Guy Gagnon from Gatineau, Quebec, finished at the top of the driver standings to win the 2018 Eastern Ontario / Quebec Regional Driving Championship at Kawartha Downs, near Peterborough, Ontario on Saturday night (June 30) and advances to the National Driving Championship at Grand River Raceway on September 26.
Gagnon, a winner of 4,979 races and over $23 million in purse money during his career, finished the competition with 49 points. In runner up position, and also advancing is Stephane Brosseau, of L’Assomption, Quebec with 41 points.
The competition came down to the last race with the six races won by six different drivers. Gagnon and Brosseau finished 1-2 in the final RDC race and that’s where they landed on the leaderboard.
Gagnon and Brosseau will join other six drivers, including Ontario finalists Trevor Henry and Louis-Philippe Roy, Western finalists Kelly Hoerdt and Jamie Gray, and Atlantic finalists Gilles Barrieau and Redmond Doucet at the 2018 National Driving Championship at Grand River Raceway on September 26.
The winner of the 2018 NDC will have the opportunity to represent Canada in the World Driving Championship (WDC), and join 2017 World Driving Champion, James MacDonald, in the 2019 WDC in Sweden.
Here are the final standings:
Race-by-race recaps of the evening’s six championship races follow. The races were carded as races 1 and 3 and five through eight.
RDC Race 1: Driver Nick Boyd blew away the opening race field, winning in a wire-to-wire romp with Gramps in 1:54. Boyd sent the Jennas Beach Boy gelding to the front, putting up fractions of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:24.3 all while being chased by Brett MacDonald and Sup Hanover for second, while Jayda Nicole with Reg Gassien finished third. “It was pretty simple,” Boyd said of the result after the race. “I had what turned out to be the best horse tonight and he got the job done.”
RDC Race 2: No Panic and Reg Gassien popped pocket on pacesetter Dads Filly (Guy Gagnon) to win in 1:56.4. Ima Holy Terror (Richard Simard)came first over at the half and led the chasing pack to take third with Rocket Gal (Brett MacDonald) rallying for fourth.
RDC Race 3: Jonathan Lachance powered to the lead with Lyons William approaching the half, maintained control and kicked clear of his rivals to a 1:53.3 victory over Statement (Stephane Brosseau) and Jetset Charmer (Richard Simard).
RDC Race 4: With Burlington (Guy Gagnon) commandeering the field heading to the half and setting a quick tempo on the lead, Judy The Beauty and Stephane Gendron capitalized on the swift fractions and rallied through the center of the track to win in 1:58. Majestic Maggie (Nicholas Boyd), from second over, claimed third.
RDC Race 5: Stephane Brosseau swept off cover with Every Girls Desire</a> turning for the wire and kicked clear to win in 1:##. Badstormanyport (Brett MacDonald), who set the pace, held onto second while Four For Orr (Nicholas Boyd) off a pocket trip held third.
RDC Race 6: Guy Gagnon solidified his spot atop the championship standings, catapulting Ok Diablo to the front and to score in 1:56 over Big Sport (Stephane Brosseau) tracking his move in second and Amble Over Hanover (Stephane Gendron), who helped set a quick pace with Its Machademic (Brett MacDonald), holding third. “I knew if I could get a fast half I’d be okay,” Gagnon said following the race. “Because, as a horse, he likes to finish strong.”