At some events, speed classes take a back seat, with the Grand Prix stealing the limelight, yet spectators love against-the-clock events. It is always gripping to watch brave, talented riders and horses scrape off precious seconds with quick turns and angled jumps. At the Masters Grand Slam Indoor, the Longines Speed Challenge against the clock event receives the prestigious acclaim it deserves.
Founded in 2010 by EEM World, this competition requires excellent technique and absolute precision, two qualities that the Swiss watchmaker Longines holds dear. The Longines Speed Challenge is slightly different to other speed events in that a rail down only incurs a two-second penalty instead of the usual four. So even with a jumping fault riders can always make up two seconds with a burst of acceleration. And speed, of course, is the key to success in this spectacular competition.
Prize money is 100,000 Euros and fence height is 1.45m for the Longines Speed Challenge. The event is one of the highlights of the masters and has spectators in a frenzy. Riders are boosted by the crowd’s enthusiasm and their motivation is the second key to the event’s success.
Of course, the horses are the final key to the success in this magnificent display of talent. The world’s top riders come to the Gucci Paris Masters and enter their best horses for the Longines Speed Challenge: speed specialists and sometimes even Grand Prix horses. The latter are used to performing against the clock as major championships open with a speed class such as the World Cup Final and World Equestrian Games.
The event is a real show and very entertaining, with three oversized armchairs at the side of the ring, where the three leaders sit and deliver live commentary, unless of course they have to give up their seat to a faster rider.
The riders and horses provide the excitement, the crowd creates the atmosphere and Longines makes sure everything goes like clockwork.
Friday at 10 pm live on Eurosport!!
Winners of the Longines Speed Challenge
2010 – Paris – Roger-Yves Bost (FRA)
2011 – Paris – Philippe Rozier (FRA)
2012 – Paris – Roger-Yves Bost (FRA)
2013 – Hong-Kong – Katharina Offel (UKR)
2013 – Paris – Scott Brash (GBR)
2014 – Hong-Kong – Kevin Staut (FRA)
2014 – Los Angeles – Jane Richard (SUI)