Road racing makes its long-awaited return with the City of Hamilton Grand Prix Street Race this weekend when nearly 50 karts will go wheel-to-wheel down Front Street.
Racing takes place tomorrow and Sunday from 10am to six on a course that snakes down Front Street, round Albuoys Point and partially up Bermudiana Road before cutting through the one-way street and heading back past the bird cage.
With the track freshly paved and the event spanning two days for the first time, the Bermuda Karting Club hopes to get more than the 7,000 spectators it got when the race was last held 12 years ago.
Club president and driver Scott ‘Skitchy’ Barnes told the Bermuda Sun: “Back in the heyday we used to get upwards of 7,000 people and that was for one day.
“We’re hoping to push past that. Saturday is busy with all the people usually in town. Then they can come see us, tell all their friends and bring them on Sunday.”
While Barnes says this weekend is the result of three month’s solid planning, the idea of a return to Hamilton has been in club members’ minds for years.
He said: “Just getting back to a street race has been, for the club, something we wanted to do. Past committees have got the club back up and running, getting numbers up and getting us in a position to financially be able to put on a race like this.
“It’s been a few years in the planning of wanting to do it — and the first-ever Dockyard Grand Prix late last year was definitely the stepping stone.”
The event has been at pains to provide entertainment for all the family. There is a children’s play area at Albuoys with a fun castle, snow cones and face painting entertainment. The pit area is situated in the car park near Pier Six, allowing fans to look in and see the karts close up as drivers and mechanics tune up the vehicles in between races.
There are heat races and Sunday finals in three junior classes as well as the senior Shifter 125cc Class and the TAG class.
Former club president Jason ‘Skuzzy’ North enthused about the Front Street track — and says there’s something for everyone.
He said: “All round the track is going to be good. If you like the corners and overtaking, Albuoys will be good, while Front Street is always good because you are going to see the karts going up and down – that will give you the most coverage.”
He added: “This is the first time we are going to be holding a summer event, basically.
“I think that’s going to help us out a lot in regards to getting people to come out there. People can come out and hopefully make a full day of it.”