|For the third consecutive year, the junior championships were held at Escrick Park with great success under their new title of the BHDTA Young Drivers Championships. |
Competitors from the ages of 10-21 competed in different age groups and making up Teams from England, Scotland and Ireland. There was a very high standard of driving produced from all the drivers and a closely fought battle finished with England just clinching the victory by a mere 1.29 penalty points.
To give junior drivers the feel of an International Event, a new element was introduced to the competition. The morning of the dressage, drivers were required to attend a trot-up so judges could inspect their horses. All competitors turned out to an extremely high standard and the judges were suitably impressed.
Each team had a trainer present. These were: Brenda Hobbs (Scotland), Barry Capstick (Ireland) and Karen Basset (England) were on hand over the weekend giving advice and last minute pointers.
The dressage was tightly contested, with Mark Bell achieving the best score of the day on 42.33 penalties, closely followed by his sister Katie Bell on 44.67. The Irish demonstrated their excellence at cones with the only three double clears of the day from Grace Hurrell, Paudie O?Sullivan and Martin Spillane.
This year?s course was a replica of the National Championships at Windsor, which provided a challenge for all the drivers. After torrential rain Saturday night, the marathon was a muddy affair but luck was with the competitors as the rain held off until the last driver had completed the course. Both the individual and team placings were very tight, so there was all to play for on the marathon. Chris Ainscough was the winner of best marathon for the second year running with a score of 42.06 penalties.
All competitors completed the marathon safely, much to the relief of all officials. The obstacles were superbly designed and very original, thanks to the dedicated ground crew. The whole event would not have run without the continuing sponsorship of Baileys Horse Feeds and the BHDTA Supporters Group.
We would like to thank the Northeast Driving Club for their hosting of the event, Baileys Horsefeeds for their prizes, Amanda Saville for her organisation and all those who helped to make the event possible. We look forward to all nations returning next year to battle it out for the titles!
Frank Campbell, Rosanna Walters-Symons