The Southampton karting team headed to Kent earlier in the week for round two of the BUKC.
The date: Wednesday 25th February. The location: Kent. The time: Too fuckin’ early. BUKC Round 2, and Southampton were raring to go after the glory of the previous week.
As is tradition with the BUKC, the 9:15 start ensured that Captain Dennison appeared haggard at our doors at 5:45am. With naught for company but songbirds and scantily clad students returning from their nights of debauchery, the mood in the car was solemn.
This was soon to change however, as it was time for us all to recieve our team hoodies. I should first clarify; in a feeble attempt to raise team morale Captain Metrosexual had ignored the raised eyebrows of Wessex Clothing, and opted for a neon pink (In his defence Stuart Wells made the original suggestion). We certainly couldn’t be missed, although even a 70s pop star might have thought us a little garish.
On arrival at a decidedly moist Buckmore Park, we were straight into the driver’s briefing, consisting of the standard “motorsport is dangerous, watch out for yellow flags, MOTHER OF GOD SOUTHAMPTON, pit lane speed-limits” kind of thing. Nothing untoward there, and certainly nothing that we shouldn’t have expected. At the line “some drivers may run out of talent”, what felt like half the room (but was probably just the Southampton team) looked expectantly at driver Ed Bannister, making his BUKC debut after a season and a half of spectacular crashes in the inter-mural competition.
Either way, the vibrant Southampton made it out into the first race, where Scott Michaels was hoping to capitalise on his victory at Rye with another in Kent. Starting in fourth this looked possible, and after Michaels lunged into the lead on the first lap, it’s safe to say that the atmosphere in the pits was positive.
SCOTT IS FUCKING MILES AHEAD GO ON YOU STUNNER
— Southampton Stig ()
Sadly, BUKC races do not finish after the first lap, and the man in charge of Southampton’s Twitter was somewhat premature. Slowly reeling him in was Durham’s William Van Es, a man who some say has never lost in the BUKC. This record was not to be broken today, and Scott finished fourth, neither making up or losing any positions. For the B and C teams an early collision damaged the prospects of both – they insist the crash was not between teammates but as it occurred out of sight of the pits this is in dispute. Nonetheless, the heights of the A team were unattainable and Soton B/C ending in 25th and 33rd respectively.
This somewhat set the tone for the day. Although the A team managed to eke out three more top 11 finishes (with James “humble” Dennison setting a 47.688 – the fastest lap in his race, and mentioned under pain of death), the B and C teams found themselves plagued by poor luck and/or judgement, with the only result of note being Diego’s 5th in race 2 for Southampton B, while Titas (Kimi Raikkonen’s heir apparent) made up 24 places in Race 6 to end 8th for the A’s. These combined results, meant that Southampton A ran out class winners for the second time in a row, an outcome which meant the radioactive hoodies could be proudly displayed on the top step of the podium.
Sadly, the plan to blind the opposition from the podium failed, as the endurance round was where everything went wrong for Southampton. For the A team race 1 saw Titas rammed off the track by an errant Cardiff kart, and proceeded to display more emotion about it than ever before seen, except when regarding tequila. Denny was unable to make up the two laps lost, but salved his wounded ego by again leading by example and setting Southampton’s fastest lap of the round. The injustice continued, with Scott and Stuart setting out only to have to return two separate karts with mechanical issues, ensuring their race was over before it had begun. It was little consolation when on the release of the times, Stuart calculated that their form in the rest of the race would have ensured a winning margin of seven seconds.
Meanwhile with the B and C teams, the results were equally disappointing. Bannister and Barzycki fought valiantly in race 2, but came in a spectacular last when Bannister broke yet another kart while the Bs fared little better, placing only 5 positions above.
After a disappointing day’s racing, it was back into the battered fleet of cars to return to Southampton. For some, it didn’t get better – Hoey had the unique privilege of watching his Arsenal team capitulate to Monaco in the pub we stopped for dinner at. At least we have pretty hoodies though!
In recent years, Southampton have been at the pinnacle of the BUKC, so such a drop is of course disappointing – but we’ll be there at the next two rounds to right these injustices.
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