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Year out pays off for champion Barnes

Rolling back the years: Barnes, second left, flies the flag at Gingerman Raceway, Michigan, with long-time friend Derek Crocket, far right.

Scott “Skitchy” Barnes rolled back the clock to win his second series championship in the United States.

The Bermuda Karting Club president took a year off from the track last season in order to compete in the 2016 Championship Enduro Series.

And the move paid off handsomely after a solid performance in the final weekend at Gingerman Raceway, Michigan, sealed overall victory in the 125cc Stock Honda class and second place in the CIK 125 Shifter category.

Starting in May, the ten best results from 12 race weekends counted and, after the final Saturday was washed out, Barnes signed off with a sixth in the CIK and a second in the Stock Honda.

“To be champion is awesome,” he said. “I won my first championship in the States when I was 18 or 19 and this is my first full series in the US since then.

“I’ve always gone over for the big races but not a full series, so I took time off racing last season in order to save and do it this year.”

He added: “It’s a fun series and great to get back road racing and pick up a number of wins, second places and top fives.”

As well as his second series title in the States, the CIK finish was also Barnes’s second second-place championship finish across the water.

Bad weather disrupted his bid for a spectacular double, with everyone getting rain points on the Saturday, but the Bermudian racer believes his time off the track gave him extra fuel.

“I had beaten the guy who won [the CIK] before so I was disappointed not to get both but I’m happy with one,” he said.

“Missing last year [to do this] didn’t add pressure but it got my drive going for this season.

“Watching everyone win makes me want to step up my game. A lot of fast guys came out in Bermuda last season and will make it hard [this year].”

While the local races start on September 25, with a grand opening of the new Rubis-sponsored series and track, Barnes also has one more significant US event to attend this year — on the fabled Daytona tarmac for Kartweek two days after Christmas.

“I’ve always wanted to race at Daytona, so I’ll be doing that so I can tick it off the bucket list,” he said.

“I definitely want to go back to the States next season.

“I’m a racer and I love road racing. It’s a lot of fun.

“We’ll see how the year goes but going back and defending my title, that’ll be up there on the list for next season.”