Ryan races to the top in online competition
A teenage karting driver proved just as fast in the virtual racing world after dominating an online competition during the Covid-19 crisis.
Ryan Burgess beat out competition from a dozen Bermuda Karting Club drivers testing their skills in the Grand Turismo Sport video game on PlayStation 4.
The 16-year-old won six of the seven weekly races to claim the series title and will be presented with the championship trophy at the next BKC annual prize awards ceremony.
The victory was all the sweeter for Burgess who was involved in a nasty accident during practise at the Rubis Southside Raceway in October and only returned to racing weeks before the local season was postponed because of Covid-19.
Burgess, who was named the BKC's most dominant driver in 2018, was joined on the virtual podium by fellow teenager Nile Bean in second and Richard Walker-Talbot in third.
“The BKC [online] series was really fun and I had great time,” said Burgess, who has also raced in the F-Series, an international series of the popular online game.
“I knew I was going to be fast as I've been playing the PlayStation 4 for quite a while and was pretty familiar with the game.”
The Mount Saint Agnes pupil said the BKC drivers will continue to compete online while they wait for racing to resume at the Southside track in St David's.
He added: “Just before the season started, I fractured my skull in an accident with a team-mate at Southside. I suffered three fractures in my skull, broke the backbone in my sinus and cracked my jaw.
“The doctors cleared me just before lockdown. Hopefully we'll be back out racing next season in September.”
The online competition was the brainchild of Walker-Talbot, who organised the competition as a way to stay connected to his fellow drivers.
The rules saw entrants compete in a 125-shifter kart to ensure there was a level playing field while a different replica circuit from around the world was selected each week.
Ed Cook, Jaden Malpas, Mike Fontanetta, Matthew Smith, Justin Lindo, Sanjai Smith, Brian Hall, Jauza James, Greg White and Jorja Thomas were among the ace drivers involved. Non-BKC members were also able to compete in a separate class.
Walker-Talbot, originally from New Jersey but who has lived in Bermuda for 12 years, said: “Aside from Ryan winning most of the races, the rest of the field was pretty bunched up.
“Ryan's younger than most of us and has a lot of time to play these games. Most of the other guys have families and jobs. We don't get as much time to practise as he does!”