Monday 1 November 2010

Looking Forward to Badminton 2011

Paul Tapner with Inonothing
So now our website and all of our energies are looking forward to 2011, not backward to 2010. In one last look back as the European eventing season comes to an end in Pau this week we are mightily relieved to hear that Inonothing, the brilliant Mitsubishi Motors Trophy winner in 2010 is recovering well from chipping a bone in his stifle at the World Equestrian Games; he is unlikely to be back to defend his title in 2011 but should be competing again later next year.

Our tradestands are starting to return their application forms for next year and we are finalising agreements with all of our contractors. We have said goodbye to Brian Higham, Stable Manager and Carol Alexander, Box Office Manager but happily both are very much around to help with advice when needed, as it undoubtedly will be! Vicky Iddon has taken over in the Box Office, all the 2011 prices have been fixed and the team are busy testing the ticketing kiosk to make sure all will be ready for it to open in the New Year.
There is certainly some confidence around if our sponsorship developments are anything to go by. Mitsubishi Motors of course continue for at least another 2 years, the Rolex Grand Slam contract is being renewed and we are very hopeful that the HSBC FEI Classics series will go on. Andrew Tucker helps us with our supporting sponsors and we have experienced a real surge of interest which hopefully will be reflected in a number of new announcements over the coming month or two.

Eric Winter is taking over as our Technical Delegate this year, in what for him will be a first at this level – but he has been assistant here in the past and now has a wealth of experience course designing – he will be responsible for the Asian Games course in China in a couple of weeks. He is visiting to see the 2011 plans on 4th November and that will be the trigger for Alan Willis and his team to crack on with some course building – we always try to finish anything that disturbs the ground before Christmas. The park itself is in great condition, with the wet spell at the end of the summer more than making up for the very dry period – the grass is only now stopping growth. Harry Verney will be here several times over the next few weeks to blow the falling autumn leaves off the course, as otherwise they suffocate the grass.

Brian Higham
With the 2011 dates involving the Easter weekend, the Rev Christopher Mulholland who is Vicar of Badminton has agreed to conduct an Ecumenical Service for Easter Day in the Main Arena on Easter Sunday before the cross country gets under way. We hope lots of people will arrive in time for this 9.30 am service and indeed that the traffic problems of 2010 will go away – we have had another traffic planning meeting with the police, our admission contractors, the AA and our ‘home team’ and a few useful improvements to the routing and car parking will be implemented. In 2010 our main problem was that while just as many visitors came on cross country day as usual, they came much later – we had to deal with 4 – 5 hours worth of arrivals in 2 hours! Whether this was because of the very wet start to the day or because everyone gets up later on a Sunday morning we will never know – but certainly we will be encouraging all thos that can to aim for an early arrival at Badminton, where there will be a good varity of breakfasts on offer!

Despite the fact that most of us have been involved for a very long time, we still get excited at the prospect of another Badminton – with just a few innovations each time to keep us on our toes!

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