12 April 2024


Friday, April 12: One of the most fascinating contests in recent seasons in the UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship has been the duel between Jessica Chavanne and Jasmiin Ypraus for supremacy in the Ski Ladies GP1 category.


The French girl and her Estonian friend and rival have shared three world titles in three of the last four seasons and evidence from the opening three Motos of the 2024 season at the inaugural Grand Prix of Bình Định-Vietnam last month suggests that this year will be no exception.  


The main rivalry between the pair really dates back to 2020 and a restricted season that saw the World Championship decided by three Motos that were held in Kuwait shortly before the world went into a global lockdown. Chavanne earned 66 points for a fifth place and two Moto wins to seal a maiden world title. Ypraus finished second with a pair of third places and a fifth.


Chavanne was absent from competition in 2021 – a season where Sweden’s Jonna Borgström pipped Emma-Nellie Ortendahl and Ypraus to the world title over six Motos in Sardinia and Kuwait.


But the fierce competition between the duo returned with a vengeance at the start of a 2022 season that featured three Motos in Spain and three in Sardinia. Borgström pushed the duo hard and fell just short to finish third in the title race, but Ypraus hit back to seal her first world title by 22 points from Chavanne. The marketing and human resources professional from Tallinn won all three Motos in Ibiza and a first, a second and one Moto win in Sardinia was enough to secure the title. Chavanne failed to win a Moto but three second-place finishes lifted her into the runner-up spot.


The scene was set for a frenetic tussle in 2023 and the girls didn’t disappoint. Ypraus won the opening Moto in Sardinia, Chavanne was second and then the French girl won Motos two and three to snatch the early bragging rights in the championship. She headed to the finale on Lake Toba in Indonesia with a five-point cushion over her rival.


Ypraus hit back with a maximum 25 points in Moto 1 in Sumatra to reduce the gap to two points but Chavanne responded with a determined push in Moto 2 to edge into a five-point lead heading into the Moto 3 showdown. In a heat where Ypraus took a tumble and still fought back to third, Chavanne held her cool to take the win and sealed a second world title by 10 points.


The Vietnamese city of Quy Nhon staged the opening round of the 2024 series last month and Ypraus has snatched the early advantage. She narrowly beat Chavanne to the win in Moto 1 to edge into a three-point cushion, only for Chavanne to put in a determined performance in Moto 2 to snatch the win and level the scores at 47 points apiece. But an uncharacteristic mistake by Chavanne in Moto 3 saw the girl from Toulouse fail to finish a heat where Ypraus held off Estelle Poret to take the win and an eight-point lead in the World Championship.


Poret, Benedicte Drange and Borgström are currently ahead of Chavanne in the points’ standings but the French girl will be determined to bounce back in Sardinia in June and Ypraus knows full well that an early season advantage counts for nothing in the high-stakes and highly-competitive Ski Ladies GP1 category.