The Heavens came pouring down on athletes and spectators for day two of competition at the Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg, Sweden, but the home crowd rowdily willed their team to the top of the leaderboard with uproarious cheers that made NFL games look like tea parties.
On the first day of competition, rider’s faults and final times were converted to penalties, with only the fastest clear rider being eligible for a zero. That was Peder Fredricson of Sweden, and after today he remains on that zero score.
His teammates put in equally incredible performances despite the wind and rain, with Malin Baryard Johnson and H&M Cue Channa putting in a spectacular clear, and Henrik von Eckerman and Mary Lou adding just a single time fault.
Douglas Lindelow and Zacramento proving to be the drop score with just a single rail. The Swedes now hold the top slot with a rail in hand going into the final round of competition tomorrow for the team finals.
Switzerland slipped from their top spot this afternoon when Steve Guerdat and Bianca had a rail and a time fault which had to count after Nadja Peter Steiner had a rough go as the lead-off rider for the Swiss. Martin Fuchs and Clooney kept their hopes alive with a clear, and Romain Duguet and his fiery chestnut mare Twentytwo des Biches added one time fault.
The Irish held it together to sit in third after today, despite losing Bertram Allen and Hector to a literal departure of opinion. (Neither appeared hurt in the incident.) Shane Sweetnam and Cian O’Connor both put in beautiful clears and Denis Lynch added just a rail to keep them on a four. An Irish miracle!
Belgium had by far the most incredible comeback day – perhaps in European Championship history – by catapulting up the leaderboard from eighth to sit in a tie for third with Ireland. This they accomplished with four magnificent clear rounds from Pieter Devos on Espoir, Niels Buynseels on Cas de Libertie, Jerome Guery and Grand Cru van de Rozenberg, and Gregory Wathelet and Coree. (Greg didn’t have to ride the for the team, but did for his individual score.)
The French arguably had the worst second day, dropping from second place to eighth after three of their four riders brought home nine faults each. Only a heroic effort by Kevin Staut and Reveur de Hurtebise HDC managed to keep them in the hunt, and they currently sit more than four rails behind the leaders.
The defending champions from the Netherlands barely scraped through as the last team to qualify for round three (only the top ten come back for the final) and will plenty to do again tomorrow.
Keep it locked on JN for more coverage from Gothenburg, and Go Jumping!