England’s Strongest Man U80kg Report and Full Event Video
This event was held at Progressive Training Systems in Northampton on Sunday 21st June 2015. It’s the first time we’ve held a national level competition for the U80kg scene, but we have been holding regular U80kg competitions for a little while and have been building up the success so we thought it was time to offer something bigger for the smaller guys, so England’s Strongest Man U80kg fitted the bill!
Because it was a national level event and title we decided to make this event tough. Nice and heavy! If you’re entering a national level competition then you can expect to be tested by the events alone, let alone the other athletes.
We decided on 5 events; For the national athletes a max log overhead lift, a deadlift medley, a yoke carry, a carry medley and an arm over arm rope pull. For the novices a log lift for reps, a deadlift for reps and then the rest similar to the national guys, just lighter. We wanted to get a max log in there to see if we could get some numbers set as a national record. The current U80kg strongman log lift British record at the time of the start of the competition was 122.5kg lifted by Mike Neale (as listed on the Starting Strongman record section of their website).
Deadlift medleys are great fun to watch and you can get some interesting variations on these. We went for a series of 4 lifts that got heavier in weight but also changed in leverage to challenge the athletes. We wanted to do a really heavy yoke run for just a single length, because heavy yokes are grim and entertaining. We came up with a nice little medley of items to carry with strongman classics of farmers walk, kegs and sandbags. And then a bit of vehicle action to finish the day off, an arm over arm rope pull of a 3.5 tonne van and then push it back to the start.
We also hired Les Wiltshire to MC the day. We’ve used Les before and he’s MC’ed at competitions we’ve competed at and we’ve always loved his style of presenting and he works well with us so it was good to have him on board to help get the crowd and the athletes going!
The first event on the day was the log lift. The novices had to lift a 70kg log from the floor to overhead as many times as possible in 60 seconds. Because we wanted the national athletes to lift the most amount of weight they could we went for nominated weights, powerlifting style. Three rounds so each athlete got roughly the same amount of rest. Max lift events in strongman competitions tend to have a bit of bad reputation for being long, drawn out and a bit boring, but if your platform crew are on it then it doesn’t need to be this way!
We had had a few of the athletes coming down in the previous weeks building up to the competition so I had an idea of what to expect from some of the national field. The British log lift record was certainly being eyed up by at least one individual!
We are fairly strict on our rulings for lifts, we like everyone to be on the same page. We were allowing 30 seconds per attempt on the max lifts to get a ‘Down’ command that signified a good clean lockout of the log overhead, with as many attempts as you could summon if needed in that 30 seconds.
I have to say that as an organiser I was very happy with how the max log lift went. With Faye reffing, Karen Sutherland and her friend Laura keeping the area and mats in check and myself and Mike Starkey acting as the safety buffer and switching weights it went wonderfully smooth! F1 pit teams eat your heart out! What a dream team!
Event 1 Results: Place and points after 1 event:
1st: Dean Barker = 9 reps 1st place 7 points
2nd: Christian Hilton = 8 reps 2nd place 5.5 points
Ricky Byrne = 8 reps 2nd place 5.5 points
4th: Lee Crockford = 7 reps 4th place 3.5 points
Lee Sharp = 7 reps 4th place 3.5 points
6th: Will Brown = 6 reps 6th place 2 points
7th: Dean Barnett = 5 reps 7th place 1 points
Guest: Crag Brookes = 3 reps Guest 0 points
1st: Daniel Ashcroft = 123.5kg BRITISH RECORD 1st place 12 points
2nd: Paul Dudley = 110kg 2nd place 11 points
3rd: Andy Smiles = 105kg 3rd place 10 points
4th: Graham Smith = 102.5 kg 4th place 9 points
5th: Dave Neill = 100kg 5th place 7.5 points
John Carter = 100kg 5th place 7.5 points
7th: Sean Cole = 95kg 7th place 5.5 points
Tommy Chivers = 95kg 7th place 5.5 points
9th: Chris Sober = 90kg 9th place 3.5 points
Dom Crane = 90kg 9th place 3.5 points
11th: Chris Kirby = 87.5kg 11th place 1.5 points
Stephen Wilkinson = 87.5kg 11th place 1.5 points
So as you can see Daniel Ashcroft succeeded in his bid to break the British U80kg log lift record! It was a tense few seconds but a very solid and determined press and then a celebratory war cry with the weight still overhead meant no arguments as to the legitimacy of the lift, which gave Faye a huge feeling of relief as referee!
The second event for the novices was a standard deadlift of 160kg for as many reps as possible in 60 seconds. Going into this event we were able to pair up the athletes who were equal on points from the log lift and make them go head to head for more excitement and drama!
The second event for the nationals was the deadlift medley. This consisted of 4 lifts that needed to be completed as quickly as possible, with 60 second time limit. The first lift was on a 200kg axle bar from the floor, the second was a normal 220kg Olympic bar from the floor, the third was a 240kg trap bar with a 12 inch height pick up and the final lift was a 260kg Olympic bar but from a 15 inch pick up. Each lift was heavier than the last, to test the pulling power of each athlete! This was a great event to watch, very exciting and a clear way for the crowd to see who was doing well! There was a really good spread of abilities with some guys struggling to do the first and second lifts all the way to the guys sprint hopping between bars to get the fastest time! Very exciting!
Event 2 Results: Place and points after 2 events:
1st: Christian Hilton = 17 reps 1st place 12.5 points
2nd: Lee Crockford = 16 reps 4th place 9 points
Lee Sharp = 16 reps 4th place 9 points
4th: Ricky Bryne = 11 reps 3rd place 9.5 points
5th: Dean Barker = 10 reps 2nd place 10 points
6th: Will Brown = 8 reps 6th place 4 points
7th: Dean Barnett = 6 reps 7th place 2 points
Guest: Craig Brookes = 11 reps Guest 0 points
1st: Daniel Ashcroft = 16.75 seconds 1st place 24 points
2nd: Sean Cole = 17.31 seconds 3rd place 16.5 points
3rd: Paul Dudley = 18 seconds 2nd place 21 points
4th: Tommy Chivers = 18.75 seconds 5th place 14.5 points
5th: Stephen Wilkinson = 21.09 seconds 9th place 9.5 points
6th: Graham Smith = 24.78 seconds 4th place 16 points
7th: Andy Smiles = 3 lifts 5th place 14.5 points
Dave Neill = 3 lifts 7th place 12 points
Dom Crane = 3 lifts 10th place 8 points
John Carter = 3 lifts 7th place 12 points
11th: Chris Sober = 1 lift 11th place 5.5 points
DNS: Chris Kirby = 0 lifts 12th place 1.5 points
Ah, event 3. The really heavy yoke for the nationals! We think this may be the heaviest yoke in U80kg history in this country, as 300kg is no joke! With only one length to do it was just a test of determination to get it over the line in time! The novices had to handle 200kg for two lengths, so they had the added fun of a drop and turn.
Event 3 Results: Place and points after 3 events:
1st: Ricky Byrne = 23.84 seconds 1st place 16.5 points
2nd: Will Brown = 28.53 seconds 6th place 10 points
3rd: Lee Crockford = 30.75 seconds 3rd place 14 points
4th: Christian Hilton = 36.53 seconds 1st place 16.5 points
5th: Lee Sharp = 36.66 seconds 4th place 12 points
6th: Dean Barker = 48.65 seconds 4th place 12 points
7th: Dean Barnett = 1 length + 8.23 metres 7th place 3 points
Guest: Craig Brookes = 38.44 seconds Guest 0 points
1st: Daniel Ashcroft = 13.62 seconds 1st place 36 points
2nd: Andy Smiles = 18.82 seconds 4th place 25.5 points
3rd: Sean Cole = 45.22 seconds 3rd place 26.5 points
4th: Stephen Wilkinson = 45.28 seconds 7th place 18.5 points
5th: Paul Dudley = 48.60 seconds 2nd place 29 points
6th: Tommy Chivers = 49.78 seconds 6th place 21.5 points
7th: Graham Smith = 16.20 metres 5th place 22 points
8th: Dom Crane = 10.40 metres 10th place 13 points
9th: Chris Sober = 9.65 metres 11th place 9.5 points
10th: John Carter = 8.55 metres 8th place 15 points
11th: Dave Neill = 5.60 metres 9th place 14 points
12th: Chris Kirby = 4.55 metres 12th place 2.5 points
Event 4 was a really fun event in my eyes. A carry medley over a fairly short distance of 10 metres of a farmers walk, a keg carry and then a sandbag carry to finish. With the items being so different to grip it was a tactical nightmare for a lot of the guys. It’s quite common for kegs in strongman to be quite manageable, but we had got our hands on an absolute bastard for the lads in the national category for this event! The farmers were 105kg in each hand, the wonderful large keg was 100kg and the sandbag was also 100kg for the guys in the national class, the novices had to contend with 85kg each hand farmers walk, an 80kg keg and an 80kg sandbag. Stephen Wilkinson made this event his own, compared to everyone else he made the implements look like they had been emptied!
Event 4 Results: Place and points after 4 events:
1st: Christian Hilton = 33.66 seconds 1st place 23.5 points
2nd: Ricky Byrne = 33.71 seconds 2nd place 22.5 points
3rd: Lee Sharp = 35.62 seconds 4th place 17 points
4th: Lee Crockford = 37 seconds 3rd place 18 points
5th: Dean Barnett = 47.63 seconds 7th place 6 points
6th: Will Brown = 48.63 seconds 6th place 12 points
7th: Dean Barker = 52.94 seconds 5th place 13 points
Guest: Craig Brookes = 2 items + 6.62 metres Guest 0 points
1st: Stephen Wilkinson = 37.19 seconds 5th place 30.5 points
2nd: Daniel Ashcroft = 46.65 seconds 1st place 47 points
3rd: Tommy Chivers = 47.66 seconds 4th place 31.5 points
4th: Paul Dudley = 47.78 seconds 2nd place 38 points
5th: Andy Smiles = 48.94 seconds 3rd place 33.5 points
6th: Graham Smith = 55.28 seconds 7th place 29 points
7th: John Carter = 59.19 seconds 8th place 21 points
8th: Chris Sober = 2 items + 4.93 metres 11th place 14.5 points
9th: Sean Cole = 2 items + 0.26 metres 5th place 30.5 points
10th: Dave Neill = 2 items 9th place 16.5 points
Dom Crane = 2 items 10th place 15.5 points
DNS: Chris Kirby = 0 items 12th place 2.5 points
Event 5 was a trip outside for a bit of vehicle action thanks to the wonderful guys at Brackmills MOT Centre (because the sun was out and it wasn’t pouring with torrential rain like the day before.). Now originally there was supposed to be 2 events outside, with an arm over arm rope pull and then a harness pull on a truck, but several of the lads were starting to look a bit fucked so we took a vote and the majority wanted to do just one more event so we finished with an arm over arm into a push on a 3.5 tonne van over 20 metres. I have to say that Andy Smiles broke my heart! He jumped the gun early on the transition from pull to push and the van didn’t cross the line in so doing the ensuing faffing around probably cost him his third place!
Event 5 Results: Place and points after 5 events:
1st: Cristian Hilton = 27.90 seconds 1st place 30.5 points
2nd: Lee Sharp = 31.53 seconds 3rd place 23 points
3rd: Lee Crockford = 31.82 seconds 3rd place 23 points
4th: Ricky Byrne = 31.91 seconds 2nd place 26.5 points
5th: Will Brown = 34.91 seconds 5th place 15 points
6th: Dean Barker = 37.41 seconds 5th place 15 points
7th: Dean Barnett = 38.19 seconds 7th place 7 points
Guest: Craig Brookes = 41.65 seconds Guest 0 points
1st: Graham Smith = 26.66 seconds 4th place 41 points
2nd: Tommy Chivers = 26.91 seconds 3rd place 42.5 points
3rd: Stephen Wilkinson = 27.28 seconds 5th place 40.5 points
4th: Paul Dudley = 28.82 seconds 2nd place 47 points
5th: Sean Cole = 28.84 seconds 6th place 38.5 points
6th: Dom Crane = 29.28 seconds 9th place 22.5 points
7th: John Carter = 29.65 seconds 8th place 27 points
8th: Dave Neill = 29.81 seconds 10th place 21.5 points
9th: Chris Kirby = 30.60 seconds 12th place 6.5 points
10th: Daniel Ashcroft = 31.44 seconds 1st place 50 points
11th: Chris Sober = 33.78 seconds 11th place 16.5 points
12th: Andy Smiles = 34.16 seconds 7th place 34.5 points
After this event we had a tie in points for third place with two of the guys in the novice category; Lee Crockford and Lee Sharp. These two guys had been swapping places with each other the whole competition and so them being tied for a podium spot after the final event meant one thing to us; TIE BREAKER! We decided on a face to face farmers lift and hold. Whoever held on the longest won! In the end Lee Crockford won this battle of wills, but it was such a close fight all day that Lee Sharp shouldn’t feel too bad as it was very exciting for all to watch!
Final placings and points:
1st: Christian Hilton 30.5 points
2nd: Ricky Byrne 26.5 points
3rd: Lee Crockford 23 points + winner of tie break
4th: Lee Sharp 23 points
5th: Dean Barker 15 points
Will Brown 15 points
7th: Dean Barnett 7 points
Guest: Craig Brookes 0 points
1st: Daniel Ashcroft 50 points
2nd: Paul Dudley 47 points
3rd: Tommy Chivers 42.5 points
4th: Graham Smith 41 points
5th: Stephen Wilkinson 40.5 points
6th: Sean Cole 38.5 points
7th: Andy Smiles 34.5 points
8th: John Carter 27 points
9th: Dom Crane 22.5 points
10th: Dave Neill 21.5 points
11th: Chris Sober 16.5 points
12th: Chris Kirby 6.5 points
The final points showed that the winners were fairly dominant, consistently winning their events or placing very high. However the fight beneath them was a vicious one! Places changing back and forth with every event, meant nothing could be taken for granted!
The top three in each class got a trophy made of glass, some USN goodies, and everybody that competed got a certificate and instead of the usual t-shirt we went for high quality vests and these went down very well! We like to take care of our competitors!
At this point I would like to answer some criticism we received (from one person) in particular to their comments of a ‘bad atmosphere’. First of all, what competition were you at? Not the same one I was at! I had a great fucking time and literally every other single person I have spoken to or have heard from said they loved it. But to help this situation, take this advice. If you go to a competition and you feel the atmosphere is ‘bad’ or not encouraging enough try these manoeuvres; take your hands and hold them in front of you with the palms facing each other, then proceed to thrust them together in fairly fast and steady rhythm. This is called ‘clapping’ and when done can encourage others to also clap. The sound produced shows appreciation. You also have a hole beneath your nose, you can make sounds with it. Sounds like ‘Yes!’, ‘Go on!’, ‘Up!’ and so on are quite acceptable when produced at loud decibels in competitions and act as encouragement, not just to the competitors but also to the other spectators. So what I’m saying is, if you feel like the atmosphere needs improving then try not to be a miserable wanker!
If you wish to see what other events are on at PTS then go to this link: https://www.progressivetrainingsystems.co.uk/store/index.php/events.html where you can enter our next upcoming competitions and also purchase spectator tickets.
The best way though to sum up this write up and the day in general is to watch the video we made as we did our best to capture every lift and attempt, so enjoy!