The best of the brickies

The best of the brickies

Finley Cannon attends Super Trowel 2024 to hear about the growing event, the participants, and the hopes for the future of the trade.

Bricklayers from across the UK have been competing against each other with the ambition to be named the UK’s fastest bricklayer, and be in with a chance of competing against the best in the USA in Las Vegas. In its second year, Super Trowel has seen 29 competitors come together across two heats. The events took place at Hertford Regional College in the south and Warrington and Vale Royal College in the north with the top 11 set to compete in a final held in August alongside last year’s winner.  


The brainchild of 29-year-old bricklayer Ashley Francis, Super Trowel began in 2023. Ashley thought up the idea after seeing a US competition for bricklayers. “I knew about the Spec Mix 500 event,” he recalls,and I wanted to do that here. In the first instance we needed a following and that’s why I started the Bricklayers Social Club (BSC).

The BSC is a community of bricklayers and stonemasons with more than 670 members and over 30,000 followers. The club offers the opportunity to connect with others in the industry, share knowledge and experiences, and gain access to exclusive events and resources. It showcases the industry and its skills to a wider audience through social media and aims to promote bricklaying.

LtoR: Ashley Francis, the founder of Super Trowel and his fellow organisers, Jack Dawson of Hertford Regional College, and Joe Short of Brick Jackets

After two years of growing the BSC, Ashley spoke with Hertford Regional College to arrange a venue and organised the first Super Towel in August 2023 with the help of Joe Short from Brick Jackets and Jack Dawson from the college. “It was such a success that we couldn’t not do it again. Now we’re into our second year with two regionals. The first year we struggled to get seven contestants, this year we had over 70 people apply, and we had to bring it down to 30 competitors.”

The competition

Over a 45-minute period, the contestants – assisted by one hod carrier eachhad to lay as many bricks as they can on a wall measuring 9metres long. After the 45 minutes, contestants had ten minutes for pointing up. Judges then count the total number of bricks laid and made deductions for any discrepancies. Failure to meet any or all height points within the tolerances laid out, for example, resulted in a 20-brick deduction to the final tally.

In return for their generosity in hosting the events, all of the brickssupplied by Wienerberger and mortar supplied by CPI Silo mortarcould be kept by the host colleges. With an increasingly ageing workforce, Ashley highlighted the importance of raising the status of the profession to get more young people involved and give back to the colleges: We’re using the competition to supply 17,000 bricks and 20 tonnes of mortar to the colleges and we want to expand. Next year, in exchange for using their venues, we hope to provide the colleges with even more tools and materials.”

Competitors ready

Among the competitors in Warrington were three generations of the Mahoney family. Father and son, Andy and Ashley Mahoney were competing against each other, with Andy’s youngest son Connor working as his labourer, while Ashley’s son was on filming duty.  

Ashley was inspired by his father to get into bricklaying. “This man here is on a pedestal, I wanted to be just like him, enthused the 2023 runner-up, who impressed with a particularly tall 440 brick wall at the heats and once again made the final. The Mahoney family pride themselves on their efficiency and Ashley first entered in 2023 to test himself against other bricklayers from across the country. Ashley continues: I’ve always known I’m quick, so I wanted to put myself up against others and see just how quick I really am.”

The southern heat, held at Hertford Regional College, saw 17 competitors battle it out for a place in the final. Among the entrants was young bricklayer Tom Humphrey. A fan of bricklaying YouTubers, he applied with the aim of finding out how quick he is and recruited a friend and former brickie to be his labourer. I follow all of the YouTube bricklayers; I’ve had a real passion for it since I started. The 23-year-old has been plying his trade for seven years and now works with natural stone as well as bricks. I came to last years and said if I get chance, I’ll be in it next year. I have no idea how quick I actually am, but I wanted to find out and here I am.” Tom added.

The final will see the contestants compete in front of more than 1,000 spectators and will be in with a chance of winning £15,000 in prize money and tools, as well as the opportunity to travel to Las Vegas to compete in Spec Mix 500 against the best the USA has to offer. The Super Trowel team will also be taking a young apprentice to the Nevada city to experience the largest event of its kind first hand.

The Super Trowel final is set for 8th August at the Marshall Arena Milton Keynes. To secure tickets for the event visit
For more on the Bricklayers Social Club visit

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