iON – Partner of the BUKC 2016 Finals
iON – Partner of the #BUKC2016 Finals
Author: Mike Tew
Photography: Stu Stretton Photography (www.stustretton.com)
1st – 3rd April 2016 | Clay Pigeon Kart circuit, Dorset
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.
And 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 awards & party! With iON providing some fantastic prizes for this years awards winners, everyone was excited to get down to the day’s action.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Everyone thought captain Joe Charlton was double stinting – he pitted for what looked like their final stop and then re-emerged 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!
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 at 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 were 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.
Fortunately for the Scots, their earlier rounds were just enough. By 1 point!
BUKC 2016 Top three were as follows:
1st: Heriot-Watt A, 347 points (12th overall)
2nd: Oxford Brookes C, 346 points (13th overall)
3rd: Cambridge A, 338 points (17th overall)
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?
As is tradition, once the main championship has come to a conclusion it was time for the hotly awaiting BUKC Awards! iON were sponsoring some incredible prizes for some of the top categories this year. Congratulations to this year’s winners!
Male Driver of the Year
Callum Hughes – Oxford
Newcomer of the Year
Taylor Adams – University of Wales Trinity St David
Best Media Team
Best Road Trip/Highlights video
Dom Tranquille – Brighton
The BUKC (www.BUKC.co.uk) would like to thank iON for their generous support for the annual #BUKC2016 awards and look forward to welcoming back teams later this year from universities from across the UK for the 2017 season – starting with the Qualifiers in November.