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Three in a row at TIMBERSPORTS® Championship

Three in a row at TIMBERSPORTS® Championship: The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® British Championship delivered another weekend of edge-of-your-seat action at the Royal Three Counties Show in Malvern, with Glen Penlington securing his third Pro Championship title in style.

Competition for places was fierce, so the action kicked off on Friday with the Pro Championship qualifier. Five of the lowest ranked athletes from the 2023 British Championship, along with nine up-and-coming competitors took to the stage. With the top six athletes earning the right to take part in the 2024 British Pro Championship on Saturday, tensions were running high. But the top six all put in solid performances to progress through with Ben Chapman taking the top spot, closely followed by John Tunstall and Joe Groom.

Three in a row at TIMBERSPORTS® Championship

Three in a row at TIMBERSPORTS® Championship

Saturday’s action delivered more thrilling heats, and reigning champion Glen Penlington had his sights firmly set on securing his third Championship title in a row. Focussing first on the Underhand Chop, Penlington delivered an impressive start recording a time of 25.89 seconds, closely followed by his biggest rival for the title, 2014 champion Rob Chatley. And this excellent form continued throughout the competition, with Penlington achieving the fastest times in all five out of the six disciplines, and earning himself three personal bests in the process.

It was only the Stock Saw where Penlington didn’t get maximum points, but it did deliver a national record, courtesy of George Spencer. Spencer almost set a new British record in the Hot Saw too with a blistering time of 7.39 seconds, but the excitement was soon over, when judge Andy Hall disqualified him for an incomplete cookie.

In the end, Penlington’s dominance was obvious, with a 24 point advantage over second placed athlete Rob Chatley, to complete the hat trick of Championship wins. “I can’t quite believe I managed to win five of the disciplines this time. I think I got a bit lucky with the wood compared to some of the others, but it’s brilliant to be the champion again,” said Penlington after the competition. Graham Turner from Scotland completed the podium with a third place finish.

With the Pro championship wrapped up, all eyes turned to the competitions on the Sunday, starting with the British Women’s Championship. 2023 champion Justine Narusa was the one to beat, but a bad start to the competition with disqualification in the Stock Saw got worse after she ran out of time in the Standing Block Chop.

Instead, Felixia Banck from Denmark, newcomer Rachel Ferrington, and the youngest competitor, 17-year-old Libby Arrowsmith were the athletes to watch with solid performances from all three of them, including a new Danish national record for Felixia in the Stock Saw. Banck’s experience in logger sports ultimately saw her take the overall win, but Arrowsmith turned heads to take second place as the top-ranked British woman. Ferrington also impressed in her first ever TIMBERSPORTS® competition, taking third place overall.

Finally, it was the Rookies’ turn to take to the stage. 2023 Rookie champion Jack Morris was feeling confident going into the competition, having recently achieved a sixth placed finish at the Rookie World Championship in Milan in May. And his confidence was not misplaced, as he stormed through all four disciplines getting maximum points in the Underhand Chop, Single Buck and Standing Block Chop.

In his last year competing as a Rookie before he moves up to the Pro league, Morris certainly went out on a high beating his nearest rival and fellow axe club member, Zac Powell, by six points. Powell was pleased with his own results though, after achieving two personal best times in the Stock Saw and Standing Block Chop and improving on his fourth placed finish in 2023. The final spot on the Rookie podium was taken by Rowan Luxton, who also managed to jump up the rankings after finishing fifth in 2023.

After a thrilling weekend of extreme sport action, focus now switches to the World Championship in Toulouse, France in November. Penlington will have to wait until later in the year to find out if he has done enough to qualify for the Individual competition, but the tricky task of selecting the athletes to compete in the Team World Championship starts now.

“All three competitions this weekend were packed full of excitement and drama,” said Vicky Tween, TIMBERSPORTS® manager at STIHL GB, “but it’s onwards and upwards now for the athletes who make the British team. They will be laser-focussed on training to make sure they do their country proud.”

For full results from the weekend’s competitions, visit the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® database.

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