Top scurry drivers battle it out for the title of national champions in Essex
Sally Mawer (pictured) took the National Scurry Driving Championship after holding off scorching performances from some of the world’s finest drivers at the sponsoring venue, The Horse Show, at Great Leighs, Essex.
Under searing sun, the first 122cm qualifier got the proceedings off to a blistering start. From an early draw, Jenny Bean set a challenging time, but no sooner had Alison Millman bettered it than Gareth Roberts cut it by a further 3sec. However, a clipped cone and 5sec to add cost him dear.
Robert Lightwood (Song and Dance) and Sally Mawer (Topaz and Callie) each took the lead, before Philip Litchfield’s Cassie and Caesar lowered the time to win the class.
In comparison, the over 122cm class was not a pretty sight, and the times were much slower. Julie Allen (Stand and Deliver) set the early pace, and this was not bettered. Last-drawn Sally Mawer (Whistle and Flute) seemingly had the class won with an outstanding first nine gates. However, she took the last two turns at flat-out gallop, sending cones high in the air.
Superb second round
The general consensus among drivers and spectators was that the second round was probably the finest they had ever seen.
Drawn first in the over 122cm class in the second round, Sally Mawer pulled off a perfectly executed round. She led for most of the round until Kim Scott came into the ring with Freddie and Joey. Her round was sheer poetry, with each turn judged to perfection and she took the top honours.
Once again, the smaller ponies made their bigger counterparts look clumsy, and this was scurry driving at its best. Wendy Scott (Trial and Error) opened with the fastest time of the weekend so far, only to watch five others go even quicker.
Sally Mawer (Topaz and Callie) won the class in an astonishing time. Sally started at the gallop and did not slow until after the finish. In between, she executed a series of tight turns, a slalom and the box with poise and balance, with ponies, driver and groom working in perfect harmony.
A flying final
It was a very tough course for the final. Wendy Scott, driving fourth, found a perfect line and left the crowd open-mouthed at her time. However, Charlotte Corby lowered the time by 1sec in the Balanced Horse Feeds flying machine.
Gareth Roberts (Lady and The Tramp) immediately made that look pedestrian, for an eventual third place, but he was left gasping when Kim Scott knocked a further 0.04sec off the team.
Philip Litchfield (Cassie and Caesar) and Robert Lightwood (Song and Dance) drove as fast as they ever have to take fourth and fifth places respectively, while John Marson just failed to get into the money.
It was Sally Mawer, with her reserve pony Callie alongside Topaz, who proved the best of the best. Her stallions again set standards that seemed impossible, and she became a worthy national champion.
Read more about scurry driving: