Monday, May 10, 2004

BUKC 2004 Test day - Rye House

Patrick Nicholls
Venue, Rye House Raceway, Hertfordshire
Event Date: Wednesday 26th November

Oxford’s karting team recently took part in a test day for the British University Karting Championship (BUKC) at Rye House in Hertfordshire. The test, compulsory for new drivers to the series, is an extremely useful practice for when the drivers are let loose in the karts for the championship – which uses karts capable of 85mph and 0-60 in 4 seconds. As if that wasn’t tough enough, thirty other universities will be competing, including several professional racing drivers, and the series is held at the best circuits across the country. Thus it is vital for the teams to get in some experience at the test day.

When the team got to the circuit, it became clear that the day would be quite a challenge. Rain was falling heavily and there were large lakes all over the track, and bogs forming off it! The rain continued to fall for the first couple of hours of the session, which meant that plenty of the teams present encountered problems, with many spins and accidents occurring as drivers lost control of their vehicles in the tricky conditions - at one stage there was a massive pileup involving 15 karts. However Oxford’s Adam Craig seemed very happy with the monsoon-like conditions, posting what was at the time the 5th quickest time of the 35 teams racing.

OUMDC Karting Secretary Tom Gibson, trying out the quick TKM karts for the first time, put in some consistent laps and concentrated hard on building up his experience, along with the other Oxford BUKC newcomers Dave Glanville, James Bueno and Julian Tse, and James Brown who had raced in last year’s BUKC with some success.

As the session wore on, the sun finally appeared and gradually spread across the circuit, bringing some welcome relief to the drivers who by now were completely soaked. However it also made the track incredibly unpredictable as parts of it dried out and others stayed wet and full of puddles which unsettle the karts. Lap times tumbled all around and James Brown put in Oxford’s quickest lap of the day, closely followed by Julian Tse and Adam Craig (who lost out due to having all his time in the kart when it was still very wet).

Unfortunately at the end of the day Oxford wound up near the bottom of the timesheets, but due to the rather random nature of the weather are still hopeful of putting in a good performance in next year’s championship races.

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