*File photo by Nicola Muirhead
*File photo by Nicola Muirhead

Bermuda Karting Club hope the upcoming Hamilton Grand Prix inspires a new generation of karters on the island.

After a 12-year absence, engines will roar into action again on Front Street for a two-day event on May 31-June 1 that is expected to attract more than the 7,000 that came out last time karting hit the city.

The Corporation of Hamilton has opened their arms to the event after the success of the inaugural Dockyard Grand Prix late last year and have repaved the track.

Club member and former president Jason ‘Skuzzy’ North believes the event will not only appeal to the sport’s ‘diehards’  but also new fans who will get their first taste of racing up close.

“People think you get on a go-kart and potter round because that’s what you do in Florida on vacation,” North told the Bermuda Sun. “There are also masses of people who know about karting and who went to the Hamilton Grand Prix [back in 2002] so we’ll definitely get the die-hards but then we’ll  also get people who will be like ‘I didn’t know it was going to be like this!’

The BKC have 46 karts already signed up — 17 in the 125cc Shifter Class, 12 in the Senior TAG and a total of 17 across the junior and rental categories.

“After seeing Dockyard and seeing how we pulled it off, not only by putting on a good show but making it safe and sound, everyone was happy,” North said.

“The drivers loved it and spectators loved it. Being a past president, every interview I’ve ever been in the first question has always been when are you coming back to Hamilton? And that’s been since years ago. 

“The idea was obviously to build membership first — we didn’t want to go to Hamilton with 12 go-karts. So now we are going with at least 46 — if you had said that last year, we would probably have said no way we will get that many.”

For current president Scott ‘Skitchy’ Barnes, safety has been a big concern in organizing the event — and he’s convinced everything is in place for a successful two days’ racing that will see the grand prix become an annual fixture in Bermuda’s sporting calendar.

“We want to have thousands of people down there to make it worthwhile. We don’t want to do all this work and people not come and watch it. 

“We are doing it to have fun on the streets as racers but we are doing it for the spectators first and foremost. 

“We want them to turn up and enjoy themselves.”