As with most years in the BUKC nowadays, the 2022 season of the BUKC actually began in 2021 with the qualifiers round at Whilton Mill, where our performances would determine what Championship we'd be racing in. Birmingham fielded four teams with vastly different expectations for the season. Birmingham A would want nothing less than a top 3 finish in the hopes of building on their 7th place finish in the mains championship the previous year, while Birmingham D were realistically aiming to just quality...
The 2022 BUKC season consisted of 9 Main Championship rounds and 5 Intermediate Championship rounds.
Sunday Qualifier: Whilton Mill* – 20/11/21
Rounds 1 & 2: Buckmore Park – 08/02/22
Rounds 3 & 4: PFI– 16/02/22
Rounds 5 & 6: Shenington – 10/03/22
Rounds 7 & 8: Llandow – 01/04/22
Drivers Championship : Llandow – 03/04/22
Intermediate Round 1: Buckmore Park – 09/02/22
Intermediate Round 2: PFI – 17/02/22
Intermediate Round 3: Shenington – 11/03/22
Intermediate Round 4: Llandow – 02/04/22
*The Sunday qualifier retroactively acts as a round of the Main and Intermediate championships.
Birmingham A (kart number 7) finished in 13th position with 346 points.
Birmingham B (kart number 32) finished in 40th position with 215 points.
Birmingham C (kart number 37) finished in 17th in the Intermediate Championship.
Birmingham D (kart number 89) finished in 40th in the Intermediate Championship.
Josh White - BUKC Captain
Ben Boros - President
Max Wade - Vice-President
Nathan Styles - Media Officer
Aaron Johnson - Treasurer
Aaron Johnson - Treasurer
Ismaail Khoyrattee - Social Sec
The report for this season was written retroactively by Nathan Styles…
Team photo of all drivers at the Whilton Mill Qualifiers
Main Championship Report
Whilton Mill Qualifier
When you go to get a maccies breakfast and they tell you they're not serving breakfast yet, that's when you know it's a very early start...
Upon arrival to Whilton Mill, the atmosphere was electric and the grid was packed. Seriously the format for qualifiers had to change due to the amount of teams trying to qualify which in turn ended up removing the Rookies championship from the calendar.
Birmingham A made their intentions known early on with Josh and Ben qualifying in 5th, Sam qualifying 3rd and Rory qualifying on pole for their respective races. A rule which meant any warnings would result in the deletion of your fastest lap time (and so on) made it somewhat difficult for Birmingham B with Ethan qualifying in 11th, Nicole in 22nd, Tim in 27th and Max in 16th which raised some questions as to whether the team would be able to qualify for the premier class of the mains championship. Birmingham C were on track to almost match the performance of Birmingham B with Lukas and Hugo qualifying in 18th, Jamie doing well to qualify 16th and Ben was looking to improve on those positions but was excluded from the results due to being underweight, consigning him to the back of the grid for his race. Lastly, Birmingham D's goal of qualifying looked in doubt after Mark qualified 31st, Aaron 25th, Harry 17th and Edward 26th.
A day of mixed emotions at the Sunday Qualifier saw Birmingham C comfortably qualify for the Intermediate (formerly rookies) Championship, while Birmingham D managed to qualify by the skin of their teeth even after a dubious incident featuring Mark and Ismaail. Birmingham B had a trouble-free day and landed themselves in the Clubman class of the mains championship, while a race win by Rory, a 2nd place for Josh and 3rd place finishes for Ben and Sam saw Birmingham A claim 1st overall on the Sunday qualifiers day, an excellent start for their push for the championship.
Birmingham A on top of the podium
After strong testing performances, spirits were high for this round and Birmingham A looked to build on their impressive performance at Whilton Mill. Chinese Karting champion Fred made his debut for the A team and showed impressive pace to finish his races in P13 and P12. What the results fail to show is that Fred was taken out in both races and did extremely well to recover to those positions. Our president Ben started both his races in 3rd, finishing 7th in Round 1 and cruelly missing out on his first BUKC win by 2 tenths of a second after a thrilling battle with Sheffield A driver Ami Jerger. Our BUKC Captain Josh ended up being the dropped score for both rounds but who can blame him after starting at the back of the grid in both races. Meanwhile Rory did what Rory does best and went from 21st to 4th in Round 1, and 10th to 1st in Round 2 securing his second win of the season. Those results were enough to place Birmingham A in 11th overall for Round 1 and 3rd overall for Round 2. So while they were bringing home silverware, they had lost the lead of the championship due to a difficult Round 1.
Birmingham B featured the BUKC debut of Jack Finch who finished 22nd and 19th in Rounds 1 and 2 respectively. Jamie pulled off a blinder and managed to finished 13th after starting 14th in Round 1, leaving us wondering what happened to his pace that caused him to finish in 34th for Round 2 (we love you really Jamie). Ethan struggled here due to Buckmore not being the kindest to drivers over the weight limit and Harry did well in his first mains race finishing in 34th in Round 1 but seemingly turning into a different driver for Round 2 where he secured 16th. Overall these results were enough for Birmingham B to finish 31st overall in Round 1 and 37th in Round 2.
Birmingham A after finishing 3rd at Buckmore Park
Changing conditions were the hallmark of mains day at PFI. The track started out wet and began to dry throughout the third round but never fully dried. Some corners would be completely dry, others would feel like driving on ice and we saw this with countless drivers going off at the hairpins. The heavens opened in between Round 3 and 4 which saw lap times rise from 1:11s to 1:42s.
Round 3 was a sprint round with Round 4 being the dreaded endurance round which saw some questionable actions but more on that in a second. Fred lucked out and was starting from 2nd but wasn't able to hold on and dropped down to finish 21st in the end. A strong drive from Ben saw him gain a number of places to finish 2nd (still chasing his first BUKC win), while Josh - again starting from the back of the grid - climbed through the field and finished in 18th, with Rory coming home in 4th after gaining 20 positions in the race. This was enough to secure 9th overall for the A-team in Round 3 which is not what they would've wanted in their push for the championship. It was going to have to get a lot better for the endurance round...
Ben teamed up with Fred. Rory teamed up with Josh. For Ben and Fred's endurance race, Ben started off and was not happy with his kart and came in to change it. This dropped him down the field and left many of us wondering why he wouldn't ride it out but before we could do that, there was an issue with the kart's transponder. The timings were showing Birmingham A in 2nd but that couldn't be the case as we know he's at least a lap down. The lap times were matching the kart crossing the line but the position was definitely not accurate. Did we make a mistake? Was there an error in the system? It ended up not mattering anyway as Birmingham A got excluded from the race results due to Fred restarting on the grass which all but put an end to the chance of bringing home any silverware and severely damaged the championship push for the team. Things looked better in the 2nd race as Rory had pulled a 20 second lead before handing over the kart to Josh. There was seemingly no way we could lose from here except we didn't account for a regulatory loophole that allowed one driver on a different team to complete the whole race. The regulations state "A driver change must be made during one of the fuel stops." but without this rule being enforced, the knowledge of track conditions while Josh was getting up to speed allowed the gap to be closed and saw us finish 2nd. The exclusion from the race meant we would score 0 points for that first race so even after a 2nd place finish in race 2, the team finished 46th overall.
Birmingham B saw Hugo and Nathan make their Mains debuts with both of them performing very similarly. So similar that they both finished 28th in their sprint races, and later teamed up to finish 25th in the endurance round. Jamie had the misfortune of being in the first race of the day. Spinning in practice, spinning in the race, just a lot of spins really saw him finish 34th, while Ethan showed his experience and went from the back of the grid to 17th. They would later team up in the endurance round and finish 11th. Birmingham B secured 47th overall in Round 3 and 24th overall in Round 4.
Birmingham B driver Ethan tucking in on the start/finish straight at PFI
Unfortunately I missed this round due to a lovely experience with COVID so please refer to the official BUKC results here for an overview of this round.
I once again was absent from this round due to a field trip but managed to watch the live stream of the races. We won't talk about Round 7 for the A-team as it was a continuation of Shenington and PFI where the team did not do well in one of the two rounds, while doing well in the other round.
Round 8 started with Jack driving for the A-team and producing a phenomenal drive to go from 19th to 7th, which included an incredible move on a driver, capped off with the infamous tap of the helmet which we all know means send it as hard as possible going into the next corner. Ben took the back of the grid start and managed to fight his way to 12th, while Josh raced through injury and did a remarkable job to finish 8th, with Fred finishing in 14th after getting stuck in a race long group of karts. The team finished 14th overall to cap off what started out as a promising season but mistakes, bad luck and inconsistency saw the team finish in 13th in the final standings. On to the next year...
Birmingham B had a surprisingly consistent final rounds and by consistent, I mean they literally finished 40th overall (17th in clubman) in both rounds. Llandow saw the return of Max to the team who last raced at the Whilton Mill qualifiers. The injury that caused his absence is not something wise to publish online... Regardless, Max continued the trend of consistency finishing 19th in both of his races. Jamie capped off a season filled with highs and lows with a 30th and 24th in his races, while Ethan and Tim raced for the last time in UBMRC colours.
We also say goodbye to Rory and Josh after spending five incredible years with UBMRC, as well as Ismaail and Aaron.
The year saw Rory have another strong year in the BUKC, as well as Ben getting closer and closer to his first BUKC race win which must surely happen next year? Jack Finch impressed and after shaking off the rust, solidified his place in the A-team going into next year. Josh proved that you don't need experience to join UBMRC as he went from no experience upon joining the club to an accomplished BUKC Captain and mainstay A-team driver. We didn't see as much of Sam as we would have like but that's understandable as he's a graduate (a covid rule allowed recent graduates to compete) and we appreciate having had him in the team this year.
Birmingham B driver Max getting a bit too close to the grass at Llandow
Intermediate Championship Report
With gaining experience being the aim of the Intermediate Championship (especially in the absence of the Rookies series), there were several drivers making their BUKC debuts. These were Nathan, Mingrui, Ric, Xavier and Sarah.
Edward qualified in 18th for his race and after a lengthy scrap, brought the kart home in 14th. Nathan qualified in 3rd in his first ever BUKC race and was promoted to 2nd after a penalty for the driver ahead. His lack of experience showed and after a shocking start, coupled with several costly mistakes went backwards and finished in 7th. Mark started from 21st and had made a significant charge through the field before a spin through the esses saw his hard work undone and he recovered to finish in 24th. Lastly Aaron had a difficult day, qualifying 24th and finishing 25th. These results saw Birmingham C finish 26th overall on the day.
Birmingham D featured an all-new lineup and despite the lack of experience, showed excellent pace and improvement as the day went on with Mingrui qualifying in 16th, Ric gaining 8 places to finish in 24th, Xavier managing to improve his best lap time by four seconds on the day, and Sarah following in her older brother's footsteps and racing in the BUKC. I couldn't write this report without mentioning the large amount of lead we had to carry to Sarah's kart, which proved difficult to fit and almost delayed the start of her race. Birmingham D finished 46th overall on the day.
Sarah doesn't look pleased with the lead issue at Buckmore Park
For some drivers PFI was bone dry, for others it was the wettest race of the year but that's the UK weather for you. It was a case of "why didn't you drive like that in qualifying?" for Birmingham C. Edward qualifying 26th, Aaron 28th, Mark 19th and Harry 34th wasn't the best of ways to start the day and didn't look like things were going to go well for the C-team but once the racing started, the drivers came alive. Edward - who didn't bring a wetsuit and so was completely soaked - secured the best finish of the day gaining 16 places to finish 10th. Aaron wanted in on the action and decided to gain 12 places to finish 16th, with Mark finishing in 17th. This meant Harry's back of the grid start didn't really matter as he'd likely be the dropped score, but Harry clearly didn't get the message and decided to gain a whopping 19 places to finish 15th, which leads us to the question of the day for Birmingham C, "why didn't you drive like that in qualifying?" 19th overall finish for the C-team but it could've been more with the race pace of our drivers.
Birmingham D saw Fraz make his BUKC debut qualifying in 31st but finishing in 22nd, a solid start to his Birmingham career. Mingrui and Ismaail has difficult days finishing in 28th and 31st respectively, while Ric decided he wanted to be a C-team driver as he qualified in 29th but finished 12th after a stunning drive in tricky conditions. Birmingham D finished in 38th overall.
A very wet Edward on his drive to 10th
No report due to Covid but do refer to the official results for an overview of the day.
The final round of a season that realistically was used by drivers to get experience and prepare themselves for the following season. With the Drivers' Championship being on the following day, the Intermediate class was filled with many mains drivers getting in extra practice. One such driver was Sam who was on the C-team. Sam qualified 2nd and finished 1st in what was the first race win for the C team this year and the best start to the team's day. Mature drives from Edward and Harry saw them finish in 13th and 16th to cap off excellent debut seasons for them and invaluable seat time that will set them up nicely for next year. Nicole would qualify 18th and finish 20th to secure 6th overall for the C-team. Saving their best overall finish of the season till last...
Mingrui's last UBMRC race saw him pull off a mega drive to go from 32nd on the grid to finish 15th. Qualifying wasn't a strong point for the D-team today as Ric (29th), Aaron (30th) and Sarah (33rd) all were lower down on the grid than they would have wanted to be. Unlike previous rounds, Ric was not able to drive through the field and finished 30th, while Aaron signed off his UBMRC career with a 23rd place finish. Sarah rounded out the days racing in 35th, with the D-team finishing 35th overall.
Sam driving the #37 kart at Llandow