The National Driving Championship, presented by Standardbred Canada, will take place on Friday, October 14 at The Raceway at the Western Fair District in London, Ontario. The Championship is an eight race event and drivers earn points based upon their finishing positions. Drivers were able to have input into the horses they will be driving as a hockey pool style “draft” was conducted yesterday for them to choose their horses in each race before the post position draw was made.
Jim Marino of Surrey, BC, Brandon Campbell of Calgary, AB, Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON, James MacDonald of Guelph, ON, Brett MacDonald of Embrun, ON, Guy Gagnon of Gatineau, QC, Jason Hughes of Stratford, PE and Corey MacPherson of Vernon Bridge, PE are the competing drivers.
The NDC races are carded as races 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10. First race post time is 7:05 p.m.
The winner of the NDC will have the opportunity to represent Canada in the 2017 World Driving Championship which will be hosted in Canada next August. Standardbred Canada co-ordinated four regional events across the country earlier this year, and drivers had to earn their way into the NDC by finishing first or second at their Regional Driving Championship. The eight drivers range in age from 20 to 47. Some have competed in this event before and for half the field, this is a first time NDC. In total, they have 133 years of driving experience, 106,587 drives, 17,473 wins and over $102 million in total purse earnings during their careers.
Here’s a snapshot of the eight drivers:
Western Region Reps
- Brandon Campbell of Calgary, AB is one of Century Downs’ leading drivers and winner of the Western Regional Driving Championship; this is the third time that Brandon competes in the NDC. In 2014, he finished in third position.
- Jim Marino of Surrey, BC is one of Fraser Downs’ leading drivers and this will be his second NDC. Jim is having a solid 2016 after recovering from a major racing accident in 2015 which caused him to miss several months of racing.
Ontario Region Reps
- Trevor Henry of Arthur, ON has won over 2,242 races at The Raceway during his career and is now a top driver on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit. This is Trevor’s second NDC and he represented Canada in the 2013 World Driving Championship hosted in France.
- James MacDonald of Guelph, ON is another top driver on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit. James won the Ontario Regional Driving Championship and is a first time competitor in the NDC.
Quebec/Eastern Ontario Region Reps
- Guy Gagnon of Gatineau, QC is the veteran of the group and this will mark his third NDC appearance. Guy won the Quebec /Eastern Ontario Regional hosted at Hippodrome 3R and is a leading driver at Rideau Carleton Raceway.
- At age 20, Brett MacDonald of Embrun, Ontario, is the youngest competitor in the event and is only in his second year of driving. Brett is one of the top drivers at Rideau Carleton Raceway.
Atlantic Region Reps
- Jason Hughes of Stratford, Prince Edward Island won the Atlantic Regional Driving Championship and is one of the top drivers on Prince Edward Island. This is the first NDC for Jason.
- Corey MacPherson of Vernon Bridge, Prince Edward Island is another top driver on Prince Edward Island and this is the first NDC for Corey.
|Driver/Age||Years Driving||Career Starts||Career Wins||Career Earnings|
|Brandon Campbell, 33||14||8519||1,268||$7.688,158|
|Guy Gagnon, 47||29||26,407||4,662||$21,903,563|
|Trevor Henry, 45||28||32,472||6,084||$44,449,383|
|Jason Hughes, 43||25||7,307||1,120||$1,938,985|
|Brett MacDonald, 20||2||794||109||$507,099|
|James MacDonald, 30||8||13,735||1,550||$19,959,677|
|Corey MacPherson, 27||8||4,112||646||$1,163,967|
|Jim Marino, 41||19||13,241||2,034||$12,217,509|
*stats as of Oct. 12/16
Brandon Campbell - photo by Chelsea Chase
Jim Marino - photo by A. Shaw