12 Sep 2017 Racing Queensland (RQ), with the support and endorsement of Harness Racing Australia, has secured an exciting addition to its 2017 Summer Racing Carnival, securing hosting rights to the 2017 Garrard’s Australasian Young Drivers Championship (AYDC) in South East Queensland. The AYDC is a championship series to showcase the skills of the best young drivers aged under-25 from each racing jurisdiction in Australia and New Zealand. The 10 competitors will comprise the Defending Champion (Todd McCarthy), plus one driver representing each Australian jurisdiction, one representing New Zealand and one from each of the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The Albion Park Harness Racing Club and Redcliffe Harness Racing Club will play host to the nine-race series, across three meetings from December 12-16. RQ’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Eliot Forbes said the event would provide Queensland with another unique opportunity to highlight the state’s harness racing to a domestic and international audience. “Hosting the 2017 Garrard’s AYDC help to promote drivers as heroes of the sport, and I look forward to welcoming the future champions of harness racing upon their arrival,” he said. Long-time supporters of the Queensland racing industry across all three codes, Garrards has come on board as the series’ major sponsor for 2017. “Garrards is excited to partner with Racing Queensland and Harness Racing Australia to present the 2017 AYDC. A key driver for our involvement is the development of junior participants to help sustain participation in the industry for many years to come,” a Garrards spokesman said. The young drivers will be involved in a range of off-track activities to connect with the wider community, to ensure a cultural and developmental experience. The event will also provide opportunities for the young drivers to build a strong profile through digital and social media channels, while building new contact networks within Queensland. Drivers will be welcomed on Tuesday, December 12, before heading to the picturesque bayside town of Redcliffe for the first race meet of the series. Redcliffe Harness Racing Club president Bernie Ring said the club was thrilled to share in the excitement of the series, and invited the local community to be trackside for the opening clashes. “This is right up there with one of the most exciting events to be held at Redcliffe since I’ve been involved with the club,” he said. “It’s another opportunity to put Queensland harness racing in the spotlight across the country, after Queenslander Shane Graham’s excellent display in the World Driving Championships in Canada. “This event presents as a great opportunity for the Redcliffe community to connect with our sport, and spectators will be lucky enough to witness some of the best young drivers in the world compete.” The final six races of the series will be held at the Albion Park Harness Racing Club (APHRC) in Brisbane. APHRC chairman David Fowler said the club looked forward to showcasing the sport in Queensland. “The Albion Park Club is delighted to be co-hosting the 2017 Garrard’s Australasian Young Driver’s Championship with Racing Queensland and the Redcliffe Club, that will see the cream of harness racing’s national young talent campaigning in South East Queensland during mid-December 2017,” he said. The excitement will continue to build through September and October, when the driver’s from each jurisdiction are announced.