York’s Karting teams put in a decent performance in the final three rounds of the British Uni Karting Championships to take its best placed finish for three years.
The final three rounds for the BUKC were split across two racedays, the first being a usual two-round raceday at Buckmore Park circuit in Kent, with the final round at Llandow circuit in South Wales. Going into the final three rounds, York A were placed in 30th, with York B in the 47th place.
Rounds 7 and 8: Buckmore Park
For Buckmore Park, the A team had ever-presents Dan Ryan, Michael O’Neill and Andy Carpenter, joined by club President Sophie Cockman. Whilst the B team had Daniel Maddox, Sam Welch, Bleddyn Raw-Rees and Andy Gilmore, as the team made the long journeys from all over the country to meet in Kent.
Conditions were initially very wet and with the team very inexperienced in these conditions, both Carpenter and Welch found it difficult on the first race of the day, spinning off and taking 26th and 31st finishes. Cockman was York’s only representative in the next race, starting 32nd and producing a clean race as the rain continued to fall, finishing 21st. In the third race of the day, Gilmore took the B team’s best grid slot, starting 6th, and took an impressive 19th place as he continued his promising first season in BUKC. Next up, Raw-Rees took part in his first ever BUKC race, respectably maintaining his 30th grid place.
As the morning moved towards it end, the weather improved – leading to drying track conditions – with O’Neill starting in 3rd place at his local circuit. Despite a brilliant start, which saw O’Neill move up to 2nd, he was taken out by a rival out-braking himself and punting O’Neill off. He did however recover well, finishing 21st. Into the final race of the morning, Ryan continued his good BUKC form, finishing in the team’s best place of 17th, with Maddox unlucky in finishing 29th.
Into the afternoon and there were finally dry conditions for the team races; for the A team, Cockman and Ryan were first out, starting 11th, and despite a good start, two black flags (meaning stop-go penalties) cost the team precious time and ended their hopes of a top 20 finish – ultimately ending up 25th. Also out for the A team, O’Neill and Carpenter started 25th, O’Neill taking the first stint and recovering from an early incident to get the team to 15th by the first stop. Carpenter maintained the 15th place during his stint, and despite the team’s late pitstop, O’Neill did well as they finished 20th. For the B team, Raw-Rees and Gilmore took a good 27th finish, as they both showed encouraging signs of promise for next year’s BUKC championships. Whilst Maddox and Welch also did well, enjoying the dry conditions and finishing 25th in their race.
Round 9: Llandow
The final round of the championships was held at Llandow circuit in a very sunny South Wales, with the teams just taking part in the solo races. Going into the final round, York A were agonisingly just one point ahead of local rivals Durham, meaning they had to just match Durham’s results to finish above them. York A had Michael O’Neill and Jamie Garside alongside Sophie Cockman and Andy Carpenter taking part in their final race before graduating. Whilst the B team had Bleddyn Raw-Rees, Sam Welch, Alex Maunders and Daniel Maddox, who was also representing York for the final time.
For the A team, Garside did well in the opening race, holding a top 25 position, only to get a black flag on the last lap, costing him seven places, and demoting him to 28th. Next out, O’Neill started 30th, but put in one of his best performances to get him to a 18th place finish, In the meantime Durham had a 31st and 10th place finish, meaning York were just behind their rivals. Cockman was out for the A team in their third race, starting 5th but suffering an unfortunate spin, leading to a 23rd finish, however she was still five places ahead of Durham, meaning York A had to beat Durham by four places in the final race of the day.
Carpenter was out for the A team, and despite a poor start, was only one place behind the Durham driver after five minutes of the 25, but unfortunately couldn’t overtake him, leading to a 15th place finish, whilst Durham overtook a couple of people on the last lap to take a 12th place. This all meant Durham had just overtaken York in the final round of the season; this had Durham in 31st place, with York A in 32nd place.
Meanwhile, for the B team, Raw-Rees finished a decent 28th from a difficult 24th grid slot. Maunders then produced one of the best performances of the day, improving from a 29th place grid to get a 16th place finish – very promising signs from a potential A team driver next season. Next out for the B team, former president Daniel Maddox ended his BUKC racing with his best performance, starting 6th, and battling well to finish in York’s best result of the day in 13th position. Last out for the B team, Welch had a brilliant start, at one point in the top 15, but an unfortunate spin dropped him back to 27th. This all resulted in York B finishing ahead of York A for the final raceday, with the team finishing 47th overall for the championship, a four place improvement on last year.
Overall for the championship, despite not achieving the ambitious target of a top 25 finish, York A finished in their best championship position for three years, and improved on last year by two places, even finishing ahead of Oxford University, who finished 17th last year. Meanwhile York’s ability to get two teams to each raceday has meant much more experience to new drivers, so hopefully new drivers Gilmore, Maunders, Malkinson and Raw-Rees will join O’Neill, Garside, Welch and Ryan in very strong teams for next year.