2 December 2023

Bram Chardon off to a good start in Stockholm

Bram Chardon has never competed in the World Cup competetion in Stockholm before, but the result in the warm-up round could not have been better. In the drive-off he defeated Boyd Exell and Michael Brauchle in Johan Jacobs' technical course.

The Friends arena was decorated in a Christmas atmosphere and everything you can think of was included in the course. As usual, there were 2 technical marathon obstacles. Furthermore, a speed box, set up in a corner of the arena and a bridge in the middle. The cone gates were cunningly placed, such as gate 2, which had to be taken at a fairly right angle from the short side, next to the speed box. And some gates were close to the wall along the stands.

Not easy

Mareike Harm was the first to drive a flawless course and ultimately finished fourth. Glenn Geerts had bad luck when he couldn’t get a good line from the speed box to the bridge. His team turned, bypassing another gate and losing many precious seconds. The Belgian finished 5th, ahead of Fredric Persson who drove with a wildcard for his home crowd.

Bram Chardon chose slightly different lines in obstacle 5 than his predecessors and drove fast and flawlessly. Boyd Exell was also fast, but a steering error in obstacle 9 where he stood still for a moment cost him time and a ball. Further down the course there was even another ball, but the world champion was so fast that he still qualified for the drive-off. In the same obstacle 9, Michael Brauchle also incurred 4 penalty seconds, but nevertheless he managed to get into the drive off with ease.

Michael Brauchle
Photo: Karolina Swärdh

Fast and controlled

In the drive-off, the F gate was eliminated in both marathon obstacles. It doesn’t happen often, but Boyd had to start first. Once again, things did not go well for the Australian. The line at the exit of obstacle 9 was different because the last gate had been removed. His horses pulled in the wrong direction for a moment, causing him to drive an extra loop to the speed box. Yet he remained clear in 132.05. Michael Brauchle immediately had a ball fall on the first gate and then incurred 20 penalty seconds in the first marathon obstacle. The rhythm was completely gone and with a final result of 179.91 he came in third. Everything went right for Bram Chardon. He drove controlled and fast. He cut back a bit to gate 13 because he dared to drive through obstacle 5 and finished just under a second faster than Boyd.

Video analysis

The winner is bursting with self-confidence. “After Maastricht I had a lot of confidence in my team and today the horses performed very well again. I was able to keep control in the first round and then I felt the pressure from Boyd. I think the three of us put together a nice drive-off here. It’s great how we keep pushing each other to push our limits and of course I want to win tomorrow.” How is he going to do that? “I always consciously start my course a little slower. You also see that in the interim periods. Of course I can drive faster, but then you also have less control and therefore more likely to make a mistake. So I’m going to analyze today’s videos and see where I lose some and where I gain some. And based on that I make a plan for tomorrow.” The World Cup points will be distributed on Saturday. The competition can be followed live via FEI YouTube and starts at 6:40 PM.

Click here for the results

Click here for the photo album

Click here for the photos of the training, course walk and horse inspection

Photo: Joost Rouwhorst

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