take the lead or claim victory, meaning they either go for glory with a fast cut, or play it safe and steady to secure the points.
O’Toole seemingly had the advantage; his personal best in the Hotsaw was the fastest in Victoria. This meant he would get to see Meyer compete first. Meyer stepped up to the wood and set a blisteringly fast time of 5.80 seconds to cut the required three discs of the 46cm log. A new personal best.
O’Toole was up next and, despite not knowing what time he needed, he knew Meyer’s was quick. The usually cool O’Toole seemingly felt the pressure, failing to start his saw on the first attempt. After resetting the starting cord, he completed his cut in 26.59 seconds. This awarded O’Toole 6 points and placed him 5th.
Meyer’s time took 1st place and gave him the points he needed to claim victory and the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Virtual Australian Championship.
The Victorians’ domination also earned them Gold in the State Battle, edging out Team Queensland by a healthy margin.