Moncton — After weeks of competition, one man has emerged as “New Brunswick’s Best Driver,” but at the same time remains a favourite to win the title of Canada’s Worst.
Brian Gomes of Edmundston outlasted the 42 finalists in this year’s competition to take the title away from 3-time champion Haley Kinderson.
“I was in the zone this month,” commented Gomes, who is the province’s youngest-ever winner at 20 years old. “The entire competition, I was only in 2 accidents — 2 accidents in a whole month! I never thought I could do it.”
Gomes and other competitors were put through a series of road tests and simulations designed the assess the drivers’ reflexes, knowledge of driving laws, patience and overall aptitude behind the wheel. The competition lasted 4 weeks and took place mainly on the back-roads of New Brunswick, to avoid traffic.
The final week saw 3 drivers facing off for the title of New Brunswick’s best after the other 39 participants were eliminated for reasons ranging from road-rage, hit-and-runs and fleeing from police. The 3 finalists were Gomes, Kinderson and a somewhat controversial contestant, Marty Leaf.
“Marty had a leg up on the rest of us, I’d say,” complained Kinderson. “He grew up in Ontario so he was around decent drivers all of his life before moving to New Brunswick last year. I think his main reason for moving here was to try and win this thing.”
Leaf called those accusations “preposterous” and said that he moved here because he wanted to live as a minimalist and needed to get away from “the hustle and bustle of a real province.”
Leaf went on to tell The Manatee that the only reason he lost the competition is because he hadn’t had any previous experience with texting while driving. “That was the final competition, and I’d never done it before,” declared the agitated Leaf. “The judges said that you have to be able to do that well to be a successful driver in New Brunswick.”
The eventual winner of the final stage, Gomes, credited his mother for demonstrating the skills he needed to come out victorious. “My mom was an awesome driver,” he boasted. “She used to drive me to school while applying her makeup, smoking, drinking a coffee and driving a stick-shift — she’s my inspiration.”
Gomes was crowned the winner and awarded a 1-year lease on a used Honda Civic, a super-saver coupon book and a $25 gift card to any Giant Tiger in New Brunswick.
Even as the winner of New Brunswick’s Best Driver, Gomes is a finalist in this season’s Canada’s Worst Driver, which scrapped plans to film in New Brunswick earlier this year and moved to Quebec instead.
“When I signed up, I thought it was for Canada’s Best,” confessed Gomes. “I was pretty disappointed when I learned the truth, but the producers convinced me not to quit by telling me I’m the odds-on favourite to win the thing.”