Van Gerwen motors to Drive-In Darts Gala success after scrubbing spectators’ vehicles
Michael van Gerwen returned to the oche for the first time since March during the innovative Drive-In Darts Gala exhibition, held at the Schutzenplatz in Hannover, Germany.
Van Gerwen endured defeats at the hands of Nathan Aspinall and fellow countryman Maik Kuivenhoven prior to the professional season being suspended at the hands of the coronavirus pandemic.
The three-time world champion subsequently disregarded the PDC Home Tour, instead pursuing regular practice sessions with good friend Vincent van der Voort, but returned to the public eye on Wednesday evening.
Michael van Gerwen providing pre-match entertainment (Photography: Florian Petrow)
Roughly 300 vehicles were present at the venue, located within touching distance of the stadium which hosts Hannover’s second tier football team, with horns being honked and songs being sung from the cars of spectators.
Van Gerwen and five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld were handed the chore of scrubbing the windscreens of those who invested in the VIP option, with the world number one proceeding to soak his compatriot with water.
— Pieter Verbeek (@PVDarts180) June 24, 2020
Players drove through the ranks utilising a golf buggy prior to proceedings getting underway, before exhibition matches featuring two of Germany’s handball sensations took place.
Following the additional aspects of the drive-in extravaganza, the four seasoned professional locked horns, with German number one Max Hopp and van Gerwen contesting the final.
Hopp defeated the doyen of Dutch darts van Barneveld, while van Gerwen overcame two-time world youth champion Dimitri Van den Bergh – who acted as a late replacement for South Africa’s Devon Petersen.
After thrashing the Belgian youngster 5-1, van Gerwen repeated the same scoreline in the final as he comfortably saw off former German Darts Open winner Hopp.
“It is good to be on the stage again,” the recent UK Open champion said following his triumph. “It is new for everyone, but you have to make the best of the situation.”
Michael van Gerwen throwing on stage for the first time since March (Photography: Florian Petrow)
Spectators were able to tune into a special commentary feature whilst taking in the action from their vehicles with an erected big screen being situated near to the stage.
Similar to the recent German Super League, a stop-go official was also in place in order to indicate when the competitors can toe the oche, while belt barriers separated the referee from the players on stage.
(Featured Image: Florian Petrow/Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung)