Friday, Apr. 19, 2024

Chardon Scores Double Dutch Win At Aachen


Yjsbrand Chardon came to the Aachen CAIO with a definite goal—to win his 10th title there. And he did just that on July 1-8 in Aachen, Germany.
   
“I am very happy to have reached this goal,” said Chardon, top Dutch driver and three-time World Champion in four-in-hand driving.
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Yjsbrand Chardon came to the Aachen CAIO with a definite goal—to win his 10th title there. And he did just that on July 1-8 in Aachen, Germany.
   
“I am very happy to have reached this goal,” said Chardon, top Dutch driver and three-time World Champion in four-in-hand driving.

“It has been a very nice show with a nice marathon course—difficult but honest. With the big crowd of spectators it was fun to drive. And, it has been a very tense competition,” he added.

Christoph Sandmann of Germany held the lead after the marathon, and Chardon had to come from behind in the final phase.

“I was not very fast in the obstacle driving, and I took my time at the last to stay clear. Sandmann had really bad luck and had a fault at obstacle 3,” said Chardon.

Sandmann took one more ball down and incurred a short delay, because a wheeler knocked the leg of a front horse, who was lame for a few steps after that incident. The penalties dropped Sandmann from first to sixth place.

For the first time the CAIO marathon took place on the grounds of the Soers. For last year’s World Equestrian Games, a new course was built, together with the cross-country course for the eventing. Since there had been no entry fee for the spectators on the former course in the Aachen forest, organizers continued this tradition and will do so in the future, according to the president of the organizing committee, Klaus Pavel. While the spectators for the cross-country on Saturday morning had to pay, in the afternoon the entry was free for the marathon.

Chardon agreed with the organizers’ decision to use the course from last year. “I have always favored a move from the Aachen forest to the Soers. It is a dream to drive here in front of 30,000 spectators. The course in the Aachen forest was a very special one, but it did not offer the same conditions for all drivers,” he said. “After the first 10 to 15 drivers the conditions became much more difficult. Today we have seen super sport with the same condition for all drivers. But, the new course is also positive for the spectators, because they can see more obstacles.”

Asked if he would miss retired German driver Michael Freund as a competitor, Chardon had a smart answer: “Michael Freund [which means friend in German] is a friend. A really good driver, but I guess the German team misses him more than I do.”

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Certainly true, as the German team finished fourth of the six teams. The Netherlands took the team win, ahead of Hungary and Switzerland. Germany, still in runner-up position after the marathon, added 21.07 points in the obstacle driving, dropping down to fourth.

Hard Fought
Chardon, the 2006 WEG silver medalist, won the dressage (49.92) ahead of Sandmann (50.05) and Switzerland’s 1998 World Champion Werner Ulrich (51.20).

But Dutch team member Koos de Ronde won the marathon with 100.12 penalty points ahead of Sandmann (100.52), while Chardon finished the second leg in fifth place (101.72). This allowed Sandmann to take over the lead (150.57) in the intermediate standings ahead of Chardon (151.64) and Werner (156.38), who had finished seventh (105.18) in the marathon. The top five drivers finished the marathon within 1.5 penalty points.

It had looked as if Sandmann would have quite a comfortable margin going into the final phase, with only Chardon close on his heels, but things didn’t happen as expected.

Five drivers completed the cones course without penalties, but Zoltan Lazar of Hun-gary was the only one in the top five after dressage and marathon to be in the drive-off. Australia’s Boyd Exell won the drive-off ahead of Switzerland’s Daniel Wurgler. With his clear round, the Australian improved from sixth to fifth place (160.82), and the Swiss driver advanced by one rank from 12th to 11th (178.93).

With 1.35 time penalties Sweden’s two-time individual World Champion Tomas Eriksson kept his fourth place (160.80), just .02 points ahead of Exell. With his clear round. 2004 World Champion Lazar moved up from fourth to third place (160.49).

Werner, entering the ring in third place, had one ball down, which cost him 3 penalty points, but no time faults. His final standings of 159.38 gave him the runner-up position. Chardon tried to minimize his risk, finishing with 5.27 time penalties. So his final result added up to 156.91, a seemingly comfortable margin for Sandmann.

But the German driver showed his nerves, leaving the obstacle driving with 10.47 penalties and dropping down from the lead to sixth place (161.04), one place ahead of marathon winner Koos de Ronde (171.15). A difference of just 4.1 points separated the winner and sixth place.

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German Disappointment
Among the 23 starters, who all finished the marathon except for Germany’s Max Dangel, who was eliminated for taking the wrong way in one obstacle, there were no U.S. participants. The 2006 World Champion Felix Brasseur did not compete at Aachen, since he had to give the Lusitano team back to its owner and is building up a new team of Spanish horses.

Besides Chardon and de Ronde, the winning Dutch team included Theo Timmermann, and they took victory in the Nations Cup with 328.06 points, ahead of Hungary (336.81) and Switzerland (338.81). With a score of 356.29, the Germans finished fourth, well out of third place.

Sandmann and Rainer Duen (individually 17th) had both competed on the gold-medal team in 2006, but Duen had to use a reserve horse since one of his horses was lame at the vet inspection. The third driver for Germany was Ludwig Weinmayr, who finished 19th individually.

The German individual drivers fared better. The 25-year-old Christian Plucker, a student of Freund, finished his Aachen debut in eighth place (174.80), and Josef Zeitler finished ninth (176.18). With those two drivers on the team, the German result would have looked better.

Meier was not satisfied with the results of his team drivers in the obstacle driving, in which Duen and Sandmann both scored 10.47 penalties, and Weinmeyer was even worse, with 29.45 points.

“I am really disappointed,” Meier said. “Christoph could have had two balls down and still have won, but with 4.64 time penalties he drove much too slowly. The other team drivers also did not do well enough. I had expected a clear round from them.”

He was more pleased with Plucker’s results. “In his first Aachen he has shown a super performance. Unfortunately, I had not been allowed to change the team and to nominate Zeitler after it had been clear
that Duen would have to take his reserve horse. I thought we would be on equal level with the Dutch team. That it went like that is a real disappointment for me,” said Meier.

Birgit Popp

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