North optimistic of ‘weathering Covid-19 storm’
Jason North, the Bermuda Karting Club president, believes the more affordable L206 senior class could become increasingly attractive for local drivers during the financially uncertain Covid-19 era.
Karting was a notoriously expensive sport even before the Covid-19 crisis and North expects the club to experience a drop in numbers in some classes while the island's economy takes a hit during the pandemic.
However, North is confident the BKC can “weather the storm” and points to the expanding field of competitors in the L206, the cheapest class in which to compete, as a reason to be optimistic about the club's future.
“I'm sure this pandemic will not have a positive impact on us,” North said. “Hopefully we can weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side.
“Motorsports in general is expensive, but if we can do it in a more economical way and still be competitive and have fun then great.
“Last season some classes did struggle a bit as more drivers gravitated to the L206 class because it's more affordable. That's basically what the club is riding on right now.
“Not only are [the L206 karts] cheaper, they're cheaper to run throughout the season; however, that doesn't take away from the competitive nature of it.
“I find that the slower the class the closer you are to each other and the more competitive the races. It's the biggest class in the United States and the fastest growing. That's what we're pushing for — affordability.
“You get people saying, ‘I'd like to race karts, but it's so expensive'. Well, here's another option for you. It's a lot more affordable than it used to be.”
North led the L206 standings after nine of the scheduled 14 race days and was awarded the title after the Rubis National Championships was abandoned because of the novel coronavirus.
Among the formidable field of 14 drivers in the class were top names such as Scott Barnes, David Barbosa, Stephen Corrado and Rian Lindo.
“I took a break during the past few seasons as race director and I hadn't actually planned on racing last season,” added North, who revealed the new season is slated for September 20.
“The field was stacked with all of our top drivers. It was awesome as we haven't had a field like that for a long time; drivers who have all won titles racing against each other.
“We had some amazing races. Sometimes there would be three wide at the finish! It's a newer class for me and it's a little bit slower than the other classes, which is more ideal as you get older.”
North, who was voted in as the new president last summer, replacing Bilal Binns, said he is open to stepping down from his position at the BKC annual meeting next Thursday.
It is believed Barnes, who served as president for five years before being succeeded by Binns, will be running for presidency.
“We're not sure who is running yet; people like to keep their cards close to their chest,” said North, who is one of the island's most decorated drivers.
“I would personally like to see other people step up. I've been president several times and have been on the committee for many years.
“It would be nice to see a few of the newer members who have some experience in other areas bring their ideas to the table.
“I wouldn't say I'm looking to take a back seat; I still want to help. I've been in this sport for 30 years and I want to see the club grow. The club has a lot of potential.”
L206 Senior Class
Jason North 708
Scott Barnes 654
Stephen Corrado 612
David Barbosa 608
Rian Lindo 573
Justin Lindo 548
John Carreiro Jr 533
Brandon DeSilva 495
Max Correia 321
Owen DeCosta 248
Ed Cook 244
Corey Lewis 228
James Wheldon 119
Ryan Burgess 56
LO206 Masters Class
Travis Lewis 652
Robert Wheatley 537
Patrick Stamper 335
Michael Smith 179
Kenneth Harrison 126
TAG Junior Class
Jorja Thomas 615
Jauza James 584
Jaden Malpas 424
Nathan DeCosta 358
Jayden Brimmer 286
Nile Bean 193
TAG Senior Class
Stephen Corrado 625
Richard Walker-Talbot 503
Bilal Binns 495
Scott Barnes 106
125 Shifter Class
Ryan Rebello 301
Scott Barnes 155