Brandon Campbell was presented with the official Canadian driving colours and helmet for the upcoming 2017 World Driving Championship (WDC) in the winner's circle at Fraser Downs on Friday, April 21. The 33-year-old Calgary resident will represent Canada in this year’s WDC, presented by Standardbred Canada from August 12–18.
Dan Gall, President and CEO of Standardbred Canada, along with Donna Scrannage, President of Harness Racing BC, Carla Robin, Executive Director of Harness Racing B.C., and Darren MacDonald, Director of Racing for Great Canadian Gaming, made the presentation prior to the evening's first race.
Campbell is the first Western-based harness driver to represent Canada in the WDC and was named the Canadian rep after winning the National Driving Championship last October at The Raceway at the Western Fair District in London, Ont.
The road to the Nationals started in May last year when he was invited to represent Fraser Downs in the Western Regional Driving Championship, which was hosted in June at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino in Calgary, Alta. He won that event for the second consecutive time, leading to a coveted spot in the Nationals.
"We saw you out in London, Ontario win the Nationals and you did an incredible job," said Gall during the presentation. "On behalf of Harness Racing B.C., Great Canadian Gaming and Standardbred Canada, we'll be out there with you. We're expecting that cup and we know we'll get it from you...no pressure! But have fun and thank you very much. You're an awesome representation for Canada."
John Aldag, Member of Parliament for Cloverdale-Langley City, also offered Campbell congratulations and best wishes for the upcoming competition.
"Brandon, on behalf of the Government of Canada, I'm pleased and proud to extend congratulations on your success to win the Western Regional Driving Championship and going on to win the National Driving Championship, which earned you the right to represent Canada at the World Driving Championship this summer, where you'll represent Canada in harness racing against the best in the world," said Aldag. "We know that you'll be an outstanding ambassador for our country and will wear our colours proudly. We wish you further success and to be first past the post throughout the 22-race series to bring the World Championship to Canada. Again, congratulations and all the best!"
The WDC will showcase drivers from 11 countries and consist of 22 races spanning five different racetracks in four provinces. Drivers will earn points based on their finishing position and the top point-earner will be declared the 2017 World Driving Champion and win $25,000 in prize money.
"I've had a lot of thoughts about it, but I try not to think about it too much because I get pretty excited and worked up, and it's a long ways away yet," said Campbell, who has driven over 1,300 winners and horses to earnings in excess of $8 million during his career, which started in 2003. "There's been a lot of thoughts and a lot of dreams as I go to bed at night. It's just a dream come true to do this and I'm just very excited."
The first leg will kick off at Century Downs on Saturday, August 12. The drivers will then head to Ontario for the next two legs at Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville on August 14 and Georgian Downs in Innisfil on August 15. The action then moves to Trois-Rivières, Que. on August 16, where Hippodrome 3R will host the fourth leg before the drivers head to Prince Edward Island's Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park for the fifth and final leg of the Championship on August 18, one of the major highlights of Old Home Week.
"I think I've got a huge advantage," said Campbell of the 2017 WDC being contested on his home turf. "I've driven on all the tracks other than Quebec, and Quebec is built the same as CDP. Our racing style is different, our rules are different, everything's a little different. It's going to be a little bit to adjust to the way these guys drive, but like I said, I think I really do have a big advantage, and I'm going to take the red and the white all the way."
The WDC, along with the 25th anniversary edition of the World Trotting Conference, to be hosted in Charlottetown, are both held every two years and will coincide with the 250th Anniversary of horse racing in Canada, and Canada 150 celebrations.
- (left to right) Dan Gall, President & CEO, Standardbred Canada, Brandon Campbell, Carla Robin, Executive Director of Harness Racing BC (left to right) Dan Gall, President & CEO, Standardbred Canada, Brandon Campbell, Carla Robin, Executive Director of Harness Racing BC
- John Aldag, Member of Parliament for Cloverdale-Langley City, also offered Campbell congratulations and best wishes for the upcoming competition John Aldag, Member of Parliament for Cloverdale-Langley City, also offered Campbell congratulations and best wishes for the upcoming competition
- Officials from Standardbred Canada, Harness Racing BC and Great Canadian Gaming join in the Canadian Colours Presentation for Brandon Campbell Officials from Standardbred Canada, Harness Racing BC and Great Canadian Gaming join in the Canadian Colours Presentation for Brandon Campbell