ŠAMORÍN, SLOVAKIA – Dominique Hendrickx of Belgium earned his first major win of the X-BIONIC® Summer Tour on Sunday, July 22, 2018, riding Bacardi les Hauts. Hendrickx bested a field of 49 riders from as many as 25 different nations to win the €92,100 Grand Prix Energochemica, becoming one of only two double-clear rounds on course designer Uliano Vezzani’s challenging, 1.60m track.
The day saw seasonably warm temperatures and cloudy skies, eventually giving way to gentle summer rains just in time for the prize giving. The expansive, 13-obtacle first-round required both dexterity and stamina, offering plenty of challenges throughout. Jumps 6 and 7, the open water to an upright vertical liverpool, proved to be the undoing of more than one pair, while the final line, a wide oxer to the number 13 vertical, also fell at regular intervals.
Hendrickx and the 11-year-old SBS stallion (Rexar du Houssoit x Cavalier) were one of only three pairs to jump clear in the first round, with the top 13 returning for the shortened course: nine on four faults; Ondrej Zvara of the Czech Republic on a time fault; and Luiz Francisco de Azevedo of Brazil, Hendrickx, and the U.S.A.’s Lucas Porter on zero.
Vezzani’s winding jump-off course featured a limited number of related distances but took in the full breadth of X-BIONIC’s sprawling, grass grand prix field. Brazil’s Cassio Rivetti emerged as an early leader among the four-faulters with Ulahop Boy, stopping the clock at a blazing-fast 41.95 seconds. Zvara, on one, attempted a more conservative route with Cento Lano, but pulled a rail, finishing on five faults. Riding the 11-year-old KWPN stallion, Comic, de Azevedo also rode for the careful clear, finishing on 52.83 seconds and leaving the final two competitors—Hendrickx and Porter on Diamonte Darco—to vie for the win.
Hendrickx jumped first, keeping up the pace but following a slightly tidier track than de Azevedo to stop the clock at 49.51 seconds. Last to go, Porter looked ready to put the pedal down, but dropped an unlucky rail at the third oxer on course, finishing 6thoverall. Brazil’s Rivetti took third; his countryman, de Azevedo, second.
This is the first major win of the season for the Lier, Belgium-based Hendrickx and Bacardi les Hauts, who have been paired together since 2015.
You can view full results from the X-BIONIC® Summer Tour Grand Prix Energochemica at here.