Category Archives: BUKC

BUKC: Clay Pigeon – Race Report

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All good things must come to an end right? Sadly that includes the 2016 British Universities Karting Championship. After a season of racing at some of the best kart tracks in the country, after countless laps, countless emotions; it all comes down to the final weekend.

What a weekend it was. Three epic days of racing, two huge championship battles, and the legendary BUKC Driver’s Championship. Oh, and don’t forget the infamous end of season party!

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Clay Pigeon was the chosen venue for this year’s titanic end to the season. A fast, flowing circuit set down in the West Country in Dorset, it’s one of the most popular circuits on the BUKC calendar and the perfect venue for three days of epic racing. Plus – how good is their new club house!

Friday – Round 7

The finals kicked off on Friday with the big one; the culmination of the Main Championship – Rounds 7 & 8. Coming into this round mathematically there were still five teams in with a shout of clinching the title – Coventry, the current championship leaders, Oxford Brookes, Oxford, Nottingham and Leeds Beckett.

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Going into Round 7 it was advantage Coventry. Sitting at the top of the table with a comfortable points margin, even 2nd placed Oxford Brookes had their work cut out in order to rob the midlands team of their second title in three years. If Coventry won Round 7, the title was as good as theirs.

It started off well. Picking up a 4th and a 6th place in the first two races, they were a step ahead of nearest championship rivals Oxford Brookes who could only manage two 7th places in the same races.

It was Brunel A that excelled though. A win in Sprint 1 and a third place in Sprint 2 (UWS A’s Fabio Minchella picking up the win ahead of Birmingham A’s Rhianna Purcocks) got their round off to the perfect start. The Brunel boys had been testing at the circuit since Wednesday in their own kart, and clearly all that practice had begun to pay off!

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Races 3 and 4 saw Nottingham and Cardiff picking up wins, and with Nottingham still in contention for a top three finish at the very least it was exactly the result they needed. This was followed by a 3rd in Race 5 (after finishing 10th in Race 4) to secure then 2nd place overall in the Round 7 standings.

Where were Oxford Brookes amongst all this, you ask? After their two 7th places, Sprint 5 saw them finish in 11th, and the round was looking like a write-off for them until Sprint 6 when they managed to convert their high starting grid (6th) into a hard fought 2nd place, behind Cambridge A’s Richard Morris who managed to finish a full 7 seconds ahead at the chequered flag.

Even though Coventry didn’t manage to win a single race in Round 7 (the closest they came was 4th in Race 1 after finishing 6th in Race 2, 20th in Race 5 and 5th in Race 6) their consistently higher finishing positions meant that they finished the round crucially 1 point ahead in 4th place, with Oxford Brookes A finishing directly behind in 5th. That 1 point advantage would prove to be utterly invaluable later on.

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After 6 sprint races were complete it was the Brunel A team that stood on the top step after some fantastic results (1st, 3rd, and 4th), standing 6 points clear of 2nd placed Nottingham A (1st, 10th and 3rd), with Cardiff A finishing in 3rd (1st, 6th and 7th).

In the Intermediate class, coming into Round 7 Heriot-Watt were firm favourites to win the class, but suffered an absolute disaster of a round – finishing 11th in class and 29th overall after some awful luck left them with a 5th and two 25th place finishes.

It was Oxford Brookes C, their main championship rivals, that took advantage, winning the round narrowly by a point (9th overall) over 2nd placed Coventry B (10th overall); but most impressive were the Brighton A team (13th overall) — having fallen down into the Rookies last season after many of their top drivers graduated the year before. After a year of rebuilding they were back with a strong team and looking good for next season, taking a solid 3rd place in the Inters class for Round 7.

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Round 8

With Coventry and Oxford Brookes finishing just one point apart in Round 7 (but crucially, neither team finishing in the top three) the 2016 BUKC Championship would once again go down to the final round of the season. It was down to just two teams, and Coventry A simply needed to finish ahead of Oxford Brookes to all but secure the title – no pressure!

Once again it was Brunel A spoiling the party in Endurance race 1, finishing an incredible 27.5 seconds ahead of 2nd placed Oxford Brookes A in an utterly dominant performance. Coupled with a 2nd place in Race 2 (Newcastle A putting in a superb drive to beat them to the top step), it was enough to clinch their second round win of the day. But all eyes were on the top two.

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After their 2nd place finish in Race 1 it was over to Coventry for Race 2 – but they could only manage to finish down in 9th place after being black flagged. Advantage Oxford Brookes going into the final race of the season!

With Coventry starting much higher up the grid in 12th place (Oxford Brookes started in 25th) they had it all to do, and after two lighting pit stops and some incredible driving they were up to 4th place. However, Coventry were in 3rd. Advantage, Coventry.

Until the black flag.

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Everyone thought captain Joe Charlton was double stinting – he pitted for what looking like their final stop and then reemerged back in the kart, only to pit again a few minutes later. What happened? Disaster. That first adventure into the pits had turned out to be for a black flag stop-go penalty, after getting tied up in a back marker. With them out of contention for the top three of the race, it was entirely down to Oxford Brookes. They had to gain another position and the fastest lap to finish 2nd overall on count back , and clinch the title. But with a 9 second gap to the teams ahead, it was looking like a long shot.

That was until UCLan B overtook Huddersfield A for 2nd place, with just 4 minutes of the race remaining. That overtake lost Huddersfield A a single point, handing the overall Round 2nd place to Oxford Brookes and provisionally making them champions. All UCLan had to do was hold onto that position for four more laps and they’d gift Oxford Brookes the title!

We were at BUKC for the weekend. Watch out for the full report on Karting magazine soon!
We were at BUKC for the weekend. Watch out for the full report on Karting magazine soon!

Ironically, Huddersfield’s driver was Ollie Greenwood, who was involved in the last minute shenanigans at the end of last year’s title deciding race. Without knowing that the entire championship battle rested entirely on his shoulders as they approached the final two laps of the season, Ollie was pushing hard to retake that place. He knew it was for position, he knew they were looking good for a podium. What he didn’t know was that, with just one lap to go, the overtake for 2nd place he managed to pull off round the first corner sent the entire Coventry team into jubilation, as he crossed the line ahead of UCLan B, cementing their Round 8 2nd place, and leaving Oxford Brookes A just ONE point short of clinching the title.

Coventry A are Champions!

The overall results told the whole story. Just a point separated both the winners of the Premier and Intermediate Classes from their respective second placed teams. After another disaster in Round 8, Heriot Watt A finished in 20th overall and had no idea if they’d just blown their title chances, after Oxford Brookes C won the class yet again after finishing 8th overall.

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Fortunately for the Scots, their earlier rounds were just enough. By 1 point! Congratulations to Heriot-Watt A – Intermediate Class 2016 Champions!

Thus, your BUKC 2016 Top three were as follows:

Intermediate Class:

1st: Heriot-Watt A, 347 points (12th overall)

2nd: Oxford Brookes C, 346 points (13th overall)

3rd: Cambridge A, 338 points (17th overall)

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Premier Class:

Champions: Coventry A, 409 points

2nd: Oxford Brookes A, 408 points

3rd: Nottingham A, 396 points

A huge congratulations to Coventry A. The entire season went down to the final lap, of the final race, of the final round. Does it get much better?

You can find full results from the entire season (see how your university did!) on the BUKC Results site, including the breakdown of results per race for the entire 2016 season.

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Saturday

Rookies Championship Round 4

After their Round 3 victory, Surrey A found themselves firmly at the top of the Rookies Championship and just needed a top three result to all but guarantee them the championship. But as things go in the BUKC, once the racing begins it never, ever goes to plan.

Sitting in 2nd place, Plymouth A, as the local team, used that fully to their advantage, taking two race wins in Race 2 and 5, and a 2nd place in Race 3 and with that the Round 4 victory. This meant that for the second time in two days, the championship would go down to the final race of the day.

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Surrey A started 23rd in Race 6 after a poor qualifying, and needed to finish 4th or higher in order to clinch the title. However, after a disaster at the start left them down in 33rd place, they could not recover – finishing in 25th place and handing the title to Plymouth by just two points!

Congratulations to the BUKC 2016 Rookies Champions – Plymouth A!

You can find full results from the entire Rookies Championship (see how your university did!) on the BUKC Results site, including the breakdown of results per race for the entire 2016 season.

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That’s it for the 2016 season. It goes so quickly, but fear not – it ‘aint over yet folks. Save the dates, because the 18-19th June 2016 marks return of the infamous, the demanding, the incredible…BUKC 24 Hour.

We’ll see you then!

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Images courtesy of Stu Stretton

 

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BUKC: Warden Law – Race Report

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Four years. It’s been four years since we’d taken ourselves so far north. Karting North East, more affectionately known as Warden Law, was the venue for Rounds 5 & 6 of the 2016 BUKC season. The weather, you ask? Northern.

The Rookies round, switched this time out to be the day before, got the worst of it with an utter deluge of rainfall the day before. Fortunately, there was no rain forecast for Thursday 9th March, and as such, with a wet track and chilly conditions, the racing got under way.

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After their victory in 2014, Coventry A had to settle for a hard-fought 3rd place last season as Huddersfield and Oxford Brookes duked it out at the final round for the title – but with some superbly consistent race performances this year they came into Round 5 leading the championship, and looking to extend that lead even further.

Mathematically, it was entirely possible for the midlands team to wrap up the championship one race day early, as long as they managed to secure both the round 5 & 6 wins. Of course this meant that everyone else was out to spoil their party – but could they manage it?

UWS were the first team to try. Warden Law is the closest round to Scotland, so could potentially be counted as their home round – and they used that advantage to deny Coventry the Race 1 win, whilst securing their first ever BUKC victory in the process. Well done Sam Moffat!

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Race 2 saw Oxford Brookes’ B team use their high grid slot to take victory, with Exeter’s John Pike doing the opposite in Race 3, starting 30th on the grid and proceeding to drive through the field in the greasy conditions to take one of their first race victories in quite a while.

Coventry A finally got their day off to a winning start with Race 4 victory courtesy of Luke Russell, finishing almost 7 seconds ahead of 2nd placed Swansea A.

Oxford Brookes A had been finishing highly in their earlier races but that all important top step still eluded them, with Brunel A putting in a dominant performance in Race 5 after starting 6th, finishing 9.4s ahead of last year’s runners up, who had to settle for 2nd place after being unable to catch them.

Race 6’s victory went to the other Scottish team in the mains championship, Heriot-Watt A, looking to stretch their lead at the top of the intermediates table with another dominant race victory, finishing 9s ahead of last year’s champions Huddersfield A who had not managed to finish in the top 3 yet in this round – some extremely valuable points gained there!

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After 6 sprint races and the end of Round 5, it was tied at the top – both Coventry A and Oxford Brookes A’s high race finishes giving them both 175 points after the lowest score was dropped. This meant that the result went to count-back – and with Coventry A’s Race 4 win it was they who took yet another round win and those all important 60 points, moving them one step closer to championship glory!

Two 4th places and a 7th gave Leeds Beckett A another podium finish, a very strong performance for the #33 team who managed to hold off UWS by just a point to secure that 3rd place.

In the Intermediates class it was Heriot-Watt A that took another round victory courtesy of their Race 6 victory, with Nottingham B and Swansea A finishing immediately behind them in 2nd and 3rd (8th and 9th overall).

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With the track beginning to dry (hooray!) and, pretty unbelievably, some blue sky actually making an appearance (we kid you not!) it was time for the Round 6’s endurance races.

Pit lane limitations necessitated a format change to the endurance races – 45 minute races, two driver changes and no refuelling.

Coventry A were just one round away from tying up the championship and got their round off to the perfect start with victory in Race 1, after successfully managing to convert their high 3rd row start, with their nearest championship rivals struggling during the race – Oxford C (their A team, remember!) finished in 7th whilst Huddersfield A finished way down in 27th place after a slow second pit stop – a real blow to their round hopes.

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The return of John Pike to the Exeter team inspired a fantastic Race 2 victory, climbing 12 places to deny Oxford Brookes B who started on pole but fell away early in the race, managing to recover to 2nd after the last series of pit stops. Their A team however were unable to salvage a good result from their low grid start of 34th, finishing in just 16th place – but with a pole in the final race, could they convert that to help recover?

They could not. Disaster on lap 2 saw them fall through the field to 33rd, and with the pack so bunched up at the start of the race they were unable to recover, finishing way down in 28th place. Their championship rivals Huddersfield and Oxford did the opposite however, finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively from low grid starts – but it was the #22 Warwick A team that took victory, their first in many years, after holding on to their front row start with some fantastic team work and pit stops throughout.

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The all important result however, was Coventry A. If they managed to finish highly and win the round, they would win the 2016 BUKC title with two rounds to spare! But it was just not to be. Starting 30th, they simply could not get the race to go their way, finishing almost where they started in 32nd place.

This meant that with a 6th place and a 3rd it was Oxford C (A team…) that took the round victory and a crucial boost to their championship battle – with Brunel A finishing 2nd (5th and 9th) and UWTSD A in 3rd (11th and 6th) as all the other top teams faltered – Huddersfield in 15th, Coventry A in 24th and Oxford Brookes A way down in 36th place!

Coventry’s B team were able to take home some silverware for the midlands university though, finishing 1st in the intermediate class (6th overall) ahead of Oxford Brookes C team in 2nd (7th overall) and Round 5 winners Heriot-Watt A in 3rd (11th overall).

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So what does this mean for the overall championship? Our napkin maths reveals to us that in a nutshell, it is wide open going into the final rounds. Coventry A have a clear lead at the top of the table but with drop scores applied, are just a single point ahead of Oxford Brookes A, though they currently sit 5th in the table after a disastrous Round 6. Other challengers include Oxford C (currently 2nd overall), Nottingham A, reigning champions Huddersfield A and Leeds Beckett A. Wow!

In the Intermediates class, barring disaster it looks to be Heriot-Watt A’s title to lose, with nearest championship challengers Cambridge A and Oxford Brookes C 20/21 points behind respectively.

Who will win the BUKC in 2016? We have no idea. It’s been a topsy turvy championship with the usual suspects slipping up and dark horses (shout out to Nottingham A and Leeds Beckett A!) coming right out to the front of the field.

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In the Rookies Class the day before, Surrey A took victory to cement themselves at the top of the table, with Plymouth A in 2nd and Liverpool A staying in the top 3 despite a poor Round 3.

Full results from the two day’s racing can be found here: http://www.bukc.co.uk/results/2016

Rounds 7 & 8 take place at Clay Pigeon over the weekend of 1-3rd April at the BUKC Festival. Three championships to decide, three days of racing, and anything could happen. You’d be utterly, utterly mad to miss it!

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Photos by Stu Stretton

 

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BUKC: Llandow – Race Report

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What comes to mind when you put the words ‘Wales’ and ‘weather’ together? We’re not ones to pin stereotypes on entire countries, but it was the morning of the 17th February, it was Rounds 3 & 4 of the 2016 British Universities Karting Championship season, and yep; it was raining.

The location was Llandow Circuit, just west of Cardiff in South Wales. An absolute driver favourite, it was fantastic to be returning to the rewarding circuit after a break from the calendar last season. Easy to learn but difficult to master, with flowing sections and a tricky infield complex, Llandow is a fantastic circuit for both beginners and veterans alike.

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Round 3’s sprint racing kicked off in absolutely soaking conditions, but Nottingham A took full advantage, starting on pole in Race 1 and after some tussling with Heriot-Watt A towards the latter stages of the race, managed to hold on (after retaking) their lead and take the chequered flag in a great lights-to-flag victory. Heriot-Watt fell away to a charging Cambridge A and Leeds Beckett A, coming from 24th and 32nd respectively on the grid to steal 2nd and 3rd places away from the Scottish boys right near the end of the race.

Race 2 saw reigning champions Huddersfield A emulate Nottingham’s Race 1 success, with a brilliant pole to flag conversion, pulling 10 seconds clear of the rest of the field to deny Nottingham their second win of the day, with Oxford Brookes B finishing in 3rd.

The third sprint race saw Newcastle A’s Christos Oikonomou snatch the lead of the race from pole sitting Cambridge A, but after dropping away during the race it was 2013 champions Coventry A that came to the head, with captain Joe Charlton coming from 26th to 5th in 4 laps, before catching the leaders and stretching a 5 second gap as he crossed the line. Imperial A finished in 2nd and Kingston A’s Rogan Lungley finished 3rd.

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A pause in the rain during Race 3 gave hope to everyone that it might start drying out, but it was not to be as Race 4 got underway and it started to pour yet again. UWTSD A inherited the lead after pole-sitters Warwick B took the lights and then proceeded to (unfortunately!) plant themselves into the wall down at Chandlers, with the local boys holding onto the lead of the race to take the chequered flag ahead of Huddersfield A (climbing 19 places to get 2nd!) and Leeds Beckett A in 3rd.

The penultimate sprint race saw Coventry C start on pole and hold onto the lead through the first few corners, before an enormous 13 kart pileup saw the false-start flag appear and the race neutralised. After the second attempt Coventry’s C team held onto the lead, but after some intense pack racing it was UCLan’s B team that took the win, with Warwick A holding onto a high grid start to finish 2nd and Scots UWS A finishing in 3rd after climbing an impressive 22 places in the soaking conditions – with pole-sitters Coventry C finishing a commendable 4th.

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Miles Murphy

Sprint Race 6 gave local boys Cardiff A their first win of the day at their home circuit, with captain Peter Rundle using the advantage of his high grid start to simply drive away from the rest of the field, finishing an impressive 19 seconds ahead of second placed Sheffield A, who finishing a further 11 seconds ahead of Newcastle A in 3rd place.

After the conclusion of the sprint race in Round 3, with two 3rd and a 4th it was Leeds Beckett A that came out on top, their first ever round win in the BUKC! Nottingham A finished 2nd overall with a 2nd, 5th and 7th, and UCLan B came 3rd with a race win and two 7th places. A total mix up of the usual top finishers – the wet weather having a significant effect on the results!

In the intermediate class it was Heriot Watt A that took the spoils with a 4th, 8th and 11th, with Nottingham B 2nd (1st, 11th, 15th) and Newcastle A in 3rd (3rd, 12th and 16th).

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Shaun Arnold

After a short break for a bit of lunch and some kart-fettling, and the weather not really looking like it was going to improve in the slightest, Round 4’s three 1hr endurance races commenced.

Enduro 1 saw hugely impressive drives from both Oxford-based teams, with Oxford Brookes C team taking the win after a huge 33 place climb from their starting spot of 34th on the grid. Oxford C’s team of Callum Hughes and Matt Diffey almost took victory after some fantastic team work left them with a comfortable lead going into the closing stages of the race but the charging Brookes team closed down the gap and on the penultimate lap stole away the victory, beating their A team into 3rd place in the process as well!

The second enduro saw the incessant rain finally come to a stop, and with 36 karts streaming round the circuit it wasn’t long until drying spots started to appear on track, with lap times beginning to fall accordingly. Oxford C were looking strong once again, inheriting the lead of the race after the second pit stop window when a slow stop for locals Cardiff A cost them valuable seconds. Once again though, it was not to be, with the Oxford Brookes A team this time denying Oxford C yet another race win in startlingly similar fashion. The Brookes A team crossed the line to take the win, with Nottingham A robbing Oxford C of 2nd place on the penultimate lap top drop them down to 3rd place.

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With the Sun setting over Llandow, the temperatures began to plummet as the final race of the day got underway – it was freezing! Leeds Beckett A, continuing their excellent run of form from this morning, opted for the early stop strategy, diving into the pits after 5 mins of racing as soon as the window opened. Coventry A’s excellent strategy calls meant that halfway through the race they were sitting comfortably in the lead, with UWS A chasing them down. Their second pit stop gave Oxford Brookes B the lead, but having not pitted for the second time they were forced to do so late in the race, handing the win to a charging Leeds Beckett A, with Coventry A narrowly holding off UWS A to take 2nd place. Disaster though for UWS A – a final lap spin threw away their fantastic result, allowing Warwick A to take the final step on the podium for the final race.

Just like that, racing in Wales was done for the 2016 season. With the round 4 results tallied, through a race win and 3rd place it was Oxford Brookes A that came out on top, with Oxford C in 2nd with a 2nd place and 3rd, and Coventry A 3rd with a 2nd and 7th place.

Top of the intermediates was Oxford Brookes C with that all important race win and a 10th, with Heriot Watt A finishing 2nd (4th and 16th) and Warwick B in 3rd (9th and 14th).

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With the results in, after Rounds 3 & 4 and their consistently high round finishes, Coventry A remain top of the table, 9 points clear of Oxford Brookes A in 2nd place, who jumped Huddersfield A after that critical Round 4 win.

Heriot Watt A lead the intermediates table with 243 points (9th overall), ahead of Cambridge A on 238 points (12th overall) and Oxford Brookes C with 222 points (19th overall).

In the Rookies championship the next day (in dry conditions!), King’s College A finished top with two race wins and a 2nd place, a dominant performance by the Londoners. UWE C finishing in 2nd place with two 2nd places and a 3rd, and Bristol A in 3rd (2nd, 3rd and 5th place). However with their Round 1 win and finishing 4th in Round 2, Liverpool A remained narrowly on the top of the table, tied on points with Bristol A. Surrey A moved up to 3rd place after finishing 5th in round 2.

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Olly Smith

The 2016 BUKC season moves on now to its northern round – Warden Law in Sunderland, a fast, flowing track that suits Club100 karts perfectly and should provide some superb racing when we return in just under three weeks time, on the 9/10th March. Night out on the Toon anyone?!

You can follow live coverage from the BUKC 2016 season via live timing & commentary (http://bukc.co.uk/results/live) and on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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BUKC: Buckmore Park – Race Report

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Three test days, two intense days of qualifying, and a whole lot of waiting. But no more. Entering its 15th year (and now a moody teenager), the 2016 British Universities Karting Championship season kicked off on the 3rd February at Buckmore Park Kart Circuit in Kent.

Three test days, two intense days of qualifying, and a whole lot of waiting. But no more. Entering its 15th year (and now a moody teenager), the 2016 British Universities Karting Championship season kicked off on the 3rd February at Buckmore Park Kart Circuit in Kent.

The early morning start is never agreeable with the Students, but that smell of 2-stroke is enough to awaken even the heaviest sleeper; that and a large mug of coffee from the Buckmore cafe anyway.

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With the weather, amazingly enough, looking favourable for the day’s racing, after the drivers briefing it was time. The karts were ready, the drivers set, and with the voice of the BUKC (our commentator for this season, ex-Birmingham driver Andrew Mather) talking us through proceedings…the 2016 season starts now!

Round 1 consists of Sprint racing – six straight 25 minute races from flag to flag. Teams compete in four of the sprints (one per driver) with the lowest race finish dropped.

Race 1 begun with Leeds A’s Matt Hirst capitalising on his high grid slot to take the lead early on, and then proceed to drive away from the rest of the field – with only UCL A managing to stay in touch throughout. After some scary moments navigating the maze of back-markers, Matt managed to hold onto his lead and with the sun beginning to shine across the circuit, crossed the line 6.3s ahead of 2nd placed UCL A, who finished a further 6s ahead of Coventry A’s Joe Charlton.

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York A’s James Ludlum managed to hold onto his pole position as they crossed the line to start Race 2, but it was Kingston’s Rogan Lungley that managed to come from 5th place to lead the race as they approached the chequered flag; to be denied on the final corner of the last lap by Bath A who stole victory by just 0.4s. York A held onto the 3rd place to pick up some valuable points and hold off a charging James Lambton who had climbed 15 places up the grid to be denied a podium.

Race 3 saw a BUKC first – and it was a long time coming. Cambridge A led the field from pole but a first corner pileup saw a big shakeup in the order – and after some fantastic racing it was a two-way battle between reigning champions Huddersfield A and Scottish university Heriot-Watt A for the win. We may have spoilt the ending a little bit, but with 10 mins to go and Heriot-Watt A’s Scott Beattie in the lead and holding off Huddersfield, it was looking good. There were some nervy Scots in the stands as the chequered flag came out and it was Scott that took it, to give Heriot Watt their first EVER win in the BUKC – and the first ever win for a Scottish University in the main championship as well!

First ever scottish win in the BUKC for Herriot Watt A Scott Beattie
First ever scottish win in the BUKC for Herriot Watt A Scott Beattie

Loughborough A and Newcastle A’s James DeHavillande put on a show in Race 4, both climbing from low grid slots (12th and more impressively, 26th respectively) to steal the top two spots from Hertfordshire A’s Sam Spinnael as commentators curse struck and the almost-inevitable rain began to fall at Buckmore Park. Birmingham A’s Club100 veteran Rhianna Purcocks looked set to take the win but an unfortunate black flag robbed her of victory, paving the way for Loughborough A to cross the line first with Newcastle A 2nd, and pole-man Sam from Hertfordshire A finishing 3rd.

To avoid any confusion, this year Oxford’s C team were assigned the coveted #69 plate. So, naturally, their A team decided to run under the guise of the C team for maximum, er, effect. The motivation was clearly working for their captain Callum Hughes though, as he started 18th on the grid for Race 5 and took the chequered flag after practically driving through and then away from the rest of the field, with the fastest lap by two tenths in the process. He finished 8.4s ahead of Scots UWS A, with Coventry A’s Colin Fox finishing a further 2s back, immediately ahead of their B team.

Close racing edit

The final sprint race of Round 1 began with a terribly unlucky start for Leeds Beckett’s BTCC driver Max Coates, who was taken out at the first hairpin during a scrappy start in the slippery conditions. A great start for Swansea A meant they lead the race and the halfway point, but they could do nothing to hold off an unbelievably impressive Shaun Arnold from Huddersfield A, who had stormed through the field from 23rd place, and was lighting up the timing screens with fast lap after fast lap as he caught the leaders up by half a second a lap. With just one lap left and up into 2nd place, could he take victory? This time, sadly not – but with a 0.044s margin between him and Brunel A’s Cam Walton (roughly half a kart length?) it couldn’t really have been much closer! Absolutely fantastic racing.

With that all important race win (and a 4th and 5th place), it was Oxford C (read: A team) that came out on top with 173 points, beating reigning champions Huddersfield A by just two points. Coventry A tied on points with Huddersfield, but with the Yorkshire team securing two 2nd paces, they had to settle for 3rd place.

Newcastle A came out top of the Intermediate teams (5th overall) with a 2nd, 6th and 10th place, with Swansea A 2nd (8th overall) and Cambridge A 3rd (10th overall).

Sprint Race 1 - Leeds A Matt Hirst
Sprint Race 1 – Leeds A Matt Hirst

After a short kart-fettling/lunch break, and with the weather holding off after the earlier rain showers, it was time for Round 2 – the endurances races. Each team competes in two 1-hour endurances races, contested by 2 drivers per race. Two mandatory fuel stops add an element of strategy to the races, as teams have to time their stops within the pit windows to ensure they complete them as quickly as possible. With multiple strategy options, it takes great team work to come out on top at the chequered flag.

Enduro 1 begun with UWS leading until being black-flagged for pit-lane speeding (naughty naughty!) and with the sun shining bright it was York A that inherited the lead ahead of Loughborough A – but having not pitted yet. At the second of two mandatory pit stops, a flurry of action saw UCLan’s B team come out on top. UCLan are new to the championship this season and after an impressive showing at the qualifiers (qualifying two teams into the main championship at the first attempt!) were proving equally strong opponents during the first race day of the new season.

Loughborough A recovered to 4th late on in the race and were looking strong but a stroke of bad luck hit, as mechanical failure ended their hopes of victory. At the chequered flag it was Oxford Brookes A that won the first endurance race (and their first race of the season) with Heriot Watt A an impressive 2nd and Huddersfield A in 3rd after another superb drive by the Yorkshire team.

Round 1 podium
Round 1 podium

Oxford C’s (A’s…) strong day continued as they took victory in Enduro 2, holding off their local rivals Oxford Brookes C and UK rivals Cambridge A. Birmingham’s A team finished well, gaining 16 places to finish in 6th after some superb pitstops and solid driving by the pair.

The final race of the day begun with the sun beginning to set and a chilly track bringing a new challenge to the drivers. Brunel A capitalised on the conditions that were beginning to catch out some of the drivers, with an impressive drive from the very back of the grid to take the chequered flag by 1.7s ahead of 2nd placed Oxford Brookes A. Leeds Beckett A finished on the final step of the podium a further 2s back, an extremely tight margin after the full hour of racing!

Just like that, the day’s racing was complete! A strong team performance from Oxford Brookes A saw them take the top spot for Round 2 with the 1st and 2nd place finishes, With Coventry A finishing 2nd with a 4th and 5th place, tied on points (with identical finishes!) with UCLan B – who unfortunately had to settle for 3rd place as it was decided on fastest lap time!

Round 2 podium
Round 2 podium

Cambridge A finished on top in the Intermediate class with a 2nd and a 11th place finish (5th overall), with Leeds A in 2nd (12th overall) with a 9th and a 16th place. Heriot Watt A came 3rd after their strong 2nd place finish made up for a bad final race 26th place finish.

After Rounds 1 & 2, Coventry A are sitting at the top of the table after their strong performances in both rounds and in November’s qualifying, with last years’ runners up Oxford Brookes A in 2nd, and reigning champions Huddersfield A in 3rd. A reversal of last years 1, 2, 3 finishing positions!

Rookies round 1 podium edit

Cambridge A lead the Intermediates table (8th overall) after two equally superb performances, with Swansea A in 2nd place (15th overall) and Heriot Watt A 3rd (18th overall).

In the Rookies class the next day, Liverpool A took victory with two race wins and a 5th place, with Bristol A finishing 2nd (1st, 5th and 6th) and Cambridge B finishing 3rd (3rd, 3rd and 6th).

Missing the action already? Not to worry – we’re back on the 17th and 18th February (just under two weeks away!) for Rounds 3 & 4 and Rookies Round 2 of the #BUKC2016 from Llandow Circuit in Wales. See you then!

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