Thursday, 15 September 2011

And so it begins......

 The first day of competition at the FEI European Jumping Championships; the Table C speed competition.

Well not quite the first competition – we are in Spain (I guess you will have worked that out) and in Spain everything seems to happen a little later in the day; well everything that is, that involves the intake of sustenance. Long late lunches and siestas are all very well but are not easily accommodated into a busy competition schedule (there are other jumping classes here apart from the Championships). Our hotel does not have a restaurant (it has a small room service menu that you can order in the lobby....) and so it is necessary to “eat out” – the local restaurant is only 50m from the hotel and serves perfectly adequate Italian fayre (yes, I know we are Spain...but keep’ll get to the end soon). That is fine...except restaurants around here do not open until 2100 hours (9 p.m. in civilian speak) – the riders like to ride early before it gets hot and so at 2100 hrs last night the GER, NED and GBR teams were all lined up at the start for the Great Italian Food Race.....this poor restaurant was not expecting to be inundated by 50 hungry mouths from the Jumping fraternity.  Anyway...I love a little challenge and I am pleased to report that at the first marker (the Starters) GBR was well in the lead; NED rallied by missing out on the starters (cheeky) and GER seemed to have stalled at the start. Final result....GBR Gold, NED Silver, GER Bronze.

So back to the real competition. The speed competition is quite complex (ha ha – yes the fastest wins and faults are converted in to time but that is not the complex bit); so going forward the winner starts the next round on 0 faults and then the difference in time between the next riders and the winner is converted in to faults – I know it is complex but you can now become an armchair expert;

The scores obtained by each Athlete will be converted into points by multiplying the time of each Athlete by the coefficient 0.50; the score must be rounded up or down to the second decimal place. The second decimal place will be rounded up
from .005 and rounded down from .004.

The Athlete with the lowest number of points after this conversion will be given zero Penalties, the other Athletes being credited with the number of Penalties representing the difference in points between each of them and the leading Athlete.

If an Athlete is eliminated or does not complete his round for any reason, he will be awarded the same number of Penalties as that incurred by the Athlete who has been the most severely penalised, plus 20 Penalties. If the Athlete concerned has himself received the highest number of Penalties before being eliminated or retiring, 20 Penalties will be added to his score. Adding the 20 Penalties is done after the time difference has been converted into Penalties.

The three best scores from each team are added together to give a team score that is carried forward to the first round of the Nations Cup. the Meerkat would say.  So simple that as I write the Team scores are not yet out (1 ½ hours after the end of the Class).

Not a great draw for GBR being drawn second to go in the Teams but that did not put Nick Skelton off – a classic round from Nick and Carlo.

Guy Williams next; he was fast but lowered a couple of poles; the horse jumped very well and got better as the round progressed. 

Ben and the young Triple X..... just what the doctor (that would be Rob Hoekstra) ordered; a safe, clear but fast enough round.

And so many times have GBR depended on John Whitaker....the showjumping version of cool under fire. Pepermill, back to his best form... jumping brilliantly...3/4 of the way around the course... going quick...then “what the hell” – a red wall that I did not see cause any trouble all day... Pepermill went to pick up and then put down and stopped, crashing through the wall. John restarted and still finished with a very respectable score but why why why remains a mystery.

So it finished Nick 8th, Ben 21st, John 36th and Guy 41st - we think the Team is in 5th very much in touch with FRA / GER / NED / SWE who are ahead of us.

You will have guessed that Scott was not selected for the Team of 4 – a very difficult pill to swallow for a competitive, highly motivated and excellent team player. Scott has handled the disappointment with great maturity and I am certain we will see him back in the team in the future.

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