Nominations for February’s 2018 National Australian Chainsaw Racing Titles have closed, and 63 men and women – along with entourages – will be making their way to Tenterfield to compete in one of the biggest titles event ever held in Australia.
This will be the first time the titles will be held in Tenterfield, and chainsaw competitors will travel from an area spanning Gladstone to the north, the Hunter Valley to the south and Injune to the west. With the Tenterfield Show Society's support this event will be held in conjunction with the Tenterfield Show, which has expanded to a three-day event – February 9, 10 and 11 – to accommodate the titles.
Chainsaw racing will take over the fenced lower ring of the showground, providing the space and security required to stage the event, organiser Jason Chisholm said. Friday sees a full day of timed post ripping heats for the Under 100cc and Open Class. Saturday will start the visual standard speed events as well as the final for the Under 100cc, and Novice Post finals. Sunday will conclude the event with the unlimited production speeds (hot saws), Open Post Rip and the popular Jack and Jill, and Teams rips.
A state-of-origin post rip clash between NSW and Queensland teams will take over the main ring in front of the grandstand on Friday night from 6-7pm.
The Chisholm family travel far and wide to race chainsaws throughout the year, competing at as many events as possible. Jason has been the steward for the Tenterfield Show’s chainsaw racing section for the past four years, which has seen the competition grow from nine competitors in 2013 to 37 in 2017 across 12 events.
No competition this size, however, has even been staged in Tenterfield and it’s been a family affair to tackle the huge logistical operation to ensure the event runs smoothly, on a much larger scale than previous efforts.
Jason’s wife Katrina organises all the office and paperwork while Jason manages the mountain of timber required for the competition. Son Christopher is an integral part of both aspects of the operation, helping dad with barking billets, and putting fuel and oil in chainsaws, and helping mum with the draws. Christopher can’t wait to turn 16 so he can compete as well, although Jason fears that in 6.5 years time he may well be worn out.
Together Jason said they make a good team, with an enviable reputation for running an good event. This has enabled them the opportunity to host the titles, and attract competitors from near and far.
Dungog veteran chainsaw racer Bill Rumble – with 30-plus years in the sport – will be on hand as one of the three judges presiding over the event. He’s a fan of the Tenterfield races under the Chisholms’ management, saying they’re run on well-grassed areas that are good underfoot, offer good prize money and are among the most organised events he’s participated in.
“If it’s due to start at 9am, by 9.03 we have saws in the wood,” he said.
As soon as the Tenterfield community learned that the Chisholms were looking to bring the titles to Tenterfield, Katrina said they received great support from local businesses, particularly Tenterfield Chainsaws and Mowers.
They had to go through a rigorous process with Husqvarna, but having transcended that the international manufacturer has come on board as a major sponsor and is providing great support.
“They’ve been brilliant to deal with,” Jason said.
“They’ve gone above and beyond.”
Around $27,000 in cash and prizes is on offer, including several new Husqvarna chainsaws for winners of the open and under 100cc class of post rips, and prizes to the value of $3000 for the overall points winner.
The titles will produce a major economic boost to Tenterfield, Jason said, with some competitors camping and others seeking motel accommodation, and all looking to eat and shop in town. It’s also a great spectator sport, and will provide quite a spectacle with the large fields comprising the best of the best in this sport.
Jason and helpers will be cutting timber most weekends now in the leadup to the competition, with 230 billets of suitable quality required for the post rips alone, equating to around 10 rigid tipper loads of timber. Another 200 to 300 blocks are required for the speed events.
The Chisholms along with the Show Society will be manning a street stall on Thursday, November 30 and a barbecue outside Coles on Saturday, December 9 to fundraise and promote the upcoming event. Tickets will be sold at the street stall for two raffles: The $2 tickets could see you score a load of wood, a painting or a $100 Coles gift voucher.
For a $5 ticket you go into the draw to win a Husqvarna 445 chainsaw valued at $900, to be drawn after the State of Origin at the Tenterfield Show. Tickets in the chainsaw are also available at Tenterfield Chainsaw and Wizards Butchery.