Boyd Exell came and conquered
For the first edition of its driving World Cup stage, Lyon had gathered a magnificent and vibrant line-up with victory going to Jérôme Voutaz of Switzerland. But they missed the presence of the Australian driver Boyd Exell. This year, however, the Australian was in town for the start of the indoor driving season. The Australian legend was facing the young Dutch prodigy Bram Chardon, himself the son of the legendary driver Isjband Chardon, who was on hand to help his son. The duel was mediated by the Hungarian József Dobrovitz, who was the third man to qualify for the second round, but was not able to compete against the two stars in the discipline, with too many mistakes.
The Frenchman Benjamin Aillaud was also there, but unfortunately he couldn't compete against the best. He was not discouraged, however: "Last year, with my sponsor, we decided to try to do the indoor season with the same horses as outdoor but our Arab-Friesians proved, as we had thought, too slow. So we decided to focus with them only on the outdoor season and I came back to my first love for indoor with the creation of a brand new team of Lipizzans. I had already taken second place in the World Cup final with a team of Lipizzans, so the objective will be to regain the same level of competitiveness with them. This year, we will give the horses experience and increase their power. Our objective is to be competitive again next year," he explained.
In front, the fight for victory was therefore between two men. Boyd Exell got beaten to the punch in the initial round, and he knew he had to react. He attacked very hard and succeeded in a magnificent lap penalized only by one fault and therefore by 4 seconds of penalty: 142''70 was a little slower than the Dutch driver’s first lap, but it put enormous pressure on the shoulders of the defending World Cup title holder,, whose title was now under threat.
Bram Chardon attacked very hard but made a big mistake right away before he even reached the first obstacle. The two men were therefore immediately equal on penalty seconds. The Dutchman pressed on and went very fast, but at the second obstacle he added a second fault. Victory was slipping away: he was a little slower, and with the eight-seconds penalty his time was 148''99. Both men were well ahead of the competition this weekend, but it was the Australian who was able to add Equita Lyon to his very long list of achievements.
"I'm glad I came here. Last year, I watched TV and saw some beautiful shows. So I came this year. I am very happy with this victory. I think today we have seen very great sport. I was a little disappointed yesterday because at 8:30 AM, there were not many people in the stands and it's a shame for our sport. I would prefer to perform in the evening, even late, because we have a spectacular sport that needs to develop.
"I competed for a long time against Ijsbrand Chardon. Today, it is his son Bram who has taken over. I saw him grow up and evolve… and he’s improving every year. He is a great competitor. It’s great for our discipline: it takes elite driving to a new level. For the indoor season, I have a seven-horse string that I will be using in turn during these World Cup stages."
"Unfortunately, it wasn’t for me this time, but I intend to take my revenge soon. Maybe not next week in Maastricht because, as I received a wild-card, I will go there with less experienced young horses, whereas I came here with my most experienced ones." said the young Dutch driver.