Arrive and Drive column – January

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2017 is well and truly underway, and what a year of A&D karting we have ahead of us. With new tracks for DMAX, new formats in Club100, new prices, and much more of the same awesome karting we keep coming back for.

DMAX

DMAX have recorded record entries for their first round at Milton Keynes on the 19th February with over 60 people signed up already. The 2017 DMAX championship is going to be one of the biggest and best ever.

Club100

Club100 are back with the Lightweight, Heavyweight, and Elite sprints, and due to demand 2017 sees the return of the Clubman sprints. For the teams, there are the Premier, Clubman, and Intermediate endurances catering for all abilities, plus the 60-minute challenge. Not forgetting Club100 have introduced the brand-new quadrant series where teams of 1-4 drivers race in four 25-minute races. With so much choice there’s bound to be a series for you.

BPKDC

Buckmore Park are still pushing forward after winning Karting magazine’s circuit of the year and have announced they are holding two ‘Extreme’ championships with the BP Extreme Solo and BP Extreme Team events held over four rounds in the summer months. Buckmore have also lowered the prices of their main solo events, find out more here.

BUKC

bukc2017-buckmore-lap-1-carnage

Rounds 1 and 2 of the BUKC were held at 2016 circuit of the year, Buckmore Park on the 1st and 2nd of February with over 200 students competing in Club100’s karts. With racing very wet on the 1st for the Premier and intermediate classes. Loughborough A took victory in the round 1 sprints being the only team to take 2 wins, one each for Darryl Evans and Piers Prior. Wins also for Nottingham, Hertfordshire, Liverpool, and Reading A’s.

bukc2017-buckmore-r1-podium

Round 2’s endurances were equally as wet, this time Oxford Brookes A, C, and Hertfordshire A took victories. Hertfordshire A’s win in race 3 was Sam Spinnael’s 4th win in as many races in the BUKC, an un-blemished record, can he continue that for the rest of the season?

bukc2017-buckmore-leaning-tower-of-belgium-sam-spinael-garda

The championship stands with Oxford Brookes A & C first and third split by Loughborough A, with Nottingham A close behind split by only 5 points. However, with dropped rounds to come as the championship progresses it is likely some teams will shoot up the leader board.

bukc2017-buckmore-cafe-night-duo

In the Inters, Liverpool have a small buffer to Warwick B and Leeds Beckett A

For a full report visit the BUKC website

Thanks must go to ‘Mr Karting’ Stu Stretton for the great pics above, many more can be viewed on the BUKC Facebook page.

NKL

Whilton Mill NKL is back again this year and entries are filling up fast! 20 entries were received within 2 days of opening. With the first round on March 6th and will be streamed live on their YouTube channel. For more info and entry info visit http://www.nkleague.co.uk/nkl/

Covkartsport

Covkartsport’s winter series is underway with round 1 at Daytona Tamworth taking place at the end of January. Round 2 Whilton Mill will take place on the 19th of February. The series is traveling far and wide and will provide great racing.

British Rental Kart Championship 2017

Karting magazine caught up with BRKC series organiser and VLN racer Bradley Philpot after the 2017 BRKC held at Formula Fast indoor karting, Milton Keynes.

“Karting Magazine: The BRKC is now one of the biggest events in A&D karting in the UK, and is recognised all over the world as is evident by the number of foreign drivers, what makes it so attractive?

Bradley Philpot: I think BRKC is now recognised as having a particularly high level of competition, and rather than putting drivers off, I believe they want to test themselves against the best in the World. Drivers also see the level of effort that the host circuit put into performance equalising the karts. But we could talk about the TV coverage, huge prizes, the list goes on. I would like to think it’s the entire package that attracts drivers.

KM: What prompted you to start the event in the first place, and how has it evolved?

BP: Myself and James Auld (now the BRKC’s commentator) were looking for a high level rental kart series in the UK that was similar in nature to the Kart World Championship (formerly Indoor Kart World Championship). We couldn’t find anything that contained everything we wanted, so I decided to set something up myself.

BRKC2017 hairpin 1

KM: Many other karting and motorsport series have been struggling for interest and entries in recent times, yet the BRKC sells out every year and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, what do you think sets it apart from other championships in this regard?

BP: The fact that we do our best to improve upon what is already a deliberately very fair series each year is obvious to the competitors. We believe that affordability, prestige and fairness shouldn’t all be mutually exclusive terms in karting. People don’t simply come to race either, as actually watching the races you aren’t competing in is extremely interesting too. The strategic element with the laser pitstop system is also unique to BRKC. Having to outfox your opponents not just in terms of speed, but with a superior strategy adds to the drama and the entertainment value of the series, and keeps drivers wanting more.

KM: The event has been running for seven years now and just gets better every year, what have you and the Formula Fast team been doing to keep it fresh and exiting for the drivers?

BP: Each year we have a huge debrief about what worked well and what could have been better. Phil and Ollie at Formula Fast love to use BRKC as a showcase for how fantastic their kart circuit is, and every year they demonstrate brilliantly that this is the case. We try to add extra elements each year which genuinely add to the event, without including gimmicks. The laser pitstops for example, were an evolution of a previous system which contained a potential human error element from staff members. With the introduction of the lasers, the emphasis was entirely back on the drivers to get their pitstops right. Other factors like the increase in quality of the live streamed TV coverage, which is now close to F1 levels of professionalism by Scruffy Bear Pictures, also keeps drivers excited for the following season.

andrew-duff- BRKC2017 pitstop

KM: The BRKC is run over one weekend, and in January which is unusual, what was the decision behind this?

BP: We recognised early on that there are many rental kart series as well as car racing championships which run through the summer, and were extremely keen to avoid clashing with any of those. From my experience at the Kart World Championship, which is held over one week, a standalone event works well for this kind of format and allows us a full year to plan and perfect everything for the following event.  As the British National Qualifying Series for the KWC, we also consult with other NQS from across Europe to make sure the foreign drivers can compete at the events in each country without clashes. I think it works well and complements the other series in the UK and across Europe.

KM: Formula Fast Milton Keynes has hosted the event since 2014, despite its small size it seems to work well, what make this partnership so successful?

BP: The team at Formula Fast bring a certain skillset to BRKC, which allows me to focus on other elements like promotion without the distraction of taking payments for example. They are very experienced in running high quality events, and demonstrate that skill each year. In terms of the venue size, much like the Race of Champions which takes place in stadia around the world, Formula Fast’s arena-like circuit feels like just the right size for spectators to enjoy all the action, and drivers to enjoy driving the circuit. It helps that we also change the track during the weekend to give drivers an extra challenge with something new to learn.

jake-crofts-1 BRKC2017

KM: You race in the event, as well as organise it, what’s your favourite thing about taking part?

BP: There was a time a few years ago when I recognised that I needed to either organise or compete in order to do a good job of either of them. However since we have been hosted by Formula Fast, I haven’t needed to get involved in the running of the event during the weekend, which allows me to enjoy the weekend as a competitor. I think that also gives me a clear perspective of what can be improved and what works well from a driver’s eye view. My favourite thing about taking part is simply how hard it is to do well. You have to dig so deep to beat the best drivers from around Europe, so any success you have tastes all the sweeter for it.

bradley-philpot-12 BRKC2017

KM: It is widely regarded as one of the most competitive championships with some of the closest racing around, what makes it so tight? Moreover, considering how tough it is, how has a certain Ruben Boutens managed to walk away with victory 4 years running?

BP: Firstly, the quality of the drivers and the closeness of the kart performance makes it so tight. The best drivers truly take it very seriously, agonising over whether to remove 100 grams of lead from their seat insert before each race to get their weight just right, practicing in the days before the event, studying strategy among many other things. I think Ruben’s dominance of the championship for the last four years demonstrates that BRKC truly does allow the best driver to win. Ruben has simply been the best. He’s something special, having won the BRKC four times, as well as being reigning Dutch, Italian, Belgian and Polish rental kart champion. He was Red Bull Kart Fight Dutch Champion too. He’s been Vice World Champion three times now. Maybe this year he will finally go one better! Did I mention he runs and wins marathons for fun?

Ruben Boutens Winning BRKC2017

KM: Moreover, are there any drivers you’d like to have at the event who you think might be able to mix it with the big boys, like for instance Club100 champions Steve Brown, Joe Holmes, or Tom Golding?

BP: It would be great to have Steve Brown and Joe Holmes for sure. We always want the best drivers available and I do my best to extend a welcome to anyone who hasn’t tasted BRKC before. Tom Golding competed this year, narrowly missing out on the semi-finals. He had some bad luck and could have finished a little higher, but he worked hard over the weekend to dig into the specific style required to be fast on a slippery indoor circuit. Former FIA World Champion Colin Brown raced with us in 2016, also just missing out on the semi-finals. It’s brutal out there!

KM: Are there any exiting plans for the future?

BP: We always have exciting plans. I can’t divulge them fully now, but expect some more technology that hasn’t ever appeared in any other kart series in the world. I’ll leave it at that.

BRKC2016 train

KM: This all sounds great! How can people get involved next year?

BP: The best way is to join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/britishrentalkartchampionship/ and to register your interest at www.brkc.co.uk . Join in the conversation on Facebook, because the drivers are extremely helpful and friendly, and there’s always someone to answer your questions. Watch some of the footage of previous events at our YouTube channel BritishChampionship . That will show you how everything works.

KM: You are making moves in international car racing, most notably at the Nurburgring, what keeps you coming back to karting? Is there any advantage to your career in staying involved?

BP: I’ve always loved karting, and I genuinely think it helps keep you sharp. I’m embarking on a season with Peugeot in the brand new 308 TCR car in the VLN Series and I look around the grid at all the drivers who either never karted or have given it up, and I always feel like I have an advantage over those guys. It’s brilliant for fitness too. I wish I had time to do more of it.

BRKC2017 podium

KM: Finally, is there anyone else you’d like to thank who possibly helped with the event, or for any other reason?

BP: It’s dangerous to start mentioning people because I’m bound to forget someone, but aside from the track staff, James Auld (commentator) and Darren Cook (TV director) are both instrumental in making the event truly meaningful. They do such a brilliant job. But there are so many people behind the scenes who make BRKC what it is.

KM: Thanks a lot for your time Bradley and best of luck in with the event for next year, and also for the VLN.

Thank you to Slawek Piskorz for is great images, head over to his Facebook page or the BRKC Facebook group where all of the photos from the event are available

5 Things you need to know from BRKC 2017

-3 days racing held at Formula Fast indoor karting centre in Milton Keynes

-100 drivers from all over Europe

-£1000 cash prize

-Ruben Boutens wins 4th straight title

-Closest and most competitive A&D championship in the UK

The report of the final can be found here

Driver of The Month

There haven’t been many A&D events since the new year, the main exception being the BRKC, therefore we though it only right that the A&D driver of the month for January is…

Ruben Boutens!

Ruben Boutens BRKC2017 doty

Ruben has now won the event 4 years in a row, showing utter dominance every year. Furthermore he is unbeaten in any race (including heats and semi finals) in 13 races! Incredible. While there was no vote this month we didn’t think anyone would begrudge Ruben the crown for January 2017.

February’s driver of the month will return to the original format, feel free to get in touch on social media during February to suggest drivers for the shortlist. A winner will then be voted on by you at the end of the month.

 

Written by Piers Prior

 

Like this article? Read more Arrive and drive column’s here:

Arrive and drive column – December

Arrive and drive column – November

Arrive and drive column – October

Arrive and drive column – September

Arrive and drive column – August