The 2011 BUKC season consisted of 9 rounds.
- Rounds 1 & 2 – Teesside Autodrome – 16/02/11
- Rounds 3 & 4 – Buckmore Park – 02/03/11
- Rounds 5 & 6 – Llandow – 13/03/11
- Rounds 7 & 8 – Clay Pigeon – 30/03/11
- Round 9 (+ drivers champ) – Whilton Mill – 12/04/11
Birmingham A-team (kart number 19) finished the season in 24th position with 273 points.
Birmingham B-team (kart number 45) finished the season in 52nd position with 84 points.
The 2011 BUKC Birmingham team. Graham Kirkby, Emma Matthews, Dipesh Chudasama, Jack Kilkenny, Dan James, Jin Lei Shang
Though no overall report for this season exists, there are some detailed reports for rounds 3-6, which were written at the time by Jack Nicholls. These reports appeared in Redbrick.
Rounds 3 & 4 – Buckmore Park
Rounds three and four of the 2011 British University Karting Championships took place on the 2nd March at Buckmore Park in Kent. The track is best known for being the circuit where Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton was first spotted by McLaren back in 1996.
A team of seven drivers formed the two teams entered by the University of Birmingham that would take on 54 other University teams and on a bitterly cold dayon the North Sea coast, the team returned with some impressive results. Round three consisted of four 25 minute races, with the best three results scoring points. The first race saw Jin Shang start 13th out of 36 drivers and after an impressive opening lap that saw him move into the top ten, an unfortunate incident saw him drop back down to 33rd place. He plugged away for the remaining 28 laps and managed to haul himself back up to 25th position at the chequered flag.
The next race was to be one of Birmingham’s most impressive of the day. Regular karter Jack Kilkenny started 4th on the grid, a position he held for much of the race before the Oxford Brookes team were black flagged, promoting Kilkenny into 3rd position just three laps for the end. He was able to hold on to take Birmingham’s best result of the season so far. Liam Doran took 24th place in the next race, with team captain Dan James producing a solid drive in the final race of the morning to finish 13th. Once the scores were tallied, Birmingham A finished in 22nd position, with Birmingham B (consisting of Dipesh Cudasama, Emma Matthews, Jack Nicholls and Graham Kirkby) finished 52nd.
The afternoon consisted of two endurance races for the team. The races were one hour long, split between two drivers and each team had to make two stops for fuel. Shang and Doran teamed up, finishing 25th at the end of the first race. Kilkenny and James were the team for the final race of the day as the daylight faded and the circuit’s floodlights were turned on. This caused visibility problems for the drivers, which meant that Dan James was unable to see the pitboard, making his final fuel stop after the allowed pit window. This led to a black flag and a 9th place finish, after running comfortably all race in the top five. The results meant that Birmingham A finished 24th in Round four, with Birmingham B finishing 53rd. The next rounds are at Llandow in Wales later this month.
Rounds 5 & 6 – Llandow
A strong performance from Birmingham in rounds five and six of the British University Karting Championship saw them move up to 22nd in the overall standings. The Llandow circuit in South Wales was the scene for a very successful days racing, as the team attempted to keep up the momentum gained last time out at Buckmore Park.
On a dry, sunny day, Graham Kirkby got the sprint races underway for the A team, driving a clean race to finish in 22nd position. Jin Shang was next out, and despite reaching a position of 25th early on, he ultimately finished the 25-minute race in 31st place. The next race would see Birmingham pick up their best result of the season, thanks to Dan James. He managed to turn a sixth place starting position into a second place finish, holding off the attention of the Southampton and Loughborough teams. The final race of the morning brought disappointment for Jack Kilkenny, as he lost the back end of the kart coming into the tight sequence of corners before the end of the lap, while under pressure from Loughborough for eighth position. As a result he dropped down to 32nd place, but a spirited fight back saw him climb up to 19th position at the chequered flag, giving Birmingham a 25th place finish overall in round five. The highlight of the morning for the Birmingham B team was a very respectable 15th place finish for Dipesh Chudasama, which helped him and his team-mates Andrew Davidson, Alex Thornton and Matt Ratcliffe to a 45th place finish overall.
Round six took the form of two separate hour-long endurance races, requiring a mandatory driver change. Shang and Kirkby teamed up for race one, and their consistency led them to a 25th place finish. As at Buckmore, Kilkenny and James drove an excellent race to finish in fourth position at the end of their one hour race, which meant that Birmingham A were classified with a 19th place finish for round six. Birmingham B took a 34th place courtesy of Thornton and Ratcliffe in race one, and when Chudasama and Davidson were behind the wheel they finished 33rd in race two, narrowly ahead of rivals Aston University.
Birmingham A finished 19th at the end of the 2010 season, and with strong performances like this it’s more than possible they can match and even eclipse that result come the end of the season. The next races will take place at Jenson Button’s home track of Clay Pigeon on 30 March, and promises to be another exciting day’s karting with Brum looking to continue their improvement.