York’s two karting teams were left rueing misfortune, missed opportunities and indiscipline in the first two rounds of the British Uni Karting Championships (BUKC) at Whilton Mill this week.
After a disappointing season last season, the York teams were in optimistic mood as they arrived in Northamptonshire, with hopes of a top 25 finish in the highly competitive championships. The strength of the squad was emphasised with both BUKC Captain Andy Carpenter and three-time club Ironman winner Jamie Garside settling for drives in the B team.
The raceday at Whilton Mill is split into two rounds; the first round involves 25 minute individual sprint races, with each team member taking part in one. This is followed by the second round, where each team is split into two pairings and they work together in an hour-long relay race.
With track conditions damp and icy, experienced drivers Dan Ryan (A) and Andy Carpenter (B) took to the track in the first race of the day, starting 28th and 27th respectively. Ryan was unfortunately taken out in the first corner mêlée, but recovered to a respectable 22nd place finish. Carpenter, however, avoided incidents and took advantage of other teams crashing out to take a personal best finish of 15th, York’s best individual result of the day.
In the second race, Gonçalo Magalhaes (A) made use of the improving track conditions to get an impressive 18th place, whilst Sam Welch (B) struggled in his first ever race at Whilton Mill taking 33rd place, particularly hindered by a ten second stop-go penalty for advantage by contact.
Onto the next race, and a light rain shower made conditions once again difficult. Tony Tong (B) failed to utilise an eighth place grid slot, suffering from a lack of recent Club 100 practice, and being penalised by a ten second stop-go penalty for spinning under yellow flags, to take a frustrating 35th place. (Club 100 are the karts used in BUKC, and much more powerful than ones we use every week). Whilst Alex Maunders (A) recovered from an early spin to take 27th place in the challenging conditions.
By the time of York’s final race in the first round, the track had once again dried out, and the team were hopeful of a good result, with two of the club’s best drivers in Mike O’Neill (A) and Jamie Garside (B) both starting inside the top ten. Whilst Garside made it through the first corner unscathed, O’Neill was not so lucky, getting nudged from behind, causing him to spin and to the back of the pack. With Garside in a good top twelve position, he then pushed too hard, and span off, condemning himself to a 19th place finish. O’Neill responded well to his early misfortune, to take a solid 22nd place.
At the end of the first round, York A were in 38th place, narrowly ahead of York B in 41st place (out of 53). Jamie Garside had York’s fastest lap of the morning, a 58.03 second lap.
After the disappointment of the first round, York A produced a much better performance in the afternoon team races. Ryan and Magalhaes teamed up first, achieving a good 18th place finish. However, this could have been so much better as both drivers put in brilliant stints, and had the pace to finish in the top five, but were taken out by other teams on three occasions, and also penalised by a ten second stop-go penalty for Magalhaes’ chin strap coming undone on his crash helmet.
The A team’s second team race resulted in an impressive 14th finish for O’Neill and Maunders, although yet again this would have been better, if it wasn’t for another team spinning in front of Maunders on the first lap.
For the B team, Welch and Tong achieved a decent 27th finish as they were penalised by spinning off and yet another stop-go penalty, this time for failing to apply the brake whilst in a spin.
With daylight fading, York B took part in the final race of the day. Garside and Carpenter were at one point as high as 20th after a typically solid stint by the captain, but Garside was unlucky as he failed to see a yellow flag in the low light, and was penalised by a ten seconds stop-go penalty for not slowing under yellows. This gave the team another decent 27th place finish.
Overall for the second round, York A finished in a very good 22nd place, whilst York B settled for 42nd. An in-form Magalhaes with York’s fastest lap of the round (and day) with a 56.43 lap.
This left York A in 31st place and York B in 43rd place after two rounds. Frustrating results, but with only the best seven of nine rounds counting, there is plenty of time for York to build on the positives, and turn around their fortunes in the BUKC this year.
The next two BUKC rounds are at Rye House on the 3rd March.