Karting Club Pays Tribute To Maynard Soares

December 3, 2022 | 0 Comments

[Written by Stephen Wright]

Motorsports pioneer Maynard “Duke” Soares, an instrumental figure in karting and powerboat racing on the island, has died this week. He was aged 79.

Among his career highlights were racing at some of the most iconic circuits in the world, such as Brands Hatch and Snetterton in England, the Nürburgring in Germany and the Sebring International Raceway and the Daytona International Speedway in the United States.

A Celebration of Life for Soares will be held at St George’s Dinghy and Sports Club from 6 pm to 8 pm next Thursday [December 8].

Soares, who formed the Bermuda Karting Club [BKC] in 1976, was also a powerboat racer, winning his class in the Round the Island Race in Bermuda three times.

A lifelong motor racing enthusiast, Soares headed to England aged 16 in 1960 to pursue his passion, working for Archibald Frazer-Nash – the first Porsche dealer in Britain – and was sent to pit crew for Porsche at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Soares, however, yearned to get behind the wheel and applied for his road licence in 1962.

Having returned to Bermuda in 1964 to earn enough money to buy a racing car, a Lotus Seven, he finished 22 races in England in 1968 and 26 the following year, coming second in the Lotus Championship. He also came runner-up in the British Racing and Sports Car Club Championship in 1969 and 1971.

Later in 1971, Soares achieved his ambition of racing at the Targa Florio, held in the mountains of Sicily, the oldest sports car racing event before it was discontinued in 1977.

After returning to Bermuda, Soares bought a Formula Ford, shipping it to Guyana and racing in the Caribbean. He also turned his attention to growing the sport on the island, setting up the BKC, with the first race held at PHC Field on May 24 1976.

Four years later, Soares turned his hand to stunt driving for a Japanese-American film called The Ivory Ape, starring Jack Palance. Dressed as a woman, Soares had to turn over the car three times during a scene filmed on the South Shore beaches; however, the scene did not make the cut as it was deemed too violent by the director.

In 1982, Soares briefly moved back to England, finishing third in the CAV Championship and Donnington Championship. He continued to race overseas throughout the Eighties, Nineties and into the early 2000s.

Soares was among the karting icons inducted into the inaugural Bermuda Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2019.

Scott Barnes, the BKC president, said the island had lost a karting legend.

“I first jumped in a real go-kart when I was 11,” Barnes wrote on Instagram. “Little did I know it would forever change my life.

“Fast forward 27 years, countless racing trips, friends and relationships made through karting championships and unforgettable racing I’ll never forget. Karting is the biggest passion in my life and a huge part of who I am.

“And if it wasn’t for ‘Duke’, who knows if I would have found karting? I was lucky enough to sit down with ‘Duke’ a few years back before his health got bad and talk about karting and his racing life, something I’m so happy I had a chance to do.”

Barnes, the island’s top driver, added: “I will be forever grateful for ‘Duke’ paving the way for karting in Bermuda.

“The Bermuda Karting Club family will never forget the legend ‘Duke’ Soares. Race in peace ‘Duke’.”

Soares leaves behind his wife Sandra and sons Nicolas and Mark and grandson Oliver.

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