Barnes set to introduce new junior rental class
Scott Barnes has made attracting more youngsters to the sport his top priority after being voted in as the new Bermuda Karting Club president.
Barnes, the island's most accomplished driver, has succeeded Jason North, who stepped down after one year at the helm at the BKC annual meeting last month.
It will be Barnes's second stint in the role, having served as president from 2013 to 2018 before handing over the reins to Bilal Binns.
Barnes said the BKC will purchase four Cadet karts as part of a new Junior Rental class for drivers aged between 6 and 12, which will allow youngsters to “test the water” without having to fully commit to the sport.
The club already runs a similar “Arrive and Drive” programme for their adult L206 class.
“I'm definitely excited to be back as president and I'm looking to push the club forward this season,” said Barnes, who will work alongside new vice-president Jeff Sousa.
“It's my motivation to get some more juniors into the club. Our junior count has really been down the last two years — they're the future of the club.
“We're going to offer a junior ‘Arrive and Drive' rental programme; that's something we haven't done for a few years.
“Most of our juniors came up through rental karts. It's hard for a parent to buy a kart for $2,000 or $3,000 right off the bat without knowing if their kid really likes the sport.
“Having rental karts available for $200 a weekend allows children the try out and see if they like it. We have a couple of Cadet karts available as some of our juniors have outgrown them after stepping up to the Tag Juniors. The club is looking to invest in this and do it right.”
Another of Barnes's aims next season will be reintroducing a street race — the last event was held in Dockyard in 2017 — and has earmarked Court Street as a possible track.
“Much will depend on the Corporation of Hamilton and finding enough sponsorship, which will be even more difficult with Covid-19 going on,” Barnes, 35, admits.
“Dockyard is no longer an option because they have changed the streets there while Front Street has a lot construction going on, so we will be pushing for Court Street.
“A street race costs about $50,000 and I'll do everything in my power to make it happen.”
Barnes, who revealed that the BKC are still looking for a race director for the new season, which starts on September 20, added: “We want to hit the ground running this season and have a few trophy days, a two-day event and a L206 endurance race.
“We want to get a lot of things done and make it an exciting season.”