Poland's Michał Dubicki has become the first ever STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Virtual European Champion after a s-awesome performance across six action-packed woodchopping and sawing disciplines.
Dubicki, who is a two-times Polish national champion and has enjoyed top five finishes at the World Trophy and Team World Championship, carved up a total points tally of 59 to pip Belgium's Koen Martens to the inaugural title. Martens finished in an impressive 57 points, with the Czech Republic's Martin Komárek rounding out the top three on 53 points.
Dubicki, who calls himself "Axe Machine", dominated across the woodchopping disciplines, taking the maximum 12 points on offer by finishing first in the Underhand Chop (15:08 seconds) and the Standing Block Chop (15:98 seconds), whilst a top three finish in the infamous Springboard (54:93 seconds) earned him a further 12 points. Dubicki recovered well from a shaky Stock Saw (12:93 seconds), which saw him secure just two points in the first of the sawing disciplines, holding his own with third and fourth place finishes in the Single Buck (12.73 seconds) and Hot Saw (8:46 seconds) earning him 12 and nine points respectively.
Martens provided stiff competition and got off to a flying start in the first two disciplines of Underhand Chop and Stock Saw, but he could not maintain that momentum across the following three disciplines, with a stunning time of 6:12 seconds in the Hot Saw not enough to overturn Dubicki's lead, despite earning him the maximum 18 points on offer.
For Czech chopper Komárek, it was a case of what might have been, with the three-time Individual World Championship silver medalist failing to complete the Hot Saw discipline despite leading the field in total points going into the final round.
The full results for the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Virtual European Championship can be found here.
STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Virtual European Champion, Michał Dubicki, commented: "I'm very excited to be crowned the first ever Virtual European Champion, it's an amazing feeling. I'm overwhelmed but so happy.
"The competition was in isolation, but I tried not to think about that. Before the start of each discipline I concentrated on my own start, prepared individually and focused mentally on achieving the best possible time.
"I'd like to wish all of my family, friends, fellow athletes and fans lots of health and happiness in the New Year."
This year's Virtual European Championship replaced the cancelled Individual World Championship, which could not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event saw 14 of the very best woodchopping and sawing athletes from around the continent go blade-to-blade from different locations to determine the first ever Virtual European Champion.
Each athlete competed from separate locations in their home countries, observing local hygiene requirements, between 30th November and 10th December. The usual STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Individual round format applied, with the athletes taking on six traditional logging disciplines including the Underhand Chop, Standing Block Chop, Springboard, Single Buck, Stock Saw and Hot Saw.
The athletes accumulated points based on their times in the six disciplines, however the times from the Single Buck and Springboard only counted for the best eight athletes to progress to the second round, whilst the Hot Saw only be counted for the best six athletes after the completion of round two.
All performances were observed by STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® officials and the times and video footage were sent to and approved by official judges.
The world class TIMBERSPORTS® action does not end with the Virtual European Championship. An additional competition, the Virtual European Hot Saw Challenge, will be streamed across the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Facebook, YouTube and Twitch.tv channels at 2:30pm CET on Saturday 2nd January to ensure the 2021 TIMBERSPORTS® season gets off to a razor-sharp start.