Forward Wins 2009 NDC

Published: March 21, 2009 04:08 pm EDT

Eight of Canada's best drivers converged at Fraser Downs on March 21 for a chance to represent our country in the World Driving Championship

and with two wins, one second and three thirds, Brad Forward earned the 2009 National Driving Championship title with a total of 65 points.

Going into the final leg, representatives from each region including Gilles Barrieau, Brad Forward, Guy Gagnon and Kelly Hoerdt had earned enough points to remain in the running for the NDC title.

In the last race, Forward secured the title with a win in rein to Kg Mattattack, who survived a first-over journey to triumph in 1:55.4 ahead of Geraint Hanover (Daniel Potvin) in a photo finish while Popular Demand (Guy Gagnon) rounded out the top three.

Forward, a native of Newfoundland now residing in Woodstock, Ont., said he tried not to look at the scoreboard during the challenge and he did not know that he had won the title after the final leg.

“I'm really stuck for words,” said Forward following the official NDC presentation. “It's been an amazing experience. I don’t think I’d be where I am today without the support of my family.”

Fifteen members of Forward’s family including his wife, Sandra, and three daughters, Kaitlyn, Melissa and Jessica, were in attendance to cheer him on throughout the eight-race challenge. Forward’s parents, siblings and nephews travelled across the country from Newfoundland to support the Ontario representative.

Forward will represent Canada in the World Driving Championship scheduled in Norway from May 14-20.

Standardbred Canada will co-ordinate the presentation of Canadian colours to the winning driver at his local racetrack or within his local community.

This is the second time that Standardbred Canada, the national organization for harness racing, has co-ordinated this event. Prior to 2007, Canada’s representative to the World competition was determined by a stats based formula. In 2007, SC developed a more equitable way that featured driving competitions to generate more awareness and a higher profile both for Canada’s representative and the World's.

Charlottetown Driving Park hosted the inaugural National Driving Championship in 2007 where Gilles Barrieau was crowned champion and represented Canada at the Worlds in New Zealand where Christopher Martens of Belgium won the title.

Here is a recap of this afternoon's National Driving Championship from Fraser Downs:

Leg 1
Guy Gagnon stole the show in the opening leg winning with Nazko Jade in 1:59.2. Nazko Jade led off the gate but surrendered the lead to Sylvias Jewel and Paul MacDonell at the first quarter. Gagnon pulled the pocket and retook the lead during the second half then opened up by almost four lengths to secure the win. The Crowd Wentwild (Bill Davis) was second with Kg Datemate (Brad Forward) finishing third.

*NDC - Race 1*

Leg 2
Brad Forward prevailed in the second leg with Everybody Dance winning in a career-best 1:56.2. Everybody Dance advanced first over through the second quarter and held off the pocket-sitter Big Promise (Guy Gagnon) for the victory. Millbanks Motion (Gilles Barrieau) rounded out the top three.

*NDC - Race 2*

Leg 3
Local reinsman Bill Davis stepped up to take the lead in the third leg with Red Star Islander. He rallied from off the pace to take his first win of the year by six and a half lengths in a career-best clocking of 1:55.4. Daves Showboat (Kelly Hoerdt) was the runner-up with Sunbury Hope (Paul MacDonell) finishing third.

*NDC - Race 3*

Leg 4
Marc Campbell jumped up in the standings with a win in the fourth leg aboard Winter Bliss. Campbell made the winning move when he angled Winter Bliss three-wide down the backstretch. Solar Wind (Kelly Hoerdt) made a late-stretch dash but Winter Bliss held on for the win in 1:56.4. With a third place finish in rein to Tahuya Burner, Brad Forward took the number one spot on the leader board.

*NDC - Race 4*

Leg 5
Gilles Barrieau scored his first win of the challenge moving him into a third-place tie with Bill Davis after Kootenay Ice rallied off a second-over trip equaling his life's mark of 1:55.2. Witty Scholar (Kelly Hoerdt) was a close second with Katies Gun (Brad Forward) finishing third.

*NDC - Race 5*

Leg 6
Gilles Barrieau returned to the winner’s circle and claimed the top spot in the challenge after Rocket Rachael prevailed in the sixth leg winning in 1:56.2. She left from the inside post surrendering briefly to A Midnight Promise (Marc Campbell) before the first quarter. Rocket Rachael landed on top again during the second quarter and paced on to win ahead of Kootenay Finale (Guy Gagnon) and Lady Lola (Daniel Potvin).

*NDC - Race 6*

Leg 7
Guy Gagnon claimed the lead in the standings when Joe Millionaire turned back all challengers en route to victory in the seventh leg. The time of the mile was 1:55.4. Hewitt A (Brad Forward) and Trimline (Marc Campbell) finished second and third in a photo finish.

*NDC - Race 7*

Leg 8
Brad Forward secured the National Driving Championship with his second win on the card. Kg Mattattack survived a first-over journey to triumph in the final leg in 1:55.4 ahead of Geraint Hanover (Daniel Potvin) in a photo finish. Popular Demand (Guy Gagnon) rounded out the top three.

*NDC - Race 8*

Leader Board
1. Brad Forward - 65 pts
2. Guy Gagnon - 61 pts
3. Gilles Barrieau - 50 pts
4. Kelly Hoerdt - 47 pts
5. Bill Davis - 44 pts
6. Marc Campbell - 39 pts
7. Daniel Potvin - 36 pts
8. Paul MacDonell - 34 pts

NDC Hot Links:



Congrats Brad. My family was extremely excited that you won the National Championship. Your a true horseman, gentleman, and now champion. You have a room at my house anytime your in Sudbury.

Win in Norway!!!

Congratulations Brad and to all the drivers who participated in the NDC, and made it a very exciting afternoon of racing at Fraser Downs. It was a nail biter right to the finish of the 9th race (last of the NDC races), and very exciting to be there to see one of our Ontario boys take the Championship. I can't tell you when we have seen a more competitive afternoon of racing anywhere. The weather was beautiful, the fan turn out was great, the hospitality at Fraser Downs was second to none. Great Racing all around.

Continued Good Luck and Success in Oslo, Norway in May Brad. We will be cheering you on to bring the title back to Canada. (Thanks for the picture Sandra)

Merlyn & Carolyn Rae

Bill & Mary O'Neill.
Congrats Brad on winning NDC Good Luck in Norway .

Bill & Mary O'Neill
Fermeuse N L .


Congratulations on taking the NDC title, and best of luck later this year at the WDC.

Ken Middleton

Congratulations Brad on winning the National Driving Championship. Glad to see your family with you to celebrate your win. We are very proud of you. Wish you the best in Norway.

Kevin, Carolyn & Amy McDonald

What an exciting day at Fraser Downs on Saturday! Congratulations!!
We watched every race and were cheering you on.... How proud we are to have you
representing Canada in Norway!
Pat & Shelley Denomme

Congratulations Brad on winning the Canadian National Driving Championship!!!!!

We are all proud of you!!!!!

This is yet another accomplishment to add to your repertoire.
Persistence and hard work always brings success.
Good Luck at the Worlds in Norway!!!!!

All our LOVE
Gord and Lorraine Rose (The in-laws).


The excitement in our house tonight while we watched you drive to the Canadian Championship was immeasureable. Congratulations on a job well done and we look forward to seeing you race in the World Championship in May.

Your the best!


Way to go Brad, i'm sure I speak for everyone back home when I say that we are all so very proud of your accomplishments. National Champion, sounds good doesn't it now, on to Norway in May and win there, sincere best wishes to you and all the family, i'm sure that Marge and Bob are overwhelmed with emotion and pride and rightly so. all the best to you. God Bless.


P.S. I'm sure that you uncle Joe would be very proud to if he were alive to know it, not to mention your grandfather Pop and your Uncle Pat, its just such a great accomplishment and you should be so very proud

Marie Stoyles-Moura

Congrats Brad -- from one end of the country to the other end of the country all to win the NDC. I'm sure both Newfoundland and your adopted hometrack in London are both quite proud of you. Best of Luck to you in Norway

way to go brad you came a long way to be there i always know you could do it felicitation keep the good work you are one the best your dad had to be proud of you sincerly yours norm dessureault

Congrats Brad. Well deserved win of the NDC, Nice to see your family were there to cheer you on and celebrate this accomplishment with you. Now on to Norway to conquer the world championship. Best of luck from all your fans and relatives in Newfoundland.

Congrats Brad on winning NDC and good luck at world driving Chanpionship in Norway.All of us in oyur home providence of ewfoundland are proud of you and your accomplishment.Now on to Norway and conquer the world championship.
Gus McDonald

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