British national champion Laura Bechtolsheimer finished second in the Aachen CDI grand prix special with her new grand prix ride Mistral Hojris.

Laura led from the front and had British supporters on the edge of their seats until the last to go, Andreas Helgstrand of Denmark, who stole victory. Mistral’s impressive 70.8% was the best British score of the week.

Laura rode in difficult conditions in the grand prix, as storms descended on Aachen. In the first half-pass, one of Mistral’s strengths, he hit the boards and frightened himself. The huge picture-screen behind the judges flapped in the gale, causing a mistake in the changes. Then a crash in the stands sent Mistral shooting down the centre line. The pair still scored 65.25%.

“People couldn’t understand why I made a fuss of him as though he’d won,” said Laura. “But the fact he’d had a fright and come back and still done the movements meant more.”

Conditions became worse in the hours before Laura was due to ride the special.

“I was starting to think about how I was going to get out of this. I didn’t want him having a frightening experience,” said Laura. “The big screen was flapping and it could have set him off in the passage — I couldn’t believe how well he behaved and how he focused completely on me.

“It will take a few more tests like that before judges expect that every time, but to score more than 70% at a place like Aachen is awesome.”

  • Read H&H’s reports on all the action from Aachen in this Thursday’s magazine (25 May, ’06)