Jody Jamieson, who was scheduled to defend Canada's title at the World Driving Championship by virtue of his victory in the 2011 event, has announced that he will not be able to compete in the 2013 WDC, which takes place in France. Jamieson advised Standardbred Canada officials of his decision last week.
"This was a really difficult decision. Representing your country in a world competition is an absolutely amazing experience,” said Jamieson. "However, the dates are the worst possible dates for this event because they coincide with one of the richest weeks in Canadian harness racing, which includes the North America Cup.
"I'm hopeful that I'll have a drive in the Cup and some of the other stakes, and I feel that my first responsibility is to the owners and trainers who have supported me and provided me with great horses to drive over the years.”
The 20-heat World Driving Championship Tour will open in Reims, France -- the heart of the Champagne Region -- on Sunday, June 9, where the first five races will be contested. It will then move to Normandy, at Caen, where four races will be contested on Monday, June 10.
Angers will host five races on Wednesday (June 12) and five will be raced on Thursday (June 13) at Mauqenchy before the series comes to a close with a single heat on Saturday (June 15) at Vincennes-Paris, home of the famed Prix d'Amerique.
"Representing Canada at four World Driving Championships (2001, 2003, 2005, 2011) has been incredible,” continued Jamieson, who won the 2001 and 2011 events. "They've all been great experiences-- both on a personal and a professional level. Whoever represents Canada in France will have an amazing time.”
Following Jamieson's withdrawal, Standardbred Canada extended invitations to Canada's 2012 Driver of the Year, Sylvain Filion, and the runner-up, Scott Zeron, who both graciously declined for the same reason as Jamieson.
Standardbred Canada will be implementing a process to identify a driver to represent Canada in France. Whoever is chosen will look to defend the title, and keep the championship in Canadian hands. (SC)