Barnes aims for flying start in US series
Scott Barnes will begin the biggest challenge of his decorated karting career when he races in the opening weekend of the Skusa Superkarts USA Pro Tour.
The island's No 1 driver is set to face the best karters in the United States at the WinterNationals, which are being held at the Nola Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana.
Barnes will be racing in the G1 Masters Shifters class for Indiana-based Harden Motorsports Group and is aiming to get to grips with an unfamiliar track during the two-day practice sessions, which started yesterday.
“I'm definitely a little nervous because I haven't raced this track before,” Barnes said. “I'll be looking to learn it as quickly as possible and get used to the motor.
“I haven't been in a shifter since the SuperNationals in Las Vegas in November [where he came sixth]. I'll be looking to knock the rust off and try to lay down faster lap times as the practice days go on.”
The first two rounds of the pro tour are being held at the WinterNationals tomorrow and Sunday before the series moves to the SpringNationals in Tooele, Utah, for rounds three and four in May.
Rounds five and six will be staged in New Castle, Pennsylvania, in August before the SuperNationals, the “Super Bowl of karting” in Las Vegas in November.
Although he will be up against more experienced drivers, Barnes, who is competing in his first US championship series, believes he is capable of finishing among the top three drivers overall.
“I've got high expectations,” said Barnes, who became the first local driver in two decades to win three classes in the Rubis National Championship last season. “Anytime I jump in a kart and put on a helmet, I'm racing to win. Realistically, I know there are a lot of fast guys in this class, guys that do the pro tour every year and race a lot more than I do.
“I'm shooting for a top five [this weekend] and I would love to finish in the top three in the series when all three weekends are said and done. That's the ultimate goal.”
The 35-year-old, who has travelled to Louisiana with his overseas mechanic Derek Crockett, added: “This will definitely be the biggest points championship I've raced in.
“I've raced in pro races before, but I've never run the full pro tour. It's going to be different and it's something no one in Bermuda has done before.”