Briand blowing by the rest

Father, son team up on northwest mud racing circuit

Local driver Austin Briand

Local driver Austin Briand

It’s a big show and one local teen is a big part of it.

Austin Briand is hands down the fastest young driver behind the wheel in the North West Mud Racing Association (NWRMA).

And, shredding a 200-foot mud track in three seconds or less, he might be the fastest 16-year-old in the country.

If he’s not, he’s definitely close, says NWMRA president Gavin McDonald, adding results from other clubs are hard to compare in this case because the ages of drivers are never released.

“He’s under three seconds for 200-feet, at 16-years-old. I’m 50. That’s what I do – 2.7, 2.8, 2.9. As far as I know, I don’t believe there is anybody else that is 16-years-old and running a blown alcohol mud race car [in those times].”

Last season, Austin was the A Class’s number one overall points winner through six races in Merritt, Quesnel, Valemount, Chilliwack, 100 Mile House and Kamloops. This season, in his truck, “Down & Dirty,” he’s leading the D Class through three races, with most recent results from the Scotty’s Mud Drags event near 100 Mile House on July 19.

Austin’s dad, Lee, also races in the circuit. Lee drives a rear-engine dragster called “Mud Fever II,” which Austin sometimes drives for his fastest runs.

Lee is a longtime mud racer and Austin has grown up around the sport. It’s a big advantage he has on other drivers around the same age, McDonald says.

“Most of them are just jumping into modified trucks and they’re doing passes [in six or seven seconds]. But, Austin has been driving since he’s been, like, seven-years-old. Austin knows how to handle a car.”

Austin’s fastest passes are 3.01 seconds in his truck, and 2.71 in Mud Fever II.

McDonald jokes about Austin being a better driver than his dad. McDonald also admits that, to his displeasure, Austin has gone out after him and beat some of his fastest times, too.

The NWMRA circuit sees only a few father and son teams, and the Briands are currently the only duo that race different vehicles.

It’s a very time-consuming hobby with a lot of maintenance work and a good deal of travelling, and it couldn’t be done without the help of sponsors, Lee explains.

But the pair have a lot of fun together.

“It’s something we enjoy doing,” Lee says. “It’s a lot of bonding.”

The Briands were set to race in Valemount on Aug. 2-3. As he has been doing all summer long for some of the younger mud racing fans at these events, Austin was probably signing autographs. Like a rockstar, Lee jokes. “Being 16 and going so fast, I think he’s a big part of the show now.”