Ever watched videos of extreme sports and wondered if you could do it? Stihl
TIMBERSPORTS ® is the original extreme sport, where super-strong competitors smash through huge chunks of timber using razor-sharp axes and high-powered saws. But there is more than just brute force involved in TIMBERSPORTS ® so we invited four burly rugby players from Leicester Tigers to join us at our recent newcomers’ training camp to test their skills and see how hard it really is!

Stihl TIMBERSPORTS ® training camps are run every year in Great Britain to get more people involved in this exciting, emerging sport, and this year was no exception with our first camp taking place in March.

Our three dedicated trainers shared their expertise and provided advice to a gang of nervous newcomers over the weekend, who are all keen to compete in the British TIMBERSPORTS ® Championship, which will be held at BBC Countryfile Live from 2-5 August. For those who do well at the British Championship, the lure of the World Championship awaits and this year, with the event taking place on home soil at the Echo Arena Liverpool in October, the competition will be extremely fierce so receiving training on the perfect technique is all-important.

And technique was high on the agenda when the Tigers players joined us for the day. Greg Bateman (hooker), Tatafu Polota-Nau (hooker) and Valentino Mapapalangi (back row) are not lacking in strength – with a combined weight of over 450kg and the power to match, the foursome were keen to get stuck in as soon as they arrived. But Spike Milton, Head Trainer and TIMBERSPORTS ® Global Sports Director, stressed the importance of a proper safety briefing, especially when using axes so sharp you can shave with them!

After running through the do’s and don’ts of the training session, Greg, Tatafu and
Valentino were packed off to try out their first event of the day, the Single Buck. Brandishing a 2 metre long cross cut saw, their trainer for this event, Andrew Evans, explained how they could get through a 46cm wide log in the quickest possible time. Throwing themselves into the event, a competitive undercurrent soon appeared, with Greg and Tatafu both trying to claim the Single Buck crown!

NeLeicester Tigers gear up in PPE at TIMBERSPORTS®xt up, the Tigers players were handed metal boots to wear for the Underhand Chop discipline, an event which involves chopping through a 32cm log with an axe whilst standing on it! The World Record for this event is 12.39 seconds and is held by the Australian athlete, Brayden Meyer. Needless to say, the Tigers players didn’t quite achieve this time, finding it a real challenge to master the technique.

The final event of the day was the Stock Saw discipline – the only TIMBERSPORTS ® event to use a standard STIHL product, the MS 661 petrol chainsaw. Again, the trainers made sure the players were fully kitted up in the right Personal Protective Equipment, but the four teammates took to this discipline like a rugby player to a scrum! With Andrew Evans again providing his expert guidance, the players each practiced the Stock Saw several times before taking on current Team GB competitor, Glen Penlington, in timed heats. Glen had his work cut out but his years of TIMBERSPORTS ® experience meant he did get the quickest times of the day.

The sheer strength and fitness of the Leicester Tigers players certainly served them well in their introduction to TIMBERSPORTS ® but they were all surprised by how much technique it takes to master the sport.

Want to see if you’ve got what it takes? Contact timbersports@stihl.co.uk to be the first to hear about the 2019 TIMBERSPORTS training camps. Or if you just want to see the impressive skills up close, why not see the best athletes in the world take each other on at the Stihl TIMBERSPORTS ® World Championship in October – get your tickets now.

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