by John Plummer
Photography by Christopher Bailey
You can order all your stage shots from this event as a package here http://www.christopherbailey.co.uk/product-category/ukbff-stage-photos/ Or you can buy individual images here https://www.ukbffphotos.com/2018/NORTH-EAST-CHAMPIONSHIPS
The last chance to win an invite for next month's Arnold Classic Europe was the main carrot awaiting more than 100 competitors at the UKBFF North-East Championships.
The event in Pudsey was the start of what is set to be a busy seven days, with 120 athletes already registered for Sunday's Kent Classic.
As usual, competitors battled for places at the British Championships in October but the most outstanding competitors were also given invites to the big show run by Arnold Schwarzenegger and the IFBB in Barcelona.
There was no shortage of top talent jousting for the privelege, and special mention must be made of Yvette Arthur, who won masters bodyfitness at the age of 58 and looked incredible.
Rasto Valent, who will be competing in the men's physique pro show at the Arnold, did a guest spot at the show, which was promoted by Karl and Lisa Tierney.
Under 90 kg winner Reza Hagipour was the day's outstanding bodybuilder. His physique had a lovely flow of quality muscle. His legs were particularly good.
Nick Bond, the over 90 kg winner, has potential: for a tall man he has a pleasing shape, which he will need to fill out as he progresses but the base is there. Adam Amini, who won the under 80 kgs, had an aesthetic physique that his front lat spread displayed well.
Luke Hands gave a brilliant example of the new classic physique class, displaying a healthy and aesthetic look with plenty of muscle but nothing too extreme. He made a good fist of the vacuum pose, too.
Luke Whaler was the pick of two impressive juniors. His big quads and muscle-packed physique earned him an Arnold invite. Runner-up William Hinton is doing a fine job of filling out his tall frame.
The dilemma of judging was illustrated in the over-50s, which saw the insanely conditioned Terry Weiss miss out to the less lean but bigger and better balanced Silvio Martinez.
A tearful, well conditioned Richard Allsop took the over-40s. It clearly meant a lot to him.
Shaun Hove was the standout intermediate, impressing with his quality, round muscles.
Classic bodybuilding king Ali Reza Lak had the best combination of muscle, shape and conditioning.
David Langsdale had the distinction of winning the biggest class of the day, with a really clean and balanced physique that showed what men's physique is all about. There was a special presentation for John Man, who didn't place in the top three but lost 30 kg in seven months to get to the stage, making him a real winner. “I've completely transformed my life, mentally and physically,” John told the crowd.
The incredible Francisco Rocha recorded another superb win in the medium height class. Francisco is over 40 but makes a habit if beating younger men.
Michal Kontra, a mini version of his coach Rasto Valent, killed it in the tall class. Well groomed and with a healthy and symmetrical look, he was the clear winner.
Junior champion Jake Berney had an incredible amount of detail throughout his midsection, from all angles, and scored highly on aesthetics too.
Rookie number one Chris Vivian had a good taper, well developed shoulders and overall aesthetics.
Kristion Byrne's tapered upper body and tight waist prevailed in muscular men's physique.
Spanish-born Bea Mitchell was the ace in the pack of the always-competitive short bikini fitness class. Bea has outstanding proportions as well as excellent glutes – a real threat to anyone domestically.
Student Nichola Davis did her homework in the gym to overcome Lysha Kensett in the medium height class. Both women were excellent but Nichola's package was slightly more polished and balanced.
In the tall class, the attractive and athletic Stacey Badger came alive the longer the class went on and eventually got the better of Deimante Anuzyte, who has a superb package but needs to be careful not to overdo the muscularity for bikini fitness, especially in her legs.
Outstanding junior winner Imogen Brown was tall, balanced and lean – she has all the tools to do well and will be dangerous. Runner-up Morgan Bruce's lack of tan didn't hide her well proportioned, tight shape. Well-toned Teagan Adams was third.
Constance Booth was the pick of one of the best rookie bikini fitness top 3s seen at a qualifier. Constance had balance and shape and just the right amount of muscle and conditioning – very impressive. Emma Hunt, who had a more muscular upper body, overcame Emma Hindle for second place.
Masters bikini fitness winner Hajnalka Lipcsei really nailed her conditioning – her tight hamstrings caught the eye in the rear shots. Stefanie Blackburn, in second, had an impressive back and Hayley Fenning – the woman with the never ending legs – claimed another well deserved top three finish.
Alaura Galaru is emerging as a major force in wellness. This was her second victory of the year and although she wasn't as lean as she was at her previous one her quality was still evident, especially in those all-important rear poses where her incredible glutes stood out, in more ways than one. An Arnold invite was her reward.
Bodyfitness winner Charley Wright's tan was a little off but her physique most definitely wasn't. She presented her lovely shape and conditioning well.
Masters bodyfitness winner Yvette Arthur was arguably the day's standout athlete, partly for the quality of her physique and also because she is 58 years old. Yvette's legs and glutes would put virtually any teen's to shame.
A fortnight after winning her debut show, the Ultimate Beginners, women's physique competitor Tanya Nelson earned another trophy. Tanya isn't the biggest beast in the jungle but she has shape and stage presence.
1 Luke Whaler
2 William Hinton
Junior Bikini Fitness
1 Imogen Brown
2 Morgan Bruce
3 Teagan Adams
also competed: Megan Burcham and Tyler Bell
Junior Men's Physique
1 Jake Berney
2 Davain Graham
3 Tony Rowe
also competed: David Baah, Joe Jessop, Lewis Widgery and Matthew Kebble
Rookie Bikini Fitness
1 Constance Booth
2 Emma Hunt
3 Emma Hindle
also competed: Joanna Barnett, Bethanie Cockburn and Paige Summerill
1 Alaura Galaru
2 Nadine Blackett
3 Paige Garner
also competed: Alexander Walker and Megan Birkett
Rookie Men's Physique
1 Chris Vivian
2 Jake Roper
3 Aaron McCarthy
Masters Bodybuilding over 40
1 Richard Allsop
2 Craig Topley
3 Martin Herz
Masters Bodybuilding over 50
1 Silvio Martinez
2 Terry Weiss
3 Ian Tunnacliffe
Masters Men's Physique
1 Mohammad Reza Baba Ali
2 Neil Cornwall
3 Darren Gelder
Intermediate Bodybuilding up to 85 kg
1 Shaun Hove
2 Gary Burke
Intermediate Bodybuilding over 85 kg
1 Jake Leatham
Masters Bikini Fitness
1 Hajnalka Lipcsei
2 Stefanie Blackburn
3 Hayley Fenning
also competed: Natalie Lawrence and Sarah Burgess
1 Yvette Arthur
1 Ali Reza Lak
2 Ieuan Davies
3 Carl Reedham
also competed: Joseph Peers and Harry Margett
1 Charley Wright
2 Nicola Wilson
Bodybuilding up to 80 kg
1 Adam Amini
2 Dara Singh
3 James Gray
Bodybuilding up to 90 kg
1 Reza Hagipour
2 Martin Vyparina
3 Wadulla Al-Juboori
Bodybuilding over 90 kg
1 Nick Bond
2 Kyle Braid
1 Tanya Nelson
1 Luke Hands
Bikini Fitness up to 164 cm
1 Bea Mitchell
2 Elizabeth Finley
3 Sarah Knott
also competed: Kirsty Dove, Louise Adams and Lisa Buntin
Bikini Fitness up to 169 cm
1 Nichola Davis
2 Lysha Kensett
Bikini Fitness over 169 cm
1 Stacey Badger
2 Deimante Anuzyte
3 Francine Cram
also competed: Alison Werrell, Emily Coates and Chelsea Ridge
Muscular Men's Physique
1 Kristion Byrne
2 Daniel Brown
3 Shalomi Douglas
also competed: Jonathan Jorolov
Men's Physique up to 173 cm
1 David Langsdale
2 Tom Byrne
3 Jose Nunes
also competed: Chris Peden, Chao Wen, Istuan Osaki, John Man and Stephen Hardy
Men's Physique up to 179 cm
1 Francisco Rocha
2 Jake Butterfield
3 Mohamunad Zadeh
also competed: Sam Taylor and Thomas Bobb
Men's Physique over 179 cm
1 Michal Kontra
2 Andrew Jackson
3 Lewis Hutcheson
also competed: Jacques Meredith-Smythe, Jamie Thompson, Zakarya Mohammed and Ash Tapp