Monday, May 10, 2004

BUKC 2004 Round 2 Report

BUKC 2004 Round 2 Report
Event Date: March 3rd 2004
Event Venue: Rye House, Hertfordshire
Patrick Nicholls, Hertford College

Oxford’s karting team endured a rough ride at the second round of the British University Karting Championship (BUKC) at Rye House in Hertfordshire. As with the opening round in Kent, the racing promised better results for the team than it delivered due to some silly mistakes by the drivers.

The circuit is mostly tight and twisty, but with a long main straight - allowing the karts to reach almost 80mph - and virtually flat-out opening corner there is some variety to the layout. The circuit is very narrow, and negotiating traffic carefully and staying out of trouble would be the key to a good race. Each driver in the four-person team has to do a 30 minute race with one compulsory fuel stop.

This writer was up first, and started from 31st on the grid with plenty to do. Places were made up in the frantic action, with several of the country’s best racers out on track, but the race was ruined by a needless collision and penalty which brought an eventual result of 23rd, rather than the anticipated top 15 finish. However, Cambridge’s Ben Evans, by far their best driver, could only manage 20th.

Tom Gibson raced next, starting from 5th, and held his own in 7th against many better-known drivers until he too was involved in a rather reckless accident which resulted in him knocking another driver off the circuit and another stop-go penalty in the pits costing a lot of time – he finished 23rd too. Rajiv Mulchandani suffered a couple of spins in his race, including one at the first corner, but otherwise put in a good showing to come in 24th after starting 32nd.

Adam Craig went in the day’s last race, and started from third on the grid. He got ahead of Super 1 Karting champion Phil Ingram of Leeds (one of the series’ very best drivers) and held his own in second place for much of the race. After his pitstop, he remained there until again becoming involved in a collision and being penalized with the inevitable black flag. This cost him almost exactly a lap, with him ironically coming out right behind Ingram and shadowing him for the remainder of the race – a sign of what might have been. He finished 15th.

The team placed 30th/40 overall, again significantly ahead of Cambridge despite all the penalties given out. The series heads to Warden Law in Sunderland in three weeks time, where a much better result is definitely up for grabs if the team can keep out of trouble.

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