Before the races got underway, there was a flag procession around the Langley Quarter Midget Association (LQMA) track in Aldergrove on Sunday, Aug. 7, the second day of regional championships.
For the first time in a long time, there were U.S. flags flying from American race cars, and the U.S. anthem was sung, with O Canada, to open the day.
LQMA president Jason Strobel explained it was the first regional event at the track since the pandemic.
“We’ve had closed borders and we weren’t able to invite our American friends [until now],” Strobel told the Langley Advance Times.
Among the trailers and RVs filling the LQMA grounds in the 26900-block of Eighth Avenue were many with U.S. licence plates. In all, there were 155 cars, from both sides of the border, competing in different categories.
“It’s a very large event for our club,” Strobel remarked. “The facility is full.”
It was also the final race of the year for some competitors.
“We’re going to establish the champions of this season,” Strobel noted.
If Mission racer Kyden Theobald, eight, was feeling any pressure, it was wasn’t evident as he relaxed on the roof of his vehicle with a portable cooling fan while he waited for his race to begin.
It was quite in character, according to his dad Mike, who described his son as a “very calm and collected” racer.
Aria Chambers, eight, from Clayton Heights, when asked what appealed to her about the sport, said she liked “going fast.”
Aria’s dad, Jeff, admitted to occasionally mixed feelings watching his daughter blast around the track.
“It’s a lot of fear,” he laughed, then pointed out the vehicles are designed with safety in mind. 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.
“I think the safest place on the track is the car,” Jeff commented.
It would be the last season of racing for Aldergrove’s Dave Arnold, whose daughter Jessica was about to age out of the small cars.
Technically, with Jessica about to turn 15, she could compete for another year, but she was, literally, outgrowing the small vehicles.
“They [drivers] grow,” Arnold noted.”
Brookswood resident Jamie Fauht used to race quarter midgets cars when he was considerably younger. Now, he cheers on daughters Jemma, 10 and Jayla, eight, something he calls “pretty cool.”
“I like seeing everybody and helping the novices,” explained Jemma, who has been racing since she was five, adding “it’s fun. I love it.”
LQMA is a non-profit organization that specializes in car racing for kids five to 16 years old, competing with quarter midget competition cars that 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.
More photos from the LQMA-hosted regional championships can be viewed online on the Langley Advance Times Facebook Page.
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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