IT WAS a case of ‘close, but no cigar’ for Australia’s strongest man yesterday.

After much panting, sweating and muscle flexing, Derek Boyer, of the Gold Coast, failed to set a world record for lifting the heaviest rock.

The former Gladiators TV show star tried twice to lift the 760kg rock in Lismore before conceding there was more work to be done.

Exhausted and disappointed, Mr Boyer said the straps around the rock, which were hooked to the harness he was wearing, were unbalanced.

“I will have to come back because it will be done. It’s just a matter of when,” he said.

“I am going to come back one day every month to give it a go. I will not sleep until it is done.

“I am going back to the drawing board and I need some more strength.”

Mr Boyer, who has been working towards this feat of strength all his life, spent yesterday morning at the gym lifting 610kg worth of weights in preparation for the attempt.

The first attempt the strong man made resulted in only the back end of the rock being lifted off the ground, proving the straps were off balance.

After some readjustments, Mr Boyer guzzled two cans of Coke and made a few animal-like growls to work himself up before he strapped himself to the rock again, declaring it was ‘now or never’.

“I spent all day yesterday going through the Lismore quarry looking for the right rock,” he said.

“I had it certifiably weighed before this. All I have to do is lift the rock and see daylight underneath.

“This is going to take everything I have. World records don’t happen every day of the week.

“This will be news all around the world.”

Mr Boyer was recently crowned Australia’s Strongest Man in Lismore for the 13th time, and has been a finalist and competitor in the World’s Strongest Man Competition seven times.

The Fijian-born Australian has vowed to leave the rock in its place at Oakes Oval until he returns to ‘show the people of Lismore’ he can do it.

“My time will come and go, but this rock will stay here for ever,” Mr Boyer said.

“Little kids will walk past and they will know the strongest man in the country was here and he walked this earth in Lismore.”

Mr Boyer also works as a life coach, an actor and had a stint as security guard to American pop star Pink.

The stubborn rock will remain in Lismore for the time being, so locals who think they are up to the challenge can register to attempt to lift it.

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