Barnes predicting thrilling new season
Bermuda’s karters will start their engines for a new season at the Rubis Southside Raceway on Sunday.
Six titles are up for grabs in the Cadet, Tag Senior, L206 Masters, L206 Seniors, Tag Juniors and Shifters classes, with the campaign including 15 race days. Drivers are permitted to drop their six worst races.
“Starting [the season] off fast is key,” said Scott Barnes, who won the Shifters and the L206 last season. “You don’t want to dig yourself into a hole that you can’t get out of.
Barnes believes the Tag Juniors will be “wide open” as Ryan Burgess, last season’s winner, has stepped up to the Tag Seniors
“It will be interesting to see how Ryan does against the big boys,” he said. “That leaves the Tag Juniors wide open. The two girls [Jorja Thomas and Ashley Horseman] were on Ryan’s tail last year.”
Barnes said he will look to knock Blake Horseman, the defending champion, off his perch in the Tag Seniors.
“All the same faces will be racing this season apart from Jason North [a Tag Senior driver] as he has stepped down to be our race director.”
As for the Shifters, Barnes is braced for a fight to retain his title.
“We have all of these 16-year-olds coming up in the Shifter class — it’s going to be hard,” said Barnes, who has been succeeded by Bilal Binns, a Tag Senior driver, as the Bermuda Karting Club president
In the L206 Masters, Jeff Sousa will be striving for a third straight title.
“Winning two in a row was a two huge achievement for me,” Sousa said.
“Travis Lewis and my cousin, Bobby DaCosta, will be challenging. Then you also have Robert Wheatley, who really started coming up to the front last season.”
Sousa has decided to miss the first two race days and admits he “won’t have any room for errors.
“That’s my six races [dropped] right there,” he said. “I’m rolling the dice, I guess.”
With the BKC’s continued resurgence going up a gear after securing a $25,000 deal with the fuel distributor Rubis, they will also be launching an “Arrive and Drive” programme.
This weekend’s racing, which starts at noon, will also feature celebrity races in rental karts.
“David Barbosa is starting an ‘Arrive and Drive’. They aren’t rental karts, they’re full-blown race karts; people can just come along and jump in against the L206 drivers. Hopefully it takes off.”