As sponsors of the TIMBERSPORTS® Series, STIHL loves being part of the original extreme sport. And our involvement doesn’t just stop at having our name on the badge – our STIHL MS 661 chainsaw is the chainsaw all competitors have to master in the Stock Saw event!
In the first in our series of articles about the STIHLTIMBERSPORTS disciplines, let’s find out more about how the Stock Saw works.
Firstly, what are they actually cutting? In the Stock Saw discipline, it’s 40cm poplar logs that take the brunt of the chainsaw. Once the log is in place, a line is drawn 10cm away from the end of the log – this is the athlete’s cutting area. If they cut past that line, it’s an immediate disqualification and they earn no points for the discipline.
Before they start, they must make sure they are wearing all the correct safety equipment too – ear defenders, eye protection and chainsaw trousers or chaps must all be worn correctly during the discipline. If not, that’s another way to get a very quick (and very frustrating) DQ!
The MS 661 chainsaw in question is a high-performance machine that features our M-Tronic technology, an electronic engine management system that is designed to give consistent maximum speed and impressive acceleration. That consistency helps to keep the competition fair and equal at all times. It is used with a 50cm bar during competitions and all chainsaws are provided by the organisers to keep that level playing field.
On the signal from the judges, athletes have 15 seconds to warm up their chainsaw. They must start their saw in a safe manner – either on the floor, or held securely between their knees. Drop-starting it means a disqualification too, so athletes must make sure they get this part right.
Before the 15 seconds is up, the competitor must put the chainsaw on the ground and be ready to start with both hands on the log. Finally, on the judges’ signal, it’s all systems go and the athlete makes the cut. They must cut two complete discs, also known as cookies, without cutting over the 10cm line. They must cut down first, then back up through the log.
If they haven’t cut a complete disc, the competitor is allowed to cut again, providing they are still within their 10cm area, although this will obviously affect their overall time, and time is of the essence here! The current World Record for the Stock Saw is held by Christophe Leroux of France and is an impressive 9.90 seconds!
But this event is the one where every split second counts and it can be won, or lost, on the tiniest of margins. In the 2019 World Championship, there was just 0.31 seconds between the top three Stock Saw times. One slip-up can cost an athlete dearly here, so it requires 100% concentration at all times.
The British national record is held by five-time British champion Elgan Pugh, who clocked in a very respectable 10.60 seconds at the 2018 Championship. Can anyone else take him on in 2020 and beat that record? Get your tickets to see the original extreme sport live to find out! The 2020 British STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Championship will take place at BBC Countryfile Live on 22nd August – get your early bird tickets now.