Kim Hawkins was on the verge of tears as she watched her five-and-a-half-year-old son Bodhi ride the Langley Quarter Midget Association (LQMA) track in Aldergrove on Sunday March 13.
The Maple Ridge resident explained that Bodhi had a case of stage fright before his workout and overcame it with the memory of his late uncle Steven Dragani, Kim’s younger brother.
“He said he was doing this for his Uncle Steven, who passed away in May,” Kim explained.
“He looks exactly like his uncle.”
After doing his tricks, Bodhi was beaming.
Joe Catton, better known as “Coach Joe”, was on the trail, giving Bodhi and other first-time runners pointers, explaining what different flags mean and what they’re 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 alone” in their vehicle, without teammates.
“You have to build their confidence,” Catton explained.
Another former Quarter Midget competitor, LQMA president Jason Strobel, said the association actually increased its membership during the pandemic.
“It’s a solo sport,” Strobel noted.
“Everything is outside.”
Quarter Midget Race Cars are one-quarter the size of Midget Race Cars and are powered by small single-cylinder engines similar in size and construction to most lawn mower engines.
Unlike go-karts, they have four-wheel suspension.
In addition to roll cages, Quarter Midget racers wear hard hats, neck braces and fire-retardant racing gear, and are strapped into their seats with a five-point harness.
The sport is national, with regional and national championship races held each year.
“It’s a fun, fast family sport,” enthused Strobel.
“It’s like nothing else.”
Weekends in March at the LQMA Track, located in the 26900 block of 8th Avenue, will be all about practice sessions, with racing starting Saturday, April 2 with a competition for the youngsters.
“We can throw green flags for our rookies,” Strobel said.
Bodhi Hawkins plans to be among the competitors, looking to honor his uncle’s memory with a win.
READ ALSO: Nine-year-old Cory McLeod wins ‘Intermediate Rider of the Year’ award at Aldergrove track
LQMA is a non-profit organization specializing in auto racing for racers ages 5-16.
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