An Australian bid to break a 13-year-old shearing record has been undone by sticky bellied sheep in "frighteningly hot" woolshed conditions.
Gisborne-based Australian Beau Guelfi yesterday tried to break a world merino shearing record set by Australian-based New Zealand shearer Cartwright Terry in 2003.
The 36-year-old needed to get through more than 58 sheep an hour at Yathroo, about 160km north of Perth, to beat the eight-hour solo record of 466.
However, after averaging just 54.5 an hour after the first four hours, Guelfi, his team and World Sheep Shearing Records Society judges agreed the record was out of reach.
He knew within the first half hour the record wasn't on.
"The bellies were just so unbelievably sticky."
"We knew it was an uphill battle from the start with the sheep. But when you commit you just have to go ahead so we just had a crack anyway.
"It was hot... We had to keep them all in the shed for the weekend beforehand, due to rain. It had been a poor season for feed due to a dry spring, and the merinos are so susceptible to conditions."
There were predictions Guelfi would be battling 40degC heat and organisers described the woolshed as frighteningly hot.
Guelfi hasn't ruled out having another go at the record if the conditions and sheep are right.
Originally from Kukerin, south-east of Perth, he settled in Gisborne 15 years ago, at the end of a world shearing trek which also included setting the record for merino lamb shearing at the time.
"I loved it there, for the surfing and the shearing," he said of New Zealand.