Jamie Head and Matt Coffey axed the competition, taking out the gold medals at the 2023 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Australian Pro & Rookie Championship in Wollongong on Saturday, 16 September.
A surprise upset, Head battled it out against 11 of Australia’s best STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® athletes in the Original Extreme Sport, beating last year's Australian Championship winner, Brad De Losa, by 2 points in a thrilling Grand Final. A solid performance on the way to the final, it was his final rounds that proved crucial. His stunning display in the springboard vaulted him to first, a position he was able to maintain ahead of crowd favourite De Losa in the final round. An emotional Jamie Head paid tribute to his family and his perseverance in the sport, finally claiming top spot after competing in the sport for 29 years.
Jamie Head said: “This is the culmination of what I’ve been working towards. I was feeling great this week and thought I was in with a chance. I’ve been close previous times, but today I was able to deliver in the final rounds. The crowd was amazing in Wollongong, they are the reason we can compete. “My family has supported me all the way through my career. I’m so proud to have my wife and kids here to witness this. I can’t wait to head to the World Championships to represent Australia and lead the Chopperoos to hopefully another world title.”
Head will now travel to Stuttgart in November to represent Australia in the World Championships, leading the Chopperoos in the Team’s World Championship. Fellow competitors Brad de Losa and Laurence O’Toole, Mitchell Argent, and Brayden Meyer have all qualified for the Chopperoos team.
The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Australian Rookie Championship saw an incredible battle between competitors, with Victorian Matt Coffey ultimately winning the gold medal. Fellow competitor and runner-up in the 2023 World Rookie Championship Curtis Bennett had troubles with the final event, the springboard, finishing a close runner up.
Coffey finished just 10 points ahead of Bennett, with Will Lovell a further three points behind. The final standings were settled on the results of the springboard, as Bennett couldn’t hold on to his lead as Coffey and Lovell set personal best times. Matt Coffey said after his win: “I’ve been working incredibly hard towards my aim of winning the Australian Rookie Championship. There was great competition with the other boys today, I really had to bring my best to claim this title. I could hear supporters and my mum as I was competing today, I’m so proud I will be representing Australia now.”
Coffey will now head to the World Championship in Stuttgart to support the Chopperoos in November, ahead of competing at the World Rookie Championships in 2024.