Aachen (GER), 17 July 2011 - Top driver Boyd Exell (AUS) has continued his amazing success story in Aachen. Crowned World Champion at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky last year, and winner of the FEI World Cup™ Driving Final for the third consecutive time in Leipzig in April this year, the Australian has won this year’s prestigious CAIO Aachen for the fourth time in his career. Boyd first won Aachen in 2003 and was unbeatable in 2009, 2010 and now in 2011.
The CAIO in Aachen consisted of five competitions for all drivers this year; the first dressage test (FEI Test 8a) counted for the individual classification, the second dressage test (FEI test 6a) counted for the team classification and was also compulsory for individual drivers like Boyd Exell and Chester Weber (USA). The first cones competition counted for the individual classification, the marathon counted for both the individual and the teams and today’s final cones competition counted for the teams and was again compulsory for the individuals.
Boyd Exell had a head start in the first dressage test, which was driven in the pouring rain in the Aachen driving stadium on Wednesday. Boyd drove his team of black geldings owned by Támas Vincze from Hungary to a winning score of 35.97 penalty points. After a great start, Exell’s left wheeler horse became very excited during the latter part of the test, but this did not prevent Exell from getting the best score of the day. First into the arena, Chester Weber the USA put down a very solid test with his two new leader horses Splash and Uniek.
As some of his best horses were not fit, IJsbrand Chardon travelled to Aachen with three relatively new horses, one of which was borrowed from ALRV Vice President Baron Wolf von Buchholtz, himself an active four-in-hand driver. Chardon came close to Weber’s score with an equally nice test, using the borrowed Tryon in the lead next to his new trump Darco.
Individual driver Chester Weber deservedly won the second dressage test after a very nice test in which his horses gelled together: “It was a pity that I had two canter mistakes”, said Weber. “I have driven what I could. When I made the mistakes I thought to myself ‘bring them back and just go again’ and it went well. I am very pleased with my horses”, commented the 2008 World Championship silver medallist after scoring 34.69 penalty points.
Despite a few minor errors, Boyd Exell left the arena with a score of 37.12 for second place. Chardon’s team went even better than the day before and his test was rewarded with a mark of 38.91, which put him in third. Thanks to the strong performances of Chardon and Timmerman, the Dutch team took the lead in the nations competition, ahead of Germany and Switzerland.
Theo Timmerman won the individual cones competition on Friday, securing him overall fifth place in the individual standings. Exell and Weber both drove double clear rounds to hold onto the top two slots. German course designer Dr Wolfgang Asendorf had designed a fairly easy course, which resulted in an unusual 10 double clears.
Theo Timmerman drove his team of Holstein and Hanoverian geldings fast and faultless through the course: “The horses went very well. I am not going to drive like crazy in the drive-off otherwise it will affect me when I have to do the cones on Sunday for the nations competition,” says Timmerman. The 2010 team goldmedallist did not go crazy in the drive-off, but went fast enough to beat the target set by 19-year-old József Dobrovitz junior.
Germany’s Dr Wolfgang Asendorf was responsible for the marathon course in Aachen for the 11th time. The O-course designer had created a completely new challenge for the 25 drivers, altering the route in the E-section, making changes to the existing obstacles and building some new ones. All obstacles were mobile and the order of the marathon obstacles was also changed, allowing the spectators to see the competitors through several obstacles from one point.
Second Marathon Win
The marathon was the last competition for the individual standings and the drivers started in reverse order of the standings after dressage and cones, so the top drivers started last to keep the excitement simmering.
Germany’s 21-year-old Michael Brauchle, who won the marathon on the Soers showground in 2008, once again claimed victory in the marathon. Brauchle was the eighth to go and flew through the obstacles, setting very fast times which his fellow competitors, including reigning World Champion Boyd Exell, were unable to beat. Exell finished seond in the marathon and that was enough to secure his fourth individual title in Aachen. IJsbrand Chardon came third and moved up to the second place in the final individual standings. USA’s Chester Weber finished seventh in the marathon to claim third place in the overall standings.
Five Times Gold
The Dutch team gave away their advantage to the home side after the marathon, but the host nation was ahead by only 1.02 penalty points so today’s final obstacle driving competition was always going to be very exciting. After Dutch team members Koos de Ronde and Theo Timmerman knocked a ball apiece and German team members Michael Brauchle and Georg von Stein also knotched up penalty points, the result of the team competition was in the hands of the two last starters, four times World Champion Ijsbrand Chardon and 2006 bronze medallist Christoph Sandmann.
Chardon proved his skill once again, driving a double clear round with his newly composed team to secure the fifth consecutive team gold medal for The Netherlands in Aachen. Last man in, Christoph Sandmann, crossed the finish line a split second too late, the gold was gone to Holland and the German team had to be content with silver. The Swiss drivers overtook the Hungarian team in the final nations ranking thanks to double clears from Werner Ulrich and Daniel Würgler.
The British team of Robert Wilkinson, Georgina Hunt and Daniel Naprous made their debut at Aachen, as well as Piotr Mazurek from Poland and the youngest competitor, 19-year-old József Dobrovitz junior, son of the successful Hungarian international four-in-hand driver József Dobrovitz. Father and son made up the Hungarian team with pair and four-in-hand World Champion Zoltan Lázár.
Boyd Exell (AUS): “My dressage was good, but could have been better. Just one day of preparation was not enough for me. I was happy that I was able to increase the gap after dressage and cones and that I have been able to equal the performance of IJsbrand Chardon, who also won Aachen three times consecutively.”
IJsbrand Chardon (NED): “I am extremely pleased with my horses. They did very well in all competitions and were well received by the judges. This team certainly offers opportunities for next year’s World Championship in Riesenbeck, Germany.”
Chester Weber (USA): “It is the first time I scored under 40 penalty points with my two new leader horses and I am very pleased with that. The marathon went well for me, I am happy with my third position.”
Individual results CAIO Aachen (GER):
1. Boyd Exell (AUS) 126.73
2. IJsbrand Chardon (NED) 133.73
3. Chester Weber (USA) 137.76
4. Georg von Stein (GER) 150.31
5. Zoltan Lázár (HUN) 150.76
Team results CAIO Aachen (GER):
1. The Netherlands 284.65
2. Germany 287.12
3. Switzerland 298.97
Standings FEI World Cup qualification after 9 of 14 competitions:
1 Boyd Exell AUS 60
1 Chester Weber USA 60
3 IJsbrand Chardon NED 51
3 Koos de Ronde NED 51
5 Zoltan Lázár HUN 50
6 József Dobrovitz HUN 44
7 Werner Ulrich SUI 41
8 Tomas Eriksson SWE 38
9 Theo Timmerman NED 31
10 Ludwig Weinmayr GER 30
Photo caption: Four times Aachen winner Boyd Exell continued his success story at Aachen © FEI/Rinaldo de Craen.