Ferry Svan of Sweden sawed his way to victory in the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® World Trophy European Qualifier in emphatic fashion as Czech chopper Martin Komárek and Belgium's Koen Martens claimed the remaining podium spots in Aigle, near Montreux, Switzerland.
In winning the event Svan, who also sits atop of the European ranking in the Individual format, secured qualification for next year's World Trophy, one of the most prestigious international competitions in the TIMBERSPORTS® series. He will be joined by the next five best athletes from a thrilling day of axe-tion including Czech Komárek who delivered a series of scintillating performances before a disqualification in the head-to-head final handed Svan the victory. Elsewhere, Martens saw off Britain's Elgan Pugh to claim the final step on the podium and Polish logger sports star Michael Dubicki and his long-time rival Pierre Puybaret secured their places by finishing fifth and sixth in the competition.
Competing in a knockout format, the top six athletes in the competition would secure their place at the World Trophy: the four semi-finalists and the two fastest losing quarterfinalists. After an opening Time Trial, the athletes went to toe-to toe in a heart-racing head-to-head knockout format, taking on four iconic TIMBERSPORTS® disciplines – Stock Saw, Underhand Chop, Single Buck and Standing Block Chop - one after the other in each round.
Numerous National Records fall as Europe's finest put on stunning show
2021 European Trophy winner Dubicki was quickest off the mark in the opening Time Trial round, finishing top of the standings in 1:09.26, ahead of Komárek and Sweden's Emil Hansson continued his impressive form since stepping up from the rookie class earlier this year, setting a personal best time of 1:13.86. The likes of Svan, Puybaret, and Martens made sluggish openers.
As the competition moved to the head-to head battles in the round of 16 Czech veteran Komárek laid down his marker with a jaw-dropping National Record in a time of 1:02.58 against fellow countryman Martin Kalina. However, Sweden's Hansson could not repeat his performance from the Time Trial as he lost out in the first head-to-head round to Pugh signalling the end of his quest to qualify for next year's World Trophy. Meanwhile, Puybaret edged out his compatriot Guillaume Maure by less than 5 seconds in a thrilling contest and Svan ended Austrian Armin Kugler's hopes.
The Quarter Finals saw Svan take his performance to the next level and another National Record fall as he posted his fastest score of the entire evening, in a time of 1:02.36 to see off Dubicki in the matchup of the day. Dubicki's impressive time of 1:06.16 would have been good enough for him to progress in each of the other Quarter Finals and easily secured him one of the two fastest loser spots to book his place in the World Trophy. However, following defeat to Martens, Puybaret had a tantalising wait to see if his time of 1:16.53 was good enough to book his spot at the highly coveted event. Komarek and Pugh won their respective heats to secure their places in the World Trophy and with Poland's Marcin Darga and Dutch chopper Redmer Knol unable to best Puybaret's time, the Frenchman secured the final spot.
Svan eased into the Final with another sub 1:15.00 time of 1:10.45 to defeat Martens (1:38.58), with Komárek joining him with a Semi Final time of 1:16.84, to leave Pugh (DQ) to face Martens in the Small Final.
Martens took third place with a time of 1:16.21 in the Small Final, with both athletes clearly thrilled to have secured their place in next year's World Trophy.
Svan and Komárek deliver dramatic Final showdown
Svan, who had looked dominant since the Quarter Final stage, came under pressure in a thrilling Final. The veteran Komárek looked to have claimed victory when he produced the quickest time of the two athletes but was dramatically disqualified for an equipment error, handing Svan victory with a time of 1:05.39.
Ferry Svan commented: "I am speechless, I am so happy with my performance today. I am really looking forward to competing in the World Trophy next year."
Martin Komárek, who finished runner-up, added, "I am very happy with my performance today. I love to compete with some of the best athletes in the world and Ferry is one of them. The support from the Czech Republic has been incredible and I just want to thank everyone for believing in me."
1) Ferry Svan, Sweden (1:05.39, Final)
2) Martin Komárek, Czech Republic (DQ - Final)
3) Koen Martens, Belgium (1:16.21 – Small Final)
4) Elgan Pugh, Great Britain (1:32.49 – Small Final)
5) Michael Dubicki, Poland (1:06.16, Quarter Final)
6) Pierre Puybaret, France (1:16.53, Quarter Final)
7) Redmer Knol, Netherlands (1:18.35, Quarter Final)
8) Marcin Darga, Poland (1:23.26, Quarter Final)
9) Danny Martin, Germany (1:14.50, Round of 16)
10) Oliver Reinhard, Switzerland (1:15.25, Round of 16)
11) Andrea Rossi, Italy (1:16.15, Round of 16)
12) Martin Kalina, Czech Republic (1:16.68, Round of 16)
13) Guillaume Maure, France (1:18.93, Round of 16)
14) Emil Hansson, Sweden (1:20.49, Round of 16)
15) Armin Kugler, Austria (1:22.43, Round of 16)
16) Glen Penlington, Great Britain (1:26.67, Round of 16)
Full results and final standings for the European Trophy can be found on the database.