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Bermuda miss out on qualification for inaugural Olympic Virtual Series

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Driving force: action from the Olympic Virtual Series qualification round in which Bermuda fell short of progressing from the region which also included the United States and Canada
Driving force: action from the Olympic Virtual Series qualification round in which Bermuda fell short of progressing from the region which also included the United States and Canada
Driving force: action from the Olympic Virtual Series qualification round in which Bermuda fell short of progressing from the region which also included the United States and Canada

Dreams of a Bermudian clinching eRacing Olympic gold-medal glory have been dashed after the nation’s athletes missed out on qualification for the inaugural Olympic Virtual Series.

As part of its build-up to the Games, to be hosted in Tokyo, Japan, from July 23 to August 8, the International Olympic Committee introduced the first Olympic-licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sport, including competition across five sports – baseball, cycling, rowing, sailing and motorsport.

It was the motorsport event, that had Bermuda’s contingent of eight competitors – Ryan Burgess, K-Waz Dill, Winston Thomas, Bryan Correia, Ed Cook, Duanjai Lambe, Richard Walker-Talbot and Daniel Simons – aiming to qualify for the mass-participation series, which will run from May 13 to June 23, in what is officially being regarded as a precursor to the rescheduled Games.

In collaboration with motorsports governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, a global qualification stage commenced on May 13. Using the Gran Turismo Sport game, and competing on the pre-selected Japanese-based Tokyo Expressway in a GR Toyota Supra Racing Concept Competition Car, the 38,558 worldwide entrants were given 10 days to post their fastest single lap to claim a spot in the World Finals, drawn from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia, the Americas and Oceania.

Despite a valiant effort, Bermuda’s contingent missed out on the two spots available in the region, which also included the United States and Canada.

Burgess finished as the nation’s top-ranked entrant, in 228th overall in the region, after posting a lap time of 1min 57.561secs, just slightly more than two seconds adrift of the region’s winning time of 1:57.561. Dill was Bermuda’s second highest ranked finisher in 244th with Thomas third, having finished in 441st place. Incredibly, only 10.7 seconds separated the fastest and slowest lap times in the world overall.

Despite the disappointment of not seeing a Bermudian progress, Walker-Talbot hailed the nation’s competitors as they continue to try and put the country on the map in the fast-growing world of eSports.

“Unfortunately none of us managed to qualify,” said Walker-Talbot, who hosts and moderates Bermuda's eRacing Championships using the Gran Turismo Sport game, the same being used for the series.

“The top qualifiers were professional eSports racers with dedicated set-ups and a lot more time to dedicate to making it.

“However, I'm very pleased that seven of our eight drivers were able to post a time that was better than 50 per cent of the rest of the world. If we translated those results into other Olympic sports who knows how much we would be recognised.

“I'm excited to see what more our small island can do. Perhaps this will open even more opportunities for Bermuda on the world stage.

“Who knows what we can accomplish if the International Olympic Committee decides to extend this into the future. I hope that this result sparks more awareness and interest of theses types of competitions.”

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Published May 26, 2021 at 7:57 am (Updated May 26, 2021 at 7:47 am)

Bermuda miss out on qualification for inaugural Olympic Virtual Series

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