Riesenbeck, Germany (August 21, 2012) — Combined Driver Chester Weber, the nine-time USEF National Four-In-Hand Champion, is sporting an Individual Silver medal around his neck following a successful weekend at the 2012 FEI Four-in-Hand Driving World Championships. Weber took the Championships by storm, driving away with the Individual Silver while he and his US teammates, Jimmy Fairclough and Joe Yoder, captured the Bronze Team Medal.
Weber made a name for himself in 2008, when he became the first American to ever win an individual medal in the Four-in-Hand division at the World Driving Championships. Weber won the Individual Silver that year, and returned this weekend intent on defending his title – which he did with brilliance.
“It was great to be back on the medal podium,” Weber said. “The horses were fantastic the entire weekend. They had the best show of the year.”
Australian title defender Boyd Exell continued his success story at the FEI World four-in-hand Driving Championships in Riesenbeck (GER), claiming individual gold after very strong performances in all three phases of the competition. Runner-up Chester Weber (USA) won individual silver, the bronze medal went to four times World Champion IJsbrand Chardon from the Netherlands. The Dutch team won the gold medal for the third consecutive time, ahead of host nation Germany in silver and the bronze medal went to the USA.
Riesenbeck has a long history of organising FEI World Driving Championships. The ‘Reitverein Riesenbeck’ started organising driving events in 1975. Besides organising several German Championships, they organized the FEI World Pair Driving Championships in 1987, 1997 and 2001, as well as the FEI World four-in-hand Championships in 1992. The German spectators flocked to the Surenburg in large numbers and enthusiastically cheered the 50 competitors from 19 nations despite the very hot weather. The marathon day attracted a crowd of over 15,000 and the grandstands were full on the final obstacle driving day, emphasising the popularity of carriage driving.
Reisenbeck, Germany – The United States travelled to Reisenbeck with their sights firmly set on capturing Team and Individual honors at the 2012 FEI Four-in-Hand Driving World Championships.
And they did just that.
The U.S. team of Chester Weber, Jimmy Fairclough and Joe Yoder was a mixture of youth and experience but proved to be formidable group as they stormed to the Team Bronze. Additionally, Weber added to his medal haul as he also clinched the Individual Silver.
Heading into the cones phase the U.S., standing fourth, was within striking distance of a podium finish, just seven points behind Sweden. Led by the experience of Weber and Fairclough, who were members of U.S. Silver medal winning teams at the World Championships in 2002 and 2010, the U.S. capitalized on the mistakes of Sweden. They were able edge the Swedish by 2/10s of a point finishing on an overall score of 289.11, claiming third place honors.
Reisenbeck, Germany – The U.S. team were men on a mission Saturday as they set out on the marathon at the 2012 FEI Four-in-Hand Driving World Championships. The United States have twice claimed the Team Silver medal at the FEI Four-in-Hand Driving World Championships (2002 and 2012) and are looking to add more hardware in Reisenbeck. They are within striking distance heading to the final cones phase on Sunday; currently standing fourth in the team standings just seven points behind Sweden. Chester Weber has also positioned himself for Individual honors as he will drive into the final phase in second place.
Reigning World Champions, The Netherlands, continue to head the field on a score of 253.74, with the Germans lying in Silver medal position on 261.05. Third placed Sweden heads into the cones with a score of 277.89, the U.S. is knocking on the door with 284.82. In the Individual standings, Australia’s Boyd Exell is poised to repeat as World Champion as he leads the field on an overall score of 116.51. Lying in Silver medal position is Weber on a score of 127.80, followed by Georg von Stein of Germany on a score 132.83 in third.
Reisenbeck, Germany – Heading into the 2012 FEI Four-in-Hand Driving World Championships the United States was looking to be amongst the leaders following the dressage and they have done just that. The U.S. currently stands in Bronze medal position less than a point behind the Germans in second. Reigning World Champions, The Netherlands, currently lead the Team Championship. The U.S. leads the Individual Championship as no one was able to top Chester Weber’s remarkable score of 33.41 from Thursday.
Friday witnessed the conclusion of the first phase with 20 competitors performing their dressage tests. Jimmy Fairclough was the sole representative for the U.S. Friday driving into 17th place.
Fairclough (Newtown, NJ), who has two FEI Four-in-Hand Driving World Championship Team Silver medals to his name, utilized his vast experience scoring 53.12. Driving his own Coletto, Kavango von Falkenstein, Levin and Patsy Wooten’s Valentino, Fairclough scored three 9s and two 10s for his presentation. Additionally, he received high marks for his leader’s shoulder-in but a mistake in the walk at the end of the test meant Fairclough would not crack the top 15.
Reisenbeck, Germany – The U.S. produced the strong start they were looking to make on Thursday at the FEI Four-in-Hand World Driving Championships, with two of the three American entries performing their dressage tests. Chester Weber led the charge for the U.S. driving a spectacular test scoring 33.41 to hold the lead after day one.
Weber (Ocala, FL) has long been known for his ability to produce a winning dressage test and did not disappoint today in Germany. Driving his own Para and Boy W as well as Jane Clark’s Splash and Uniek, Weber received 10s across the board for Presentation as well as four 9s for his driving. The ultimate competitor, Weber produced his best on the world stage.
“I’m extremely pleased with Chester’s test; he drove very, very well and his horses went beautifully,” said U.S. Chef d’Equipe Ed Young.
Lexington, KY – The U.S. Driving Team will be aiming for a place on the podium this week in Reisenbeck, Germany as they square off with the best in the game at the 2012 FEI Four-in-Hand World Driving Championships. A total of 50 competitors from 19 Nations will attempt to stake their claim on Team and Individual world titles, August 16-19, 2012. The championships are off to a strong start for the U.S. as all 15 horses were accepted without incident during Tuesday’s First Horse Inspection.
Two years ago at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games the U.S. stormed to a Team Silver medal on home-turf in Lexington, KY, eight years after claiming Team Silver in Jerez, Spain. Two-thirds of those impressive teams return as Jimmy Fairclough and Chester Weber look to go one better in 2012 and unseat the Dutch as World Champions. The third member of the 2002 and 2010 WEG teams, Tucker Johnson, retired following claiming Team and Individual honors at the 2010 Games. Joe Yoder fills Johnson’s spot in Reisenbeck showcasing the emerging talent the U.S. has produced in the past few years.
Lexington, KY – The following drivers have been named by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) to represent the U.S. in the 2012 FEI Four-in-Hand Driving World Championships, in Reisenbeck, Germany, August 15-19, 2012.
The United States will be represented by the following drivers:
James Fairclough (Newtown, NJ)
Chester Weber (Ocala, FL)
Joe Yoder (Zwartewaal, The Netherlands)