WAYNE’S HARD NEWS - THE 2008 NABBA BRITAIN REPORT
Although I have a number of NABBA Britain DVDs and videos for sale on our site from earlier years, this was the very first time I have ever actually shot and produced the DVDs from a NABBA Britain show. Many different regional qualifiers take place through out the preceding 12 months in all parts of the UK, from England to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The top place-getters all qualify for the Britain finals, held this year in The Floral Hall Theatre in Southport.
For me it was like coming back home to England early for the NABBA Universe, as I shot the event from the usual private video position that I have used for the NABBA Universe in recent years. It is a perfect spot for shooting and producing DVDs of top class bodybuilding shows. In this event, a massive 150 competitors took to the stage.
The lighting as usual was outstanding, and the prejudging and evening show ran like clockwork. This meant that the evening show finished at a reasonable hour. There were many excellent Trade Stands (Booths) in the Floral Hall, providing for the fans who wanted to pick up a bargain or two. The contest drew an enthusiastic audience of around 1200 fans and supporters. At most of the regional shows over the last 12 months, they had full houses with standing room only and many fans turned away. From this you can deduce that grass roots bodybuilding is on a high in UK right now. I was honoured to be invited this year to come and shoot this famous event that commenced way back in 1930. I look forward to coming back to do the Britain again next year - on May 30th, 2009!
Now for a few comments on the competitors who impressed me the most, commencing with the men’s 8 classes and then the women’s 3 classes.
MASTERS OVER 40
Oscar Roberts was a clear winner over second placed Ian Buckley. Many of these guys would not have looked out of place in the Open Height Classes. Oscar had a muscle maturity and overall hardness, coupled with good size and nice symmetry, making him a real contender for that #1 position. The judges clearly agreed. Alan Sheldon was not far behind in 3rd place. I was also most impressed by the outstanding condition of Andrew Binch in 4th place, a couple of points behind Alan. There were 14 brilliant competitors in this class.
MASTERS OVER 50
David Steele lived up to his name and was literally a man of steel that the others could not beat. Especially so considering he had straight firsts. David placed 6th at the Universe in the Masters Over 40 class in 2006 and he could conceivably take the Universe crown in the Over 50 class this year if he can reproduce the same package again on Universe day. That will be on October 4th in Southport.
Snapping at his heels with a ferocious display of muscular aggression was that old war horse from the North West, Gordon Pasquil. I recall Gordon appearing at a NABBA Universe event when he was in his early 20s! He certainly proved, as David did with his strong display, that the bodybuilding flame still burns with great intensity.
Gordon had size, hardness, symmetry and excellent posing making up the complete package. In 3rd place was the very impressive Sam Metcalfe from Scotland, originally from Texas. Sam certainly did not look 50 and as a late-comer to the sport will continue to improve. I liked his posing style which brought something different to the stage.
Steven Coates was a very worthy winner over James Day with Liam Barrowclough in 3rd place. These 8 young guys represent the future of UK bodybuilding. Steven has a mature and well rounded physique for one so young. With more size, given time, and holding his excellent symmetry, he will be a threat in the open ranks in the very near future.
I love this class as it presents such a mixed bag of ages, sizes and shapes. Some of the guys are new to bodybuilding and hence display immense potential. Others have been around for years and never won anything major. This is their chance to step up and impress at a national event. Many have crossed over from other sports having discovered bodybuilding in their 30s.
Tom Young was the winner of this class with first placings from every judge bar one, making it a convincing victory. It made me wonder where Tom has been hiding all these years! He presented a top class physique and one that will do very well in open competition in the future.
In second place was the ripped Darren Crocker edging out the more massive James Braddock.
MEN’S CLASS 4
This class truly belonged to Ian Sturrock with a complete set of firsts from the judges. I have seen Ian around over the years and was pleased that he really nailed it this year. He has a neat, compact physique with excellent shape and proportions. 2nd was Wade Stafford who finished a nose in front of Paul Scarborough. In 4th place was the beautifully shaped physique of Wayne Robinson who I felt was unlucky not to grab 3rd spot. He had the best V shape in his class with a classic look more in the Zane style. His condition was outstanding and he posed well. I can only assume the judges felt he was a touch light in the legs which is an area he can certainly improve on to become a future winner of this class.
MEN’S CLASS 3
This was THE class of the contest in my opinion as it had 14 great athletes fighting for the title, including the eventual overall Mr Britain winner JUSTIN TROLLOPE. I have also seen Justin around the top contests for a number of years and finally this was his year to truly shine on the big day. Interestingly he did not get straight firsts, such was the intense competition, with runner up Joe Walker only a few points behind him. Rob Clapham rounded out an exceedingly talented top 3.
Why did Justin succeed in such a tough class? He had massive size, reasonably good symmetry and rock hard condition along with big impressive arms. These are most of the current requirements for success these days if you want to present the Herculean type of look. That is what Justin did to near perfection. However he needs to bring out the separation a little more in his abs to go to the next level. This was the one area of his physique that I felt let him down a little and may have cost him when it came to the overall judgement. Fortunately it did not.
MEN’S CLASS 2
Andrew James was the winner of this class with one of the very best physiques in the whole contest in my opinion. I felt he was a good chance in the overall posedown of the 4 class winners. However the sheer mass and overall impact of Justin Trollope proved too much for him. Andrew had an outstanding midsection and wonderful condition. His only weakness from an overall physique point of view was leg size compared to Justin. In 2nd place behind Andrew was David Bell with Barrie Vormawah coming in at 3rd place. David was sharper than Barrie who is a really experienced competitor and has been around about the top level for many years.
MEN’S CLASS 1
I was very pleased to see Russell Freakley win this class after seeing him knocking on the door at major contest for some years. It was a well deserved victory with Russell presenting a hard, ripped physique and nice proportions and entertaining posing. His experience shone through with Eddie Gray having to settle for 2nd place and Stuart Garrington not far behind in 3rd place. This was another tough and very even class.
My congratulations to Justin Trollope for taking the Overall NABBA Mt Britain title and joining the long line of greats that include Reg Park and many more UK legends of the sport.
MISS TONED FIGURE
Most people reading this report outside of NABBA UK will not be familiar with this class. It is a relatively new and exceedingly sensible class to allow more women to compete in bodybuilding without needing to be blessed with exceptional genetics or being ripped to the bone. By this I mean that the Figure Class you see in NABBA Universe contests and other similar contests in other countries has become a mini-physique class. You need a fair degree of size and muscularity that many women cannot obtain or do not wish to attain. The toned figure look is super feminine, healthy and most desirable, showcasing women’s bodybuilding as it should be. The look is athletic, firm and toned while displaying a good degree of good old fashioned sex appeal.
The winner of this outstanding class of 16 wonderfully toned and athletic women was the brilliant KAY FERRIER. Kay presented an overall package that got her a narrow victory over Andrea Felstead with Kizzy Vaines in 3rd place. I felt that Kay has the potential to go on and achieve what ever future goals she may set for herself in figure class bodybuilding. Kay has 3 children and has only been competing for 3 years. She is a name to watch out for in the future in Figure competitions.
Andrea was also a very impressive figure competitor, diminutive in a way but a powerful presence on stage. Kizzy Vaines was a dynamic bundle of energy and was a standout with her amazing aerobic routine and doing her flips across the stage. Possible the judges hoped for more “figure style poses” from her but that it seems is not her natural style, based on the routine she presented.
In 6th place and displaying enormous potential was Cherry Abell, 24 year old daughter of Julia Abell, the Physique Miss Universe winner of 1998. She is a tall, beautiful young lady and I hope she stays motivated and on track in this sport as her teenage distractions increase. It will be interesting to see if she keeps the Abell tradition alive at a future Universe contest.
MISS TRAINED FIGURE CLASS 2
In first place was the brilliant, symmetrical and superbly conditioned physique of KATHRYN MULLEN. She had the total package for Figure Class competition such that she later went on to win the overall posedown for this category. A worthy winner with an outstanding figure produced by many hours of hard training over a number of years. Runner-up was the delightful Louise Thornton with a figure that I hope we will see later in competition at the NABBA Universe, along with 3rd placed Andi Black from Northern Ireland.
Andi is a really dedicated competitor and gave it all she had. I was most impressed by her general “look” and the type of physique she presented. Her posing music and routine were outstanding as well. I think she can win this class in the near future and I will not be surprised if she does! Almost a little unlucky to be in 4th place was the equally impressive Cheryl Steele. Cheryl has placed well at the NABBA Universe, and such was the standard in this class at the Britain, she had to settle for 4th spot this time.
MISS TRAINED FIGURE CLASS 1
This was a tight class of 6 outstanding figure women with Becky Williamson taking first place by one point from Joanne Sperring. Both women were in superb shape and there was nothing between them, as the judges found during their difficult task to split them. Becky got the nod on the day with her excellent condition and entertaining posing making her a worthy winner. 3rd place went to Janey Brookes, and of special note, there were only a few points difference between the top 3, such was the closeness of this competition.
Along with all of the officials of NABBA UK, there are some people I specially want to thank. Jim and Val Charles for all their help on the day, Mike and Pat Vaughan, Steph Sinton, Eddie Ellwood, Bryan Robinson, Paul Jeffreys and of course my photographer friend and long time helper Alex McKenna of THE BEEF magazine. Alex has supplied me all the photos for the DVD covers and Photo Galleries. My personal thanks to the major sponsor of the show, and long time friend of GMV, Kerry Kayes of CNP Professional.
See you all at the Universe in just over 3 month’s time!
NB: The 3 separate DVDs have now been edited and were produced to our usual NABBA Universe formula of one complete Women’s DVD with all of the Prejudging and Show, plus 2 separate DVDs for the men. They are Men’s Prejudging and Men – The Show. For all the details see our NEW DVD RELEASES section.
For the complete BRITAIN RESULTS listing every single competitor, please click here.
For details on the 3 NABBA BRITAIN DVDs, please click here.