is pleased to announce the host tracks and dates for the 2018 Regional Driving Championships and National Driving Championship
which will ultimately determine Canada’s representative to the 2019 World Driving Championship
The 2018 National Driving Championship will take place at Grand River Raceway, in Elora, Ont., on Wednesday, September 26.
"Grand River Raceway is truly thrilled to host, for the first time, the National Driving Championship," said the track's Marketing Manager, Kelly Spencer. "We're keen to showcase our beautiful community and facility on the national stage and welcome the country's finest reinsmen in what is sure to be a first-class event. We're riding the momentum of James MacDonald's WDC win in 2017 which will only elevate the already prestigious spirit of the event. Oh Canada!"
Grand River Raceway has hosted the Ontario Regional Driving Championship several times, including the most recent event in 2016.
Drivers must earn their way into the National Driving Championship by finishing first or second in their respective Regional Driving Championship.
In addition to a first time host for the National event, there are also two first time hosts for the Regionals – Kawartha Downs in Fraserville, Ont., will host the Eastern Ontario / Quebec Regional Driving Championship and Truro Raceway in Truro, NS, will host the Atlantic Regional event. Century Downs near Calgary, Alta., will host the Western Regional and The Raceway at Western Fair District in London, Ont., will be the site of the Ontario Regional.
“Standardbred Canada is looking forwarding to partnering with our host tracks to present four exciting and competitive Regional Driving Championships which will lead into the National Driving Championship. We are very pleased to see the interest that tracks across the country have in hosting these events, including our two first time track partners this year for Regional events, Kawartha Downs and Truro Raceway,” said Dan Gall, President & CEO of Standardbred Canada. “We are also looking forward to working with the team at Grand River Raceway to deliver an exceptional National Driving Championship experience for both the drivers and the fans.”
Here are the locations and dates for the four regional events:
-- Century Downs; Saturday, June 23
(Includes drivers from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba)
This will mark the second time that Century Downs will host the Western Regional. They were the host track for the 2016 event.
– The Raceway at Western Fair District, Wednesday, May 16
(Includes drivers from Ontario
The Raceway hosted the 2016 National Driving Championship and the 2014 Ontario Regional Driving Championship.
Quebec / Eastern Ontario Regional
– Kawartha Downs, Saturday, June 30
(Includes drivers that compete regularly at Kawartha Downs and Rideau Carleton Raceway in addition to Hippodrome 3R)
– Truro Raceway, Friday, June 29
(Includes drivers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island)
Regional events will feature either eight or nine drivers who will compete in a minimum of eight races. Drivers will receive points based on their finishing position and the top two point earners will advance to the National.
Past winners of the NDC title include Brandon Campbell (2016), Jody Jamieson (2014 & 2011), Brad Forward (2009), and Gilles Barrieau (2007).
The winner of the 2018 National Driving Championship will have the opportunity to represent Canada in the World Driving Championship, and join 2017 World Driving Champion, James MacDonald, in the 2019 World Driving Championship in Sweden.
SC hosted the 2017 World Driving Championship (WDC) in August and MacDonald’s victory earned him an automatic invitation to the 2019 event in which he will become the representative for the International Trotting Association.
Canada was invited to send a second driver to the 2019 event and Standardbred Canada accepted the invitation.