Robbie Fernandez puts his back into dragging a 10-tonne truck yesterday as a preview to the Australian Hercules Championship event.
Robbie Fernandez puts his back into dragging a 10-tonne truck yesterday as a preview to the Australian Hercules Championship event. Cathy Adams

Strongmen go flat out to lift the title

IF YOU have ever been 'supersonic' you might yet win the title of Australia's strongest man.

That's how Derek Boyer described the state he reaches before completing tasks such as flipping cars and pulling trains.

Mr Boyer has held the title of Australia's strongest man since 1997 and yesterday he proved himself worthy of his title by pulling a 10-tonne prime mover along Keen Street in Lismore.

Mr Boyer, who is also known as Thunder on the television show Gladiators, told hundreds of people lining the street to watch the truck pulling attempt that 'there was a storm coming' and didn't disappoint when he shifted the truck 15 metres.

The event was staged to promote the Australian Hercules Championships which will be held this Sunday at the Italo-Australia Club in Lismore.

Strongmen from across the nation will compete at the tournament which will determine the strongest man in the nation for 2008.

Victorian strongman Robbie Fernandez, who weighs in at 150kg and stands 195cm tall, will also be competing for the title. He also pulled the truck 15 metres yesterday.

His efforts were met by the sound of a cheering crowd and Mr Boyer heckling him with taunts of 'you can't beat Thunder'. Mr Boyer said Mr Fernandez will be one of his biggest threats on Sunday and predicted the event would be a 'battle of the century'.

"We take this competition very seriously," he said.

"It will be like the (Rumble in the Jungle) battle between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman," he said.

Sunday's tournament will include a section where the men will be challenged to lift a 180kg boulder - the heaviest weight ever attempted in Australia.

The winner of the competition will represent Australia at the World Strongman Championships. Mr Boyer said the world title would be the ultimate test of strength and hopes his 'supersonic' power will help him to victory after seven previous attempts.


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