Sunday, 3 June 2012

Report : Englands Strongest Man 105kg

I`m am very happy to introduce you to VikingR competition reporter Paul Fong who will be reporting on whats happening out and about in the Strength World ..

We sent our new reporter over to ESM 105kg to check out what unfolded ..

Mark Clegg

Good evening blog readers, my name's Paul and today I was given the opportunity to report on England's Strongest Man U105. This was actually my first ever attended competition so as you can imagine I was pretty psyched to watch how these guys battled out for that prestigious title. For months, 60 men have been whittled down to just 13. Today was a battle of the best, and what a show I was in for!

The competition began promptly within minutes of the stated start time and first up was the circus dumbbell medley. 51, 57, 67, 78 and 105kg dumbbells were to be lifted and dropped consecutively in a controlled manner to award points. Practically everyone made short work of the first three, but it was the big 78 that caused problems for a lot of the competitors. Ben Kelsey, Darren Clarke and George Winston successfully managed the lift on their first attempt, with Sebastian Iwaniak and Damien Turner requiring further attempts. With just single seconds separating the top 3, it was already proving a close competition as Ben Kelsey took the win on time. However, with only five competitors completing just the 4th dumbbell, ESM2012 was indeed going to test every fabric of strength within these incredible athletes.

Next up was the deceptively low big-wheel deadlift. The challenge: 300kg for reps (from what looked to be around 12 inches) within a 75 second time limit. With the majority of the competitors setting a very respectable 1-3 rep standard, Ben Kelsey stepped up to the platform and ripped out 13 huge reps. The crowd went wild, and the competition saw it's first glimpse of a potential dominating force. Many more tried, with the rep count climbing between the 5-8 range now, but still Ben looked unstoppable. As Sebastian Iwaniak approached the bar, he calmly asked what he needed for the win, and as the judge replied with 14, he confidently looked down to the bar and ripped it upwards. In very controlled and technical manner, the crowd watched as he built his way up to ten big reps but eventually ran out of time. He looked good for more, but Ben's speed snatched him the victory for a 
second event win.

As the tractor pull was being measured, I couldn't help but notice the giant block of concrete stuck to the back of it. So as if a 1.5 ton tractor wasn't enough, the great big pile of concrete tipped it to a whopping 2 tons. And it was pulled on grass, which I can only imagine being a real pain in the arse for trying to gain that initial intertia and continuous momentum started. Alas, every competitor completed the pull in half the time limit, suggesting that these guys really meant business. Jonathon Mills flew ahead by over two and a half seconds, robbing Ben of his third win leaving him in second place. A variety of different pulling methods were used; Some used the legs, the arms, even their back! It was a wonderful sight for someone who's got an upcoming arm-over-arm in a novice comp soon...

Next up was the sandbag loading, which definitely looked like the hardest event of the day. As James Clayton approached the sandbags, he seemed almost guaranteed to load it, but from the spectator’s view, there was a problem. As they were using the side of the stone loading platform, there was a 6” bar around 3” inwards on the platform that the competitors also had to clear. This caused so many problems, especially for the shorter athletes, and proved the downfall for over a third of the competitors. Even worse was when the athletes tried to compensate for this bar by literally flinging it over, only to have it roll off the edge! It turned out to be a very technically challenging event, but a superb performance by Darren Clarke and Daniel Cave gave them the top two spots as the only competitors to load all four. Considering these bags were 10kg over bodyweight and essentially required shouldering, the crowd definitely appreciated all of the athlete's efforts and cheered everyone on, regardless of placing.​

The penultimate event of the competition was the keg toss, and once again Ben Kelsey claimed the win after a dominative run. Followed closely by Sebastian, they were the only two competitors who managed the 6th and final keg. At 18kg and needing a height of over 14 feet, a lot of competitors found it challenging, but that didn't stop them trying! A valiant effort from Darren Clarke, Damian Turner and George Winston saw them repeatedly try it after a blisteringly fast first five, but to no such luck. Unfortunately, most athletes found themselves running 15m and back after stray kegs went under or around the bar, perhaps unexpectedly testing their cardio and stamina as well as their explosive power!

And of course, the perfect final event to any strongman competition, the atlas stones. Just a quick note to mention how cool the loading platform was, as it was 3-4 logs laid down allowing the stones to sit in between them, very intuitive! (Well, I'd never seen one before anyway...). At a starting weight of 117kg, these stones were not for the faint hearted. Still, everyone managed at least two (135kg) and over half the competitors managed three! (160kg). Once again, when the crowd noticed how tough these guys found it, they really backed every little attempt there was. With the 4th and final stone, most competitors managed to lap it, and some even came close to loading it, but it all came down to Sebastian, Darren and Ben. Seb made the first three look easy, and loaded the 4th with confidence too, finishing in a very fast time of 35 seconds. Next, Darren was up, and while the first three went up very quickly, the 4th just wouldn't budge. As both Ben's and the competition's final turn came around, he rose to the occasion, the crowd screaming and shouting, and the 175kg stone was loaded with authority.

                                     Ben Kelsey Wins Englands Strongest Man U105kg !

A dominative performance grants Ben a well earned victory, with Darren Clarke and Sebastian Iwaniak following closely behind in second and third, respectively. A huge congratulations to not only our top 3, but also the top 6 who've now qualified for Britain's Strongest Man U105, and of course to the rest of the roster who put on an absolute belter of a show too. And not just only them, but also the officials, organisers and volunteers who allowed for a impeccably organised and well run competition on the day. I'm afraid to admit it but I actually missed a few good photos from writing notes, only to look up and find that a new athlete had already started! (Almost TOO organised!).

Like I said, this was my first competition and these phenomenal guys have made it an awesome day out. Depending on the organisation and smoothness of other shows, they may have indefinitely ruined all future comps for me with such high standards too! A magnificent field of athletes, officials and organisational team definitely made this a day to remember.

Final Scores were -

1st Ben Kelsey 72 pts
2nd Daz Clarke 65 pts
3rd Sebastian Iwaniak 61 pts
4th Daniel Cave 49.5 pts
5th John Rudgard 43.5 pts
6th George Winston 41 pts
7th Damien Turner 40 pts
8th James Clayton 32 pts
9th John Marsden 30.5 pts
10th Jonny Mills 30 pts
11th John Campbell 24.5 pts
12th Danny Loundon 20 pts
13th Mark Hodgson 19 pts


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