Jamaica Gleaner / Four-time champion at Dover Raceway, Junior Barnes, can rightfully boast that greatness runs in his genes.
That’s because at eighteen years old, Barnes’s son, Nicholas, has already made a name for himself across several categories within the local motorsports discipline and might even surpass dad.
“Growing up seeing my dad racing, I knew from an early age what I wanted to do for my hobby,” the younger Barnes told Automotives . “I wanted to follow in his footsteps and planned to achieve more than he did.”
The talented youngster started racing go-karts at the Palisadoes Raceway in Kingston at seven years old, then a student at the Montego Bay Preparatory School in his home town. He said that this feat taught him most of the fundamentals of racing and lead to him representing Jamaica in the Florida Winter and Summer Tour in 2010 where he was placed second.
By 2014, Barnes moved up to cars and made his debut in dexterity where, at the entry-level, new competitors’ skill levels are strategically allowed to grow with practice and knowledge of their vehicle on an obstacle course. There, Barnes was hailed as having car control, confidence, speed, and agility.
“I was then awarded rookie of the year from the Speed Drift Series Championship in 2015. In 2016, I made my debut in circuit racing, where I was crowned the champion of the modified production in Class 1. Now, I am rated as the number-one drifter and crowd favourite in any event that I attend,” he said.
Lending himself to so many categories of driving seemed the natural thing to do as the Cornwall College alum reiterated that, “I crave adrenaline. I’m actually an adrenaline junkie.” He noted, “I’ve gotten a few fender benders, nothing major … never gotten hurt before.”
He stressed, however, that for him, his local career, though advanced, is something he sees as just a hobby. “Here (in Jamaica) we don’t get paid for motorsports, so if I were to do it for a living, it would have to be overseas. I’m actually a professional, not really at the top top but right there and it’s just a hobby,” he said.
Off the track, Barnes mentioned a love for bird shooting: “The season is only six weeks per year, sadly.” He said, “The race season ended recently and I plan to dominate the class next year so right now, I’m trying to better the car.”
“I drive a 1986 Toyota Corolla with a 4age 20v engine. I’ve been driving it for two years now and it runs very well for what it is. I plan to remove all stock parts and replace them with after-market/racing components,” said Barnes.
Still unsold by career options outside of professional racing, for now, the young Barnes can be found dominating the field as his natural talent would have him do. He is sponsored by Bay Waata, Obrian’s Car Sales International, Health Concepts Pharmacy and XE2E Communications.
Pull quote 1 – “Growing up seeing my dad racing, I knew from an early age what I wanted to do for my hobby.”
Pull quote 2 – “I was then awarded rookie of the year from the Speed Drift Series Championship 2015. In 2016, I made my debut in circuit racing where I was crowned the champion of the modified production in Class 1. Now, I am rated as the number one drifter and crowd favourite in any event that I attend.”
Pull quote 3 – “I wanted to follow in his footsteps and planned to achieve more than he did.”