At 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon when the Gucci Grand Prix began there was not a seat to be had up in the Gucci Paris Masters grandstand, nor in the Masters Club, where Salvatore Sirigu, Charles Berling, Anthony Delon, Vincent Pérez and Karine Silla, Céline Sallette, Philippe Etchebest and Karine Ferri could be seen, as well as HRH the Princess Caroline of Monaco, Guillaume Canet, Marion Cotillard and Gad Elmaleh, who always enjoy coming to the Gucci Paris Masters. The aisles in the Prestige Village were teeming with people all hurrying towards the giant screen. With 350,000 euros to be divided up between the top places, this class has one of the highest winnings on the circuit.
It also was, according to Ludger Beerbaum, one of the hardest of the season. And this rider with the most amounts of titles in the world knows what he's talking about! The seventeen jumps which included one triple combination and one double came in quick succession and left no time for a breather: Kevin Staut's title from last year's 2013 edition was going to be hard to win.
There were 44 potential contenders, but the difficulties concocted up by the Belgian course builder Luc Musette would catch many a rider out. After the first round, there were only 12 left – the ideal number for a jump-off. Following the example of Jos Verlooy, the winner of the Longines Los Angeles Masters at the tender age of 18, came another skilful young man in Paris tonight: Martin Fuchs riding the aptly-named PSG Future. He beat the highly experienced Ludger Beerbaum and the 20-year old Belgium Constant van Paesshen.
The City of Lights is obviously good for the Swiss rider, since he'd already been placed twice during the weekend and had also won the Prix du Salon du Cheval CENECA. As Jean-Luc Poulain, the President of Salon du Cheval pointed out, "the two events work so well together that one plus one equals three". Martin Fuchs would certainly not refute this. He warmly thanked the spectators who had supported him, but also Christophe Ameeuw, the founder and organiser of the Masters Grand Slam Indoor, which opens its doors to young riders, who are rarely invited to such prestigious competitions.
Robert Triefus, International Marketing Director for Gucci, partner of the Gucci Paris Masters since its creation in 2009, congratulated Christophe Ameeuw for the quality of the event and very high standards in level of the sport, the execution and the incredible atmosphere.. The latter pointed out that “we can always improve, innovate and create new concepts, but one thing we can’t make ourselves, is the atmosphere. The atmosphere is down to the spectators who were fantastic right from the first day.”
Today the magical décor is taken down and the Masters Grand Slam Indoor begins its journey across continents starting with Asia. The party is over, but not for long: from the 13th to the 15th February 2015, the best riders in the world will be meeting up on the other side of the globe, for the third edition of the Longines Hong Kong Masters.