Epic GCL Championship Battle In New York Means Winner Will Take all in Riyadh
Set in the heart of New York Harbour on the green oasis of Governors Island, today’s GCL of New York saw riders battle it out for the final points to add to their tally ahead of the 2022 Championship Final in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 20 – 22 October.
The thrilling competition leaves Stockholm Hearts and Berlin Eagles just one point apart heading into the final round, leaving it the closest GCL Championship finish ever.
As the only team to post a sensational double clear in GCL of New York, the Prague Lions saved an incredible result to take their third win of the 2022 season. Niels Bruynseels aboard Matador and Pieter Devos with his impressive mount, Mom’s Toupie De La Roque partnered for the win and took maximum points for their team in the city that never sleeps.
Just two rails separated the top teams on the podium, while overnight leaders Madrid In Motion took silver medal position after one rail from Maikel van der Vleuten aboard Dywis HH and a double clear performance from Angelica Augusstsson Zanotelli with Kalinka Van De Nachtegaele. The Miami Celtics rounded out the podium, finishing in third on eight faults, moving up two places on the overall season standings from 13th place after solid rounds from Bertram Allen aboard his mount Pacino Amiro and Edouard Schmitz aboard Gamin van’t Naastveldhof.
Speaking of his team’s win, a thrilled Niels Bruynseels commented on their performance being the perfect lead-in to the final in Riyadh next month. "It is such an important win for our team, as it means we get the points to secure us into the top four of the overall championship."
With the GCL Super Cup at the top of everybody’s minds today, Bruynseels added, "Looking ahead to Prague, we are excited that we can fast track their way to the Super Cup semi-finals on home turf."
Packed grandstands under the blazing New York sun resulted in an incredible atmosphere surrounding round two of the GCL which could be cut with a knife. Pieter Devos gushed about the impressive arena "Not many people get to be able to say they have ridden with the New York skyline as their arena backdrop. The incredible crowd give this show such a great atmosphere that just makes a really exciting competition for us to ride in."
Resulting in a last-minute change in overall standings, the formidable Stokholm Hearts powered by H&M We Love Horses consisting of Malin Baryard-Johnsson and Peder Fredricson have snatched back the lead from Berlin Eagles powered by Fundis after today’s Round 2, as they head into the final one point ahead of the rival team.
Leading into next month’s league finals in Riyadh, the top four standings after round 14 in New York are:
1st – Stockholm Hearts, 275 points
2nd – Berlin Eagles, 274 points
3rd – Prague Lions, 239 points
4th – Shanghai Swans, 234 points
In heartbreak on home turf for New York Empire powered by Lugano Diamonds, Spencer Smith aboard Theodore Manciais and Denis Lynch on Brooklyn Heights, finished in 15th position with a team total of 41 faults accrued in round one and two this weekend.
With a the course set by Italian course designer Uliano Vezzani, a careful vertical rolling down to an imposing combination in front of the packed VIP had rails falling throughout the class.
Starting round two in pole position, carrying through just 4 faults overnight, the Berlin Eagles fell victim as they finished the day on 13 faults and into tenth position and handing the series league back to Stockholm Hearts powered by HNM We Love Horses just because of a single time fault collected by Eion Mccmaan making all the difference.
Looking to challenge the class leaders were Valkenswaard United, represented this weekend by veteran duo Marcus Ehning aboard Priam Du Roset and John Whitaker aboard his own Equine American Unick Du France. Unable to replicate their double clear in round 1, two rails fell for Ehning and Priam Du Roset, leaving the team with a total of 8 penalties to their name and just off the podium in 4th place.
Rounding out the top four in the overall standings, the Shanghai Swans produced a performance worth of keeping them in touch with a GCL Super Cup Semi-Final fast track in Prague this November. Marlon Modolo Zanotelli and Max Kuhner partnered to finish with a team total of 12 faults and into 5th place after two days of competition.
With standings closer than ever before, excitement builds as we head into the final in the cultural mecca of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in just three weeks’ time, and the question on everyone’s lips – who will take the lions’ share of the prize purse?