EKN Trackside: Bermuda Karting Club Lindo’s Grand Prix – Race Report
Frank, Barnes, Tucker, and Barbosa score Senior wins on Hamilton streets
CRG Bermuda's Mark Tucker made a last lap pass to win 206 Senior at the Lindo's Grand Prix in Bermuda
(Photo: Ras Macal)
The streets of Bermuda’s North-East Hamilton came alive on Sunday for the final day of action at the Bermuda Karting Club’s Lindo’s Grand Prix. Six thrilling main events entertained the thousands of spectators who lined the eight-turn street circuit, standing two- and three-deep in many areas while also packing the VIP section and the balconies of the local residences. The weather was perfect all weekend with temperatures in the 70s and beautiful blue skies. Veteran BKC driver Skitchy Barnes (TB Kart) scored the win in the TaG Senior class with a last lap pass on William Dunkley (Italkart), while Brandon Frank (BirelART) won the Shifter main event by maintaining a slight cushion over a hard-charging Blake Horseman (Italkart).
The track layout featured three typical street racing corners – fast 90-degree right-handers – but every lap also began with a pair of tight 180-degree hairpins as the drivers turned left off Court Street onto Dundonald Street for Turn 1. A short run to the first hairpin lead to down to a left-hand 90-degree Turn 3 back onto Court before the drivers faced the same 180-degree set-up for Turn 4, but this corner was the nemesis of many as not all could navigate it easily. The tight nature of the corner left many nosing into the curb on the exit. Once out of Turn 4, it was a flat-out run back to the wide-open turns 6, 7, and 8 back up onto Court Street. Getting this corner handled was the key to success on the layout.
The Shifter class capped ‘Showtime Sunday’ with drivers utilizing both KZ and Stock Honda powerplants. Brandon Frank got a clean launch to lead from the green flag and he was never headed, although Blake Horseman pushed all race long and closed the gap ever so slightly over the second half of the 18-lap event. During his victory lap, Frank fired up the crowd by laying down a series of donuts in virtually every corner. Barnes ran three classes on the weekend which included the Shifter category and, after issues in the heats, he had to start deeper in the grid in his Magik Kart. Despite turning the fast lap of the race midway through the distance, he could not close enough to put himself into the fight. Frank went green-to-checker for the win and then entertained the packed house by burning down donuts in almost every corner, and on the frontstraight as well. John Correiro Jr (Intrepid) finished fourth overall and first in the Stock Honda class. Jason DeCouto (Praga) and Jorja Thomas (Topkart) completed the top-three in the CR125-powered category.
William Dunkley led from pole in the TaG Senior main event and was chased in the early going by Stephen Corrado (Italkart), but the man on the move was Barnes, who worked his way forward with strong passes to the inside of Turn 1, eventually making his way to Corrado’s bumper despite a couple issues that slowed his progress. Once he arrived on the scene, Barnes quickly made the overtake past and then chased down Dunkley. The move for the race win happened on the final lap in Turn 4 while light contact on entry, and then seemingly synchronized clockwise rotation for both drivers to the apex. Barnes’ positioning blocked Dunkley’s exit, and this gave Barnes a clear run to Turn 5 and ultimately, the race win. It was a wild opening race that lit the crowd on fire. Corrido was able to slip past Dunkley as well to move into second. Dunkley recovered to bring his ride across the line in third. Dunkley and his team were not at all happy about the contact, but the pass was deemed a racing incident by the Race Director.
In the 206 Senior class, American visitor Robert Bujdoso powered his CRG Bermuda ride to a sweep of qualifying and the heat races, but it was his teammate Mark Tucker (CRG) who executed a daring last lap pass in Turn 6 to emerge with the popular win. The duo managed to get through the bumpy corner cleanly and Tucker was the first back to the checkered flag. A trio of drivers raced for the final step on the podium and it was Jason ‘Skuzzie’ North (Italkart) who worked past both David Barbosa (CRG) and then Justin Lindo (CRG) to finish third. Lindo held on for fourth, pushed all the way by Barbosa.
The Briggs 206 excitement continued in 206 Master as polesitter Rob Howden (CRG) did not get the start he hoped for and this allowed CRG Bermuda owner David Barbosa to grab the lead. EKN’s Editor-in-Chief and Publisher put his head down to challenge Barbosa relentlessly for 18 laps, closing to Barbosa’s bumper through the tight Turn 1-5 complex each and every lap. Howden first pushed to build a gap to fast qualifier Paul Rice, the owner and manufacturer of MGM coming to Bermuda to race his own brand. Howden then focused on gunning for the win, but he just could not set up a clean overtaking opportunity as Barbosa drove a flawless race. While Howden took the fast lap honors, Barbosa earned a 0.251-second victory, much to the delight of the crowd as the international contingent was shutout in the win column. Rice persevered to finish on the podium in third ahead of Robert Wheatly (Italkart) and Richard Walker-Talbot (CRG).
The expected battle between Roman Wilkinson (Arrow) and the visiting Cadence Presley (CRG) in the TaG Junior main event did not material as Presley was not able to complete the opening lap with a mechanical, handing Wilkinson a clear run to the win. Lucas Flood (Italkart) ran into problems as well on lap five, and that left Jonah Moniz (CRG) to chase Wilkinson. Moniz completed the full race distance to finish second.
The fight for the victory the BKC’s Cadet class looked to be locked up by Tanner Corriea (Italkart), but when a driver spun in Turn 4, the three frontrunners had to come to a complete stop before the track was cleared. Once they spooled back up, Correia was able to jet away to the win while Syah Pedro (Topkart) earned the runner-up position ahead of Austin Frank (Compkart). Hunter Borland (Praga) finished fourth while Sadie Hocking (Italkart) rounded out the top-five.
The Bermuda Karting Club executive had worked since the Dockyard Grand Prix in 2017 to get a race back on the streets on Hamilton, the small island country’s capital city. Steps were taken to work closely with the Corporation of Hamilton and they were extremely successful in putting together a sponsorship group that made the race possible. The event should be deemed a huge success with exciting and safe racing, which drew a massive crowd of people on both days of the weekend. The atmosphere on Showtime Sunday was electric and there’s no doubt that Bermuda loves its motorsports. The immediate focus is on confirming the 2024 edition and once the date is locked in, the BKC is hoping to expand the track layout to eliminate the hairpins. EKN received significant inquires on the race throughout the weekend through our social media, which points to a larger international contingent in 2024.