Karting contingent to take on endurance race in New Orleans
A group of Bermuda karters will put their racing endurance to the ultimate test competing in the third annual SimCraft 24 Hour race in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Scott Barnes, David Selley, David Barbosa and Mark Tucker will be competing for class and overall honours at the Nola Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana, along with American Alex Mayer as members of 96 Bermuda Triangle racing team.
Barnes and Selley are making their third appearance, Barbosa his second, while Tucker is making his debut in the largest Briggs and Stratton, LO206 powered 24-hour karting event in the United States to be held from March 11 to 13.
“We are looking forward to it and definitely going out there to win,” Barnes told The Royal Gazette. “We feel we have the team that can do that.”
The quartet are competing among the 14 drivers in the Masters class.
“The Masters class is a combined age of over 35 years but we all race together so there will be 32 teams starting as one race,” Barnes added.
“Even though we are racing Masters, we are still racing for overall winner as well.
“So we are racing for overall winner and obviously winner in our class.”
The local contingent are due to arrive in Louisiana early next week.
“We are excited to get there,” Barnes said. “We get there Tuesday and Wednesday we will spend the day building the karts.
“We will be racing on a Margay kart which is what I race here. The karts have been shipped out and will get to the track on Monday along with the two motors that we have.
“Thursday and Friday is open practice and then Saturday is a qualifying session and start of the race at noon to race for 24 hours.”
The event will involve 32 international drivers competing in the two classes — Professional and Masters — that will battle the clock and each other over 1,440 gruelling minutes.
“It’s basically the most laps you can get in 24 hours,” Barnes said.
“You only get one gallon of fuel every pit stop so strategy is obviously key.
“You have to make that gallon of gas last as long as a possible to get the most amount of laps in at a time.
“Every time you pit it’s a minimum of four minute pit stop and then over the 24 hours you have to have at least two, ten-minute pit stops, so a lot of strategy.
“Obviously you need a little bit of luck and hopefully nothing happens to the kart. You have to be smart and take care of your kart to make sure it lasts the whole time.”
Barnes and Selley competed for SimCraft2 team in the previous event in Orlando, Florida, in 2020 along with Americans Steven Kilsdonk, Jason Hart and Mayer.
Barbosa and Tucker have since replaced Kilsdonk and Hart while Mayer will compete again for the predominantly Bermudian outfit.
“I decided to pull some more Bermudians drivers with me this time and we are teaming up again with Mayer who raced with us in Orlando,” Barnes said.
The trio of Barnes, Selley and Mayer will be keen to go one better having placed second in the Masters class and seventh overall out of 35 outfits at the previous SimCraft 24 Hour race in Orlando two years ago.
This year sees the Nola Motorsports Park hosting the annual event for the first time.