Hat-trick hero Glen Penlington wins his third title at the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® British Championship

The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® British Championship delivered another thrilling weekend of extreme sport at the Royal Three Counties Show in Malvern, with Glen Penlington securing a hat-trick of Pro Championship titles in consecutive years. 

Hat-trick hero Glen Penlington at the Underhand Chop
Hat-trick hero Glen Penlington at the Underhand Chop

Competition for places was fierce, so for the first time ever, a Pro Championship qualifier competition took place on Friday 14th June. The five lowest ranked athletes from last year’s British Championship, along with nine newcomers to the Pro series, took to the stage. The top six athletes in the competition qualified for the British Pro Championship on Saturday; with this to play for, the standard was high and plenty of personal best times were set. Ultimately, Ben Chapman came out on top in only his second year of competing in TIMBERSPORTS®, with the second and third placed spots going to John Tunstall and Joe Groom.  

Saturday’s action delivered even more exciting battles, with Glen Penlington laser-focussed on taking home his third title following wins in 2022 and 2023. In the first discipline, the Underhand Chop, Penlington had the perfect start recording the fastest time of 25.89 seconds, closely followed by his title rival, 2014 champion Rob Chatley. And this excellent form continued, with Penlington achieving the fastest times in all but one of the six disciplines, and earning himself three personal bests in the process. 

It was only the Stock Saw where Penlington didn’t set the quickest time, but it still delivered maximum excitement with George Spencer setting a new national record. 2023 Team GB member, Spencer almost set a new British record in the Hot Saw too with a blistering time of 7.39 seconds, but elation was followed by despair when he quickly realised he’d cut an incomplete cookie. 

In the end, a 24 point advantage over Chatley in second place meant Penlington made securing his third Championship title look easy. “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 took third place to complete the podium. 

With the Pro championship over, all eyes turned to the Women’s and Rookie competitions on the Sunday. 2023 Women’s champion Justine Narusa was the one to beat in the first competition of the day, but a disqualification in the Stock Saw and the Standing Block in the first two events ruled out any chance of her retaining her title. 

With the competition wide open, Felixia Banck from Denmark, newcomer Rachel Ferrington, and the youngest competitor, 17-year-old Libby Arrowsmith fought it out for the overall title. Having competed in ten TIMBERSPORTS® competitions already, Banck’s experience helped her deliver a new Danish national record in the Stock Saw, as well as the overall Championship win. But Arrowsmith certainly 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 had recently competed in the Rookie World Championship in Milan, and achieved an impressive sixth placed finish against the best rookies in the world. And he took the British Championship by storm, getting maximum points in the Underhand Chop, Single Buck and Standing Block Chop.

Jack Morris (m.), Zac Powell (l.) and Rowan Luxton (r.).
Jack Morris (m.), Zac Powell (l.) and Rowan Luxton (r.). The three first places of the rookie competition.

This is Morris’s last year competing as a Rookie before aiming to compete as a Pro next year, and he certainly looks ready to move up with his impressive times. Zac Powell took second place, improving on his fourth placed finish last year as well as achieving two personal best times in the Stock Saw and Standing Block Chop. Rowan Luxton took the third spot on the podium.  

After another action-packed British Championship, focus now switches to the World Championship in Toulouse, France in November. Selection for the British team will take place shortly, with training starting later in the summer, although Penlington will have to wait until later in the year to find out if he has qualified for the Individual competition.