Hagen A. TW. (dpa) – When the Riders Tour began in 2001, the talk was about “Formula 1 Equestrian Sports”. The concept of a series of show jumpers with a starting capital of seven million marks (3.58 million euros) and milestones such as the Hamburg Derby looked attractive.
The stars of the scene rejoiced and competed for record cash prizes. The overall winner and thus “Runner of the Year” was awarded half a million marks (256,000 euros). But not many visions remain at that time.
The 20th edition of the championship series by Paul Schockemöhle and six other funders ended the weekend in the Hagen am Teutoburg forest and immediately began the new 2022/23 season. It’s a great first stage and a great sport,” the 77-year-old entrepreneur and former world rider said at the weekend.
“The level is not what it used to be.”
At least among the top riders, enthusiasm for his series is now limited. “The level is not what it used to be. There are now two-star tournaments,” said 2016 Tour winner Marcus Ening. It is the second lowest of the five FEI Championship categories.
Although Ehning rode in the four-star championship outside of Osnabrück that weekend, his interest in the Riders Tour as a series was “zero”. Like many world class riders, its layout is in line with the World Champions Tour. The competitive series from Dutchman Jan Tops, which only began in 2006, is reminiscent of Formula 1 racing with stages such as Miami or Monte Carlo and has long been left behind by the Tour Riders.
The best riders are attracted by prize money
“We were way ahead of our time,” said Ullrich Kasselmann, Riders Tour partner from the start and host of the weekend tournament in Hagen. After the disruption of the Corona pandemic, the series now begins the new season with eight stages, and for the first time in a long time there will also be tournaments abroad.
“With Beamer, we have made it our mission to internationalize the Tour,” Schukemule was quoted as saying in a statement at the end of the tournament in Hagen. Beamer is the main sponsor of the chain. But it certainly seems that Aumen in the Netherlands or Leer in Belgium are like provinces. Unlike Doha and New York, where the World Champions Tour hosts 17 tournaments.
Instead, the best riders are drawn to the prize money. At the World Tour Grand Prix, his height is three times his height on Sunday in Hagen. At the end of the season, more than ten million euros will be paid.
“It was great for a while”
“The Riders Tour was proactive on the World Champions Tour, it was a very dominant series and it was good for showjumping,” said tournament organizer Volker Wolf. “He’s been great for a while and then there was a bit of a failure to boost the series for the future. Then the World Champions Tour came and went.”
For a long time, Wolff was part of the Riders Tour with several tournaments, including the Hamburg Derby. “The Riders Tour doesn’t exist anymore because it just doesn’t fit anymore,” he said. “The derby was a world-class event. The Riders’ Tour went in a different direction.” With five-star championships in Hamburg and Berlin, Wolf is part of the World Champions Tour.
However, the importance of the Raiders Tour has steadily declined. “In such a tight schedule with such attractive tournaments and series around the world, it’s hard for the Riders Tour to keep up,” said Dennis Beller, FN Riding Association’s sporting director. “It’s a nationwide opportunity for teen couples who haven’t ranked highly in the world.”
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220425-99-35957 / 2