Close competition at the British Young Drivers’ National Championships
8 August 2019
by Wendy Nix - Kingswood Associates
Hosted by Midlands Carriagedriving, the British Young Drivers (BYD) provided close competition at their 2019 National Championships held at Onley Grounds Equestrian Centre, near Rugby in Warwickshire, on Saturday and Sunday, 3rd – 4th August.
The championships were split into age groups and by marathon distance to give five classes competed for by 16 competitors.
The most competitive was Class 5 (19-25 years, full marathon) where only 3.15 penalties separated first to third. Leading after dressage was Grace Smith on the best score of the championships, 41.8. In second was Amelia Waddicor (55.0) with Margaret Collins a whisker away in third (55.8).
Grace and Amelia held onto their places after the cones where Margaret dropped away and Jack Ralph rose to third.
Obstacle times were very close between Jack, who won the phase, and Amelia while Grace unfortunately lost valuable time in Obstacle 4 which dropped her to third overall.
Amelia won the class ahead of Jack by 1.43 penalties.
In Class 4 (14-18 years, full marathon), Megan Wheeldon led after dressage but only by 0.80 of a penalty from Harvey Clegram-Brown (46.8 and 47.6 respectively) but Megan increased her slender lead in cones, adding just three penalties to Harvey’s 11.41.
Megan sped round the obstacles to comfortably win the final phase and the class from Harvey who finished ahead of Amy Stone in third.
Siblings Amy and Phoebe Matthews were competing against each other in Class 1 (10-13 years, short marathon). Phoebe won the dressage phase on 54.6 with Elizabeth Collins splitting the sisters on 55.2 as Amy scored 59.4 for third place.
Cones saw the three finish in the same order. Phoebe put up some good obstacle times but unfortunately incurred 44 time penalties on the course while Elizabeth added 20 penalties to her score for a correction of course in Obstacle 2.
This left Amy in the lead with Phoebe second and Elizabeth third. Laura Priestley and Alysha Lane fought it out in Class 3 (19-25 years, short marathon) after Michael Hodgson sadly had to withdraw after his horsebox suffered mechanical failure on its way to the venue.
With just 1.4 penalties between them after dressage it was Laura who increased her lead with a better cones score. Both incurred time penalties out on the course and Laura had to put a groom down in Obstacle 2 but her faster times kept her in the lead with Alysha taking the runner-up slot.
In a class of his own, Harvey Clegram-Brown drove another of his horses to complete Class 2 (14-18 years, short marathon) as a finale to the BYD National Championships.
All photos by Wendy Nix/Kingswood Associates.
For more information on Midlands Carriagedriving, visit www.midlandscarriagedriving.co.uk