Rick Ebbinge from The Netherlands is crowned World Champion

Wins in the first two races of the final leg vaulted the driver to the top of the podium in Sweden.

by Thomas Hedlund

Five, six drivers had a reasonable chance to win the trophy when the last day of World Driving Championship (WDC) was held on Friday afternoon at Gävle racetrack in Sweden.

Sweden’s Ulf Ohlsson and Canada’s Doug McNair were at the top of the list with five races remaining and the last day of the competition saw some changes in the final results.

Dutch driver Rick Ebbinge, who had collected two earlier wins during the week, advanced considerably with a wire to wire win with Jackpot Band in the first race in Gävle. A more surprising victory came in the next race when Ebbinge controlled the field from first over with coldblood trotter Pyrmo. At that point, Ebbinge showed that he wanted to take a big piece of the championship cake.

New Zealand’s driver Mathew Williamson recorded his second victory in Sweden when he did everything by the book behind coldblood trotter Edbest in the third race in Gävle and in the fourth, Canada’s James MacDonald really showed that he had adapted to the Swedish way of driving when he sent Desiderie de Soze to position outside the leader when the pace started to slow down 500 meters into the race. Desiderie de Soze was strong in the home stretch and MacDonald moved up from the bottom of the standings with the victory.

The WDC was still an open contest when the fifth and last race went to post.

Ebbinge was in front, but McNair and Ohlsson still had a chance to win the title.

Yannick Gingras had the first choice in Vine Vision and made no mistakes in the 1.6 miles long race. Vine Vision was better than his opponents and the victory lifted Gingras to runner up position in WDC. But one can speculate how it would have gone if Doug McNair’s horse Kimbee Crown hadn’t broken stride under attack three wide in the last turn.

McNair’s trotter seemed to have a lot of power left and if Kimbee Crown had won, the WDC title would have been Canada’s.

Instead, Ebbinge from The Netherlands can call himself world champion; and a well-deserved one after four wins and a consistent performance all week.

“I got a good start to the day and then I just tried to stay away and went all the way. Just being here participating with these top drivers means a lot, and it is even more fun to win,” said a happy and humble winner.

Winners – day by day

Solvalla May 24

Mika Forss – Finland
James MacDonald – Canada
Ulf Ohlsson – Sweden

Solvalla May 25

Rick Ebbinge – The Netherlands

Lindesberg May 27

Doug McNair – Canada
Rodney Gatt – Malta
Yannick Gingras – USA / Matthew Williamson – New Zealand (dead heat)
Doug McNair – Canada
Eirik Höitomt – Norway

Eskilstuna May 28

Doug McNair – Canada
Rick Ebbinge – The Netherlands
Ulf Ohlsson – Sweden
Doug McNair – Canada
Eirik Höitomt – Norway

Rättvik May 29

Yannick Gingras – USA
Michael Nimczyk – Germany
Mika Forss – Finland
Eirik Höitomt – Norway
Ulf Ohlsson – Sweden

Gävle May 31

Rick Ebbinge – The Netherlands
Rick Ebbinge – The Netherlands
Matthew Williamson – New Zealand
James Macdonald – Canada
Yannick Gingras – USA


1. Rick Ebbinge (The Netherlands) – 199.5 points
2. Yannick Gingras (USA) – 193.5
3. Ulf Ohlsson (Sweden) – 191.5
4. Doug McNair (Canada) – 189.5
5. Eirik Höitomt (Norway) – 187
6. Matthew Williamson (New Zealand) – 181.5
7. Mika Forss (Finland) – 176
8. Franck Nivard (France) – 162
9. James MacDonald (Canada) – 154
10. Michael Nimczyk (Germany) – 149.5
11. Rodney Gatt (Malta) – 142
12. Todd McCarthy (Australia) – 136

Field set for Oslo Grand Prix

The $341,900 Oslo Grand Prix is scheduled in the capital of Norway on Sunday, June 9 and the field is set for the 1.3 miles long show.

Jean-Michel Bazire is once again on fire when a big race is happening in Europe and this time he sends Looking Superb and Valokaja Hindö to Oslo.

Hambletonian winner Perfect Spirit, was a disappointment in his last race at Solvalla, but trainer Daniel Redén is more than satisfied with the Andover Hall son and Perfect Spirit is one of the 10 participants in the Oslo Grand Prix.

Ringostarr Treb said no thanks to the Elitlopp and trainer Jerry Riordan aimed for this objective instead.

Oslo and Bjerke racetrack has collected a very interesting field for this year’s edition of Oslo Grand Prix.

Horse – Trainer

Bahia Quesnot – Junior Guelpa
Gretzky B.R. – Geir Vegard Gundersen
Looking Superb – Jean-Michel Bazire
Nadal Broline – Björn Goop
Perfect Spirit – Daniel Redén
Ringostarr Treb – Jerry Riordan
Slide So Easy – Flemming Jensen
Uza Josselyn – René Aebischer
Valokaja Hindö – Jean-Michel Bazire
Vitruvio – Alessandro Gocciadoro