No less than eight pre-qualifiers around the UK, two more than last year, led up to the Cigar Smoking World Championship national qualification round in London in the beginning of July. All winners were invited to Rudd’s Bar, a traditional pub in the heart of capital, alongside a wild card for “Honourable competitor”.
Unfortunately all winners weren’t able to make it, but those who did fought well and in the end the title went to last year’s second runner-up, Ali Enes Tasbent.
“Ali’s fought for some years to win this competition,” organizer Sarah Saunders says. “He called time at 1 hour 27 minutes and 6 seconds as his cigar burned close to the band.”
Mere seconds after his long time rival and last year’s runner-up Julius Honsch was out.
Third place went to aforementioned wild card and pub owner, Philip Rudd, after ten years without a place on the podium. He came in at 1 hour 8 minutes and 4 seconds.
The biggest surprise of the evening was the early exit of the 2021 and 2022 champion, Etan Patel. After a great, but maybe too cautious, start his cigar went out just before the one-hour mark.
Parallel to the main race the UK organization held an open competition for the first time.
“It was especially exciting that everyone in the top three were newcomers,” Saunders says.
First place went to Richard McNutt at 1 hour 23 minutes and 58 seconds, 30 seconds ahead of Antonio Gusmano, three minutes ahead of Oliver Sanna, and only about three minutes worse than the official champion.
- Ali Enes Tasbent 1:27:06
- Julius Honsch 1:26:36
- Philip Rudd 1:08:04