Endurance put to the test in Italy
Scott Barnes has hailed the performances of his Bermuda team-mates at their first endurance race and admits it was a steep learning curve for the eight drivers.
Team Bermuda placed finished 29th out of 40 professional teams in the 24 Hours of Italy at the Adria Karting Raceway in the Veneto region of northern Italy last month.
Joining Barnes in the team were David Barbosa, Mark Selley, David Selley, Jeff Sousa, Ryan Lopes, Blake Horseman and Owen DeCosta.
“We all worked hard as one team and it was awesome to push hard as one representing Bermuda and the Bermuda Karting Club,” Barnes said.
“All of the drivers handled it very well and pushed through their stints whether it was 45 minutes, one hour or an hour and a half. If we had to do it again next week, I think we would be a top 15 team.”
Run by the CRG factory, the annual event is one of the most prestigious in the karting world and involved drivers rotating throughout the 24-hour race.
Aside from the demands of racing around the clock, the drivers also had to adapt to a physically demanding track in addition to the aggressive approach of their European counterparts.
“The European drivers were definitely more aggressive than what we’re used to down [at Southside],” Barnes added. “You had guys going three or four [karts] wide and diving in at the last second and pushing you out of the way. You couldn’t give an inch.”
Bermuda travelling party included pit crew Andrew DeCosta, Marcus Pimental, Jordan Fletcher, as well as several family members who cheered on the drivers from their team balcony each and every lap.
“It was great to look up the balcony and see the guys pushing and cheering us on,” Barnes added. “It really helped keep your adrenalin up.”
Barbosa, who first formulated the idea of entering the race after visiting the CRG factory last year, believed the team could have finished much higher had they not experienced technical issues with their kart.
“We wanted to reach the top ten but we had some technical issues with the kart and had a stop-and-go penalty [after emerging from the pits too soon],” said Barbosa, who revealed that the BKC were looking at enter a professional and amateur team in next year’s race.
“We had a gearbox problem in the first eight hours and we couldn’t get out of the corners quick enough. Once we got that second kart our lap times were all equal to the leaders.”
Owen Costa, one of the team’s youngest members at 17, was one of the few drivers to managed to get some sleep in the team’s dormitory between his driving stints.
“It was definitely mentally tough, trying to keep your track on your marks and your breaking points,” Costa said. “I managed to keep my focus and pull it off. Towards the end of the race you’re going to get tired; you’re going to make mistakes. It was definitely my best racing experience though.’”
The BKC series continues on Sunday at the Rubis Southside Raceway.