Joggins has another national champion in its midst.
A few years after Damon Burbine put the community on the national motocross map with a Canadian championship, 14-year-old Landen White has brought another national championship to Joggins after winning the Briggs Jr. Lite Canadian kart racing championship at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont.
“It’s insane, it’s amazing,” White said. “I knew I had a chance to win, but it took a lot of luck and a lot of hard work.”
During the race, White, part of the Gerald Caseley/Ricciardo Kart racing team, and Cooper Simpson pulled away from the pack early during the 12-lap finale. Both drivers pushed hard and it came down to the final lap as White passed Simpson in turn five and then blocked his competitor the rest of the way to win the championship.
“From the start I knew I had to get out in front of the field and me and another race sort of worked together until the final lap when I made my move on turn five,” he said. “When I crossed the finish line it was crazy. I was hard to hold on those last couple of turns. I was so nervous I thought I was going to throw up.”
White said from the first moment he sat in the seat of a kart he knew he wanted to race and now that he’s won a Canadian championship he already has his sight set on his next goal.
“I want to win again,” said White, who also plays soccer and basketball and is going into Grade 10 at River Hebert District School in September.
It’s not bad for someone who only began racing karts this year and had only been in the seat of kart several times over the year since first being exposed to the sport at the track in Dieppe.
“Last fall he said he wanted to go to the go-kart track so he and I went up to East Coast Karting and there was a worker there who told him how fast his lap times were and it went from there,” Landen’s father, Alan said. “From there we went out and bought him a kart and he began racing.”
White’s father can’t believe how much progress he has made, but was quick to credit the team working behind Landen.
“It’s pretty special to think that some of the kids he raced against have been racing for several years and at events all over North America,” Landen’s father Alan said. “It’s pretty hard to believe considering he’s only been doing this for three months. It was a pretty strong field, but he did a wicked job. He had a great team behind him and he had a fast kart.”
He’s also the latest from Cumberland County to enjoy success on the kart track. Nathan Kelly, Alex VanSnick and Ryan Mackintosh are among those to be successful on the track. Mackintosh, who now lives in North Carolina, returned to Legends racing this summer after a break while he attended university.
Landen said there are a lot of people to thank including his parents and sister, adding his father and uncle, Hank, helped as mechanics. He was sponsored by MPW owned by his grandparents Robbie and Lorna White, and Gerald Caseley.
He said he had great support from his teammates, coaches Gerald Caseley and Kelsey Hann and Eric Bellemare, who does coaching and track data.