A BERTH in the Australia team is the lure for Tamworth’s Daniel Clissold and Gunnedah’s Lachlan Baker when they contest the inaugural Stihl Timbersports Series at Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend.
The three-day NSW heat will be a major attraction at the V8 Supercars SuperSprint from tomorrow and, while drivers are revving up their engines for the super sprint, the two locals will be wielding their axes and chainsaws against eight other hopefuls for a spot in the national side to contest the World Timbersport Series Championships in Poland in November.
Contestants compete in six disciplines – three wood and three saw – to determine the best all-round lumberjack.
The top two will progress to the final qualifier to be run during the Bathurst 1000 from October 8 to 11.
The top two from that will go to Poland.
And while Clissold has only been competing seriously for three-and-a-half years, he’s been swinging an axe from a young age.
“I basically had an axe in my hand from a very young age, helping dad (Bob Clissold) a lot in the forest.
“Dad did a bit of competing but then I met David Foster and Kevin Williams (both national and world titleholding axemen) at a show in Mungindi and they advised me to take it up as a sport,” Clissold said.
“But it’s a hard sport.
“It’s based on complete calculation, not just chopping wood like a lot of people think.
“You’re basically slicing through the wood and have to gauge just how many blows it’ll take to sever a block of soft or hard wood.
“It’s an explosive sport too where you can go from nothing to full power within a second, sometimes with a seven-and-a-half inch wide axe trying to calculate where the next blow will go.”
The most important item of the woodchopper’s gear bag is the axe, with six to eight different-sized axes all ground differently and each worth $680.
Chainsaws are also used, particularly in this weekend’s Stihl Timbersport Series.
“The chainsaws used are 250cc but we also use a hot saw which would have four times that much power,” Clissold said.
The Pilliga Natural Timbers proprietor’s favourite event is the springboard, which is no surprise considering his fifth in the two-board springboard at the world titles in Canada last week.
“I spend 16 days over there competing and also teamed up with American Rob Wiable for second in the two-man butcher’s block event.”