Monday, May 10, 2004

BUKC 2004 Rounds 5 & 6 Report

BUKC 2004 Round 5 & 6 Report
Event Date: April 23rd 2004
Event Venue: Clay Pigeon, Dorset
Patrick Nicholls, Hertford College

Oxford’s karting team completed a comprehensive victory over Cambridge in the final two rounds of the British University Karting Championship at the ultra-fast Clay Pigeon circuit in Dorset. They produced their best ever driving at exactly the right time and overcame a substantial points deficit to the Tabs after the previous rounds.

The Clay Pigeon circuit is the fastest on the calendar, with the karts flying along at 85mph for much of the lap and contains several flat-out corners that are exhilarating to drive. With 43 teams trying to get the best possible result for their universities, the action was sure to be frantic and with no cloud and baking hot sunshine, the day was perfect for fast kart racing.

This writer was first up in one of four individual 30-minute races that made up Round 5 of the series. A very fast and extremely consistent performance resulted in a 9th place finish, showing some professionals the way around the track. Adam Craig took 18th in his race after being penalized for knocking a marker cone onto the track, and Marcus Haggers 22nd after spinning immediately after exiting the pitlane from his fuel stop. James Brown’s race was virtually over at the first corner – he spun off and by the time he got back going again was two laps behind, winding up 26th. However Cambridge were way behind, with two of their drivers languishing in lowly mid-thirties positions.

For Round 6, consisting of two 1-hour endurance races for pairs of drivers, Oxford still needed to beat Cambridge by a significant margin to ensure overall victory over them. Haggers and Brown started from last place on the randomly generated grid, and overcome an early spin with some truly amazing driving, slashing their way relentlessly through the field en route to a 13th place finish. The other two drivers then got ready for the final race of the season, with Cambridge still mathematically in with a chance due to the complex points system. The Oxford drivers put in a flawless performance, barely putting a wheel wrong and mixing it with the overall title contenders, eventually finishing 8th. Cambridge seemed to gradually work their way backwards, finally spinning off in frustration.

For the whole season then, Oxford beat Cambridge in 5 out of 6 rounds and the Tabs were only kept in the hunt by Oxford’s points deduction and a bizarre scoring system. After Cambridge Karting Secretary Nikos Darzentas’s comments that “we’ll have you for breakfast”, they were forced to put those words on a plate and eat them. Cambridge were curiously absent from the end-of-season podium celebrations attended by all the other teams – presumably too sore from all the losing…

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