Nine-year-old Cory McLeod has a need for speed; he’s been putting his pedal to the medal at the Langley Quarter Midgets track in Aldergrove for almost five years.
“I enjoy meeting new friends and teaching friends how to drive,” he told the Aldergrove Star.
Though he’s a few years away from holding a driver’s license, McLeod is already an expert behind the wheel.
He won “Intermediate Driver of the Year” this past summer – a title he comes by honestly.
His mom, Nadine Scott, won “Mother of the Year,” and father Andy earned “Handler or the Year.” Collectively, thanks to taking triple trophies, the three of them are the Quarter Midget Family of 2020.
But the victory is somewhat bittersweet for the trio – there was little time this year for McLeod to stir up some dust and do what he loves.
COVID-19 reduced the season, which normally runs from April to October, to just a handful of exhibition-style races at the end of summer.
Ken Shrimpton, promotions manager for the club, said it was definitely a messed up year as compared to the years previous.
“The executive members did their best to give the kids somewhat of a season while following the active sport and COVID-19 rules,” Shrimpton said. “Cory did very well this season and we are looking forward to next season and hopefully the COVID rules will be lifted so we will be back to normal.”
Shrimpton said it was hugely beneficial that their sport takes place outside.
In the summer when the province moved into phase two, Langley Quarter Midgets sent a health plan to VIA Sports in order to hold a few races at the track.
“They approved our plan with rules that consisted of members only on the premises,” Shrimpton explained. “No spectators, and of course, face masks for everybody. The kids had to wear face masks until they had their helmets on.”
The club was able to offer drivers six exhibition-style races, a training clinic, and one tournament – dubbed “the COVID-40 Shootout.”
Clubs from the United States often come to take part, but border closures and COVID restrictions limited participants, which is where McLeod earned his champion title.
“We had to wear masks, but beside that, it was like everything was normal,” McLeod said.
The young driver has three vehicles including a Honda and an Animal, which he explained can get up to about 55 kilometers per hour.
Racers can join the club at age four-and-a-half and compete in the novice class until age eight.
From nine to 16, which McLeod is now part of, drivers compete in the seniors class.
A “heavy class” for older drivers is then the final group to compete with.
McLeod said he is not scared to drive the cars – typically equipped with four cylinder engines, restrictor plates, and roll cages; he plans to race with Langley Quarter Midgets for seven more years because he has so much fun.
“Believe in yourself,” he advised to anyone curious about the sport. “I believe in myself a lot!”
For now, McLeod’s cars are parked. Usually, his family heads down to race in Washington, Oregon, and even Las Vegas this time of year – but they’ll have to wait until travel restrictions are lifted.
“The season has ended and now we just hope that everybody listens to the rules laid out by Dr. Bonnie Henry so we can get back to the way things used to be,” Shrimpton added.
2020 additionally marks 40 years of racing for the Langley Quarter Midgets Association.
Scott called the sport unique and different – joking that the quarter midgets club is often referred to as “the best kept secret in Langley.” She hopes that more people come out to race in the new year.
The track is located at 26965 8th Ave.
More information can be found online at www.lqma.ca.
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