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Drivers, get ready to start your engines

Season opener: racing returns to Southside tomorrow for the start of the new karting championship series

The first points of the season are at stake tomorrow as the Bermuda Karting Club gets its 15-race championship series under way at Southside.

Brandon Franks defends his Shifter title, David Barbosa puts his TAG crown on the line and in the ever-expanding Junior Cadet class, reigning champion Jake Pereira will face the best of the young driving talent on the Island.

After last week’s fun day, the racing gets serious in the five separate categories Shifter (modified), Shifter (stock), Senior TAG, Junior Cadet and Junior TAG.

A notable absentee from the starting grid will be Patrick Ingham, who is out for the season after breaking his leg in a bike accident, but Corey Lewis steps up from TAG to Shifter class.

Perhaps the most eye-catching driver at the fun day was newcomer Jamie Newton, 9, the son of Joey Newton, the Oracle Team USA sailor.

“The family moved here from Australia and he is kicking butt, beating all the juniors,” Scott “Skitchy” Barnes, the club president, said. “Last week he just walked away [with it]! So all our juniors are chasing him. He has more overseas experience, racing in Australia with bigger karts. It’s nice to see him come and make our juniors step up. One of our drivers who was in the top two juniors last year was down the track all the time last week trying to get faster.”

The club is also boosted this season by the impending arrival of seven new rental karts expected to be in use for the next race day. Two youngsters have graduated from the rentals and will compete in the championship this season after buying cadet motors.

“The junior class is getting bigger which is awesome — that’s the future of the club,” Barnes said. “The club is definitely growing, which is nice because we are probably the only motor sports club on the Island that’s growing.”

After the success of the two recent Dockyard Grand Prix and the huge crowds that welcomed racing back to Front Street last season, the club are looking to go one further this year and bring racing back to Court Street. A meeting is planned with the Corporation of Hamilton next week and Barnes is optimistic it can become a reality.

“We want to get the Court Street track — it’s just bigger and we can invite international drivers down for it. Hopefully, the Corporation is game and the police are game. We’ve done big things there before but this will be bigger.

“Dockyard want us back next year because they have things going and Court Street would be so big and so much money that we are just pushing for one street race this year.”

Three of this season’s race days will be Trophy Days that double as points races. Twelve race days count towards the championship, allowing drivers to drop three of their worst performances.

Racing starts at 12pm tomorrow. Admission is free, and there is a $5 charge for pit lane access.

n For more information go to www.bermudakartingclub.com or go to the club’s Facebook page.


Race days for the diary

September 27th

October 11th and 25th

November 8th

December 13th and 16th

January 10th and 24th

February 7th and 21st

March 6th and 20th

April 3rd and 17th

May 1st and 15th (reserve day)