The European Championship for Gentleman Drivers (FEGAT) came to an end with another positive performace for Malta represented by Jesmar Gafa. Organised in Finland, this championship saw 13 participants from all over Europe drive 5 races over two days. The first two races where raced in Vermo racetrack on Wednesday 9th August whilst the last three races were run in Lahti racetrack on Thursday 10th.
Jesmar Gafa had a quiet start to his championship placing 7th on Hold Me Cloud and 8th on Le Lovetail for the first two races held in Vermo; results respecting very much the quality of horses drawn in the races. The second day of the championship however was of a totally different tune. Jesmar Gafa won the first race in Lahti on Just Kidding a 4 year Finnish mare. Jesmar Gafa left his covered position to go into the dead seat with 1600meters to go and accompanied the leader to his outside for another lap before asking a last effort from the mare that saw her take the lead and cruise to victory with ease. The second race of the day Jesmar succeeded a well fought fourth place on Albino Flame and by now his excellent results placed him in second spot in the championship behind the Swedish driver and at par with his Belgian counterpart. The last race was what made this experience bittersweet. The last race of the championship was suspended because of an accident a 1000meters into the race when Jesmar Gafa was leading the way on his horse Outwit. When it was decided to restart the race, the owner of Jesmar Gafa’s horse decided to pull the horse out of the race and Jesmar Gafa lost his ride in what could have been the race to give him the highest honour in the championship.
Availing himself of only 4 rides out of 5, Jesmar Gafa still succeeded an excellent 5th place ranking in the championship. This result continues to build on the excellent performances of drivers representing the Maltese trotting scene internationally throughout this Summer.
The final classification of the European Championship for Amateur Drivers 2023 reads as follows:
1st Sweden Patrik Fernlund 52pts
2nd Switzerland John Seydoux 48pts
3rd Norway Rune Raeyras 44pts
4th Denmark Martin Sjoholm-Jensen 44pts
5th MALTA Jesmar Gafa 43pts