Kart racers zoom to Japan to beat lockdown

  • Virtual racing: Richard Talbot-Walker races against his fellow Bermuda Karting Club drivers while playing the Gran Turismo Sport video game on the PlayStation 4

    Virtual racing: Richard Talbot-Walker races against his fellow Bermuda Karting Club drivers while playing the Gran Turismo Sport video game on the PlayStation 4

Kart racers have fulfilled their need for speed with an online competition during the Covid-19 lockdown.

A dozen drivers from the Bermuda Karting Club have swapped their steering wheels for PlayStation 4 controllers to keep their skills razor-sharp with the Gran Turismo Sport video game.

Among the drivers vying for the virtual chequered flag is Richard Walker-Talbot, who organised the weekly race series as a way to stay connected to his fellow drivers.

The rules are that entrants must compete in a 125-shifter kart to ensure there is a level playing field and a different replica circuit is selected each week.

Mr Walker-Talbot, originally from New Jersey but who has lived in Bermuda for 12 years, said: “I’d never thought about doing an online racing series, but the interest was there immediately and people logged on right away.

“It helps us stay involved; it keeps us racing. We race together on Tuesday nights, practise for 20 minutes, do a qualifying session for eight minutes and then the race, which lasts between 20 and 45 minutes.

“It’s a pretty realistic game. It’s a dynamic engine and you have to get your breaking point down, your shifting right, maximise your revolutions per minute and command the corners and apex.”

Ryan Burgess won the inaugural race at the Tsukuba Circuit in Japan and Niles Bean triumphed in the second at the Suzuka International Race Course, also in Japan.

Ed Cook, Jaden Malpas, Mike Fontanetta, Matthew Smith, Justin Lindo, Sanjai Smith, Brian Hall, Jauza James, Greg White and Jorja Thomas are among the ace drivers involved.

Mr Walker-Talbot, who has posted the virtual races on YouTube and plans to livestream them on the BKC Facebook page, added: “Our season at the Rubis Southside Raceway in St David’s got suspended half way through because of the coronavirus and we don’t know when we will be able to go back.

“Everything is on hold right now and these online races are keeping us active and that’s the main reason why I started it.

“Every week we’re getting a new member. Guys are looking to buy second-hand PlayStations all over the island just to get involved.”

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Published Apr 18, 2020 at 7:19 am (Updated Apr 18, 2020 at 12:41 pm)

Kart racers zoom to Japan to beat lockdown

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