Kim Hawkins was near tears as she watched her five-and-a-half-year-old son Bodhi speed around the Langley Quarter Midget Association (LQMA) track in Aldergrove on Sunday, March 13.
The Maple Ridge resident explained that Bodhi had a case of jitters before his practice session, and overcame it with the memory of his late uncle Steven Dragani, Kim’s younger brother.
“He said, he’s doing this for his uncle Steven, who passed away in May,” Kim explained.
“He looks exactly like his uncle.”
After getting his laps in, Bodhi was beaming.
Joe Catton, who is better known as “coach Joe,” was on the track, giving Bodhi and other novice racers pointers, explaining what different flags mean and what they are supposed to do when they see, for example, a yellow flag that requires all drivers to slow down.
Catton, a former Quarter Midget racer from Chilliwack who volunteers at the Aldergrove track, said for very young racers like Bodhi, getting behind the wheel can be daunting, because unlike other sports, “they do it alone” in their vehicle, without teammates.
“You’ve got to build their confidence,” Catton explained.
Another former Quarter Midget competitor, LQMA president Jason Strobel, said the association actually increased membership during the pandemic.
“Its a solo sport,” Strobel noted.
“It’s all outdoors.”
Quarter midget competition cars are one-fourth the size of midget race cars, and powered by small one-cylinder engines similar in size and construction to most lawnmower engines.
Unlike go-karts, they have four-wheel suspension.
In addition to safety cages, Quarter Midget racers wear protective helmets, neck braces and fireproof racing gear, and are secured to their seats with a five-point harness.
The sport is nationwide, with regional and national championship races held each year.
“It’s a fast-paced, fun family sport,” Strobel enthused.
“It’s like nothing else.”
Weekends in March at the LQMA track, which is located in the 26900-block of 8th Avenue, will be devoted to practice sessions, with racing beginning Saturday, April 2, with a competition for the youngest racers.
“We get to drop some green flags for our novices,” Strobel said.
Bodhi Hawkins plans to be among the competitors, looking to honour his uncle’s memory with a win.
LQMA is a non-profit organization that specializes in car racing for racers five to 16.
Those interested in getting more information about the association and the sport, can phone 604-856-9621, visit their website www.lqma.ca, or go to their Facebook page, LQMA – Langley Quarter Midget Association.
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