Youth Movement, Bandolero Class Surges in 2014
The Hydraulics Plus Bandolero class is the entry level field of racing at Scotia Speedworld. With the age limit of eight to 16 year olds participating in the division, not only does it create a perfect proving ground for the next generation of racers, it is also a brief stopping point on the path up to those bigger divisions.
Sure, we’ve seen a lot of great kids turn into young adults and those young adults have turned many heads around the region.
Dylan Blenkhorn? Yeah, that 19 year old that broke through this year to win the Atlantic Cat 250, the Lockhart 150 (both at Scotia Speedworld) and the Lucas Oil 150 (at Petty Raceway) in his sophomore season on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour. He cut his teeth in the Bandolero class at Scotia Speedworld, winning the track championship in 2008.
The next year, a kid named Brad Eddy won the Hydraulics Plus Bandolero crown. That “kid,” who won many races aboard in his #1 Bandolero car, has made a name for himself on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour as well. Did we mention he raced against a bunch of Cup stars at the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown last Spring at South Boston Speedway in Virginia?
That 2009 season was a turning point when you look at the history of Bandolero racing at Scotia Speedworld, which enters its tenth season in 2015. At the end of the 2009 season, you had Eddy, Blenkhorn and 2007 champion Shelby Baker move up to the Legends division. Nick McCarthy and Brad Bevan only competed in one race the next year before moving on, and Ryan Mackintosh moved South to continue his racing career.
The inaugural 2006 champion (and 2014 Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman division runner-up) DJ Casey, the Butcher brothers, Cole and Jarrett, and Emily Meehan, four mainstays since the start, remained in the class. Joined by a fresh crop of rookies, it created a core group of drivers going forward.
Okay, you may be asking, why am I bringing this up?
In 2014, we had 15 drivers compete in at least 75% of the races, or nine of the 12 events. The final event of the season saw 17 Bandolero drivers take the green flag on Finale Friday. These are numbers the series hasn’t see in Nova Scotia since the inception of the class. Of those included four rookies and two sophomores, along with nine drivers with at least two years of experience under their belt. Of those ten (including Wyatt McCulloch), half of them could be moving up next season.
Adam Meehan, the 2013 champion of the Hydraulics Plus Bandoleros, and Cole Tanner already have Legend rides set up for themselves in 2015. The rumor is Cory Hall from Jolicure, New Brunswick will be joining them in the Legend ranks while rumblings are that we may also see Dylan Sutherland and Megan Parrott on the move too.
That leaves us with the 2014 champion Braden Langille, the 2013 Tim Hortons at the Airport Rookie of the Year McCulloch, the 2010 Tim Hortons at the Airport Rookie of the Year Luke Ettinger, Nathan Blackburn and Josh Langille, who also was in that 2010 rookie class with Ettinger, as the veteran presence left in the class. You can even throw Michael Cormier in the mix as well, who ran full time in 2013 but only ran a single race with us in 2014.
Add to those six the “youth” of the class in the 2014 Tim Hortons at the Airport Rookie of the Year Austin MacDonald, Danny Chisholm, Nathan Langille, Colton Noble and Nathan Singer, along with part timers Dylan Dowe and Owen Mahar, the foundation is there for some fantastic racing for 2015.
Not to mention those cars that do sell, and some cars that have sold in New Brunswick that have trickled down through the Tantramar to Nova Scotia, and you have some more new blood that hasn’t come to light that will make the “proving ground” have even more eyes on it in 2015.
Looking for a Bandolero car and want to be a part of what should be a historic season? Jack Tanner still has a Bandolero car for sale and the last time I checked, Brian Parrott is looking to move a car to complete Megan’s move upward in the Weekly Racing Series ladder.
While this article may be shorter than some we have on this Tim’s Corner portion of the site, consider it a teaser of sorts, I wanted to drum up some interest in the 2015 season, because while I have been excited on here recently about the Four Cylinder racing we saw in 2014, the Hydraulics Plus Bandolero class and the fans of the class have something they really should be on the edge of their seats about.
Speaking of that, I want to send a special thank you from all the Bandolero teams that have competed in the class since 2010 to John Cameron and his entire staff at Hydraulics Plus for supporting this class. They are the longest running active divisional sponsor at the Speedworld, celebrating five seasons in 2014. With our Hydraulics Plus Bandolero class celebrating record car counts and entering a milestone tenth season, Mr. Cameron and Hydraulics Plus have lots to be excited about.
The best thing about Hydraulics Plus on board with our Bandoleros? John Cameron isn’t just a gentleman that signs a cheque for the track, he is a race fan. John is a familiar face at our track, and tracks the progress of drivers like Blenkhorn, Butcher, Casey and Meehan, who continue to turn heads in our racing community. I’m really looking forward to 2015 with this class.
We’ll have some more throughout the winter on not only the upcoming season, but the history of the class, and a few “where are they nows” as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Bandolero class at Scotia Speedworld!
And get ready for that shift of scenery, and some new faces, in 2015.
Until next time, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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