Published March 05, 2017 21:42
Hello and welcome to Championship Chit Chat, with the BUKC’s chit chat champion, Jacob Harris! Aside from the main round reports, I thought I’d do a quick piece about the state of the championship, in between now and GYG, and between then and finals weekend. And here it is!
Allow me to set the scene. Picture me sat by a log fire, wearing a fine three-piece suit with a cravat. I’m sipping on the glass of whiskey in my left hand, and reading from the book in my right (something intellectual, yet entertaining). I turn to face you, and with slight surprise in my voice, I greet you, before saying: “So, you want to talk title contenders, do you?”. You nod politely and I gesture to the adjacent armchair with my now closed book, and once you’re sat down, I begin…
At this stage, the premier championship looks odds on to be heading to Oxford Brookes. Their A team top the standings, having taken a 60 point score from all three tracks we’ve been to so far. Barring the poor showing in Rye House Endurance Race 2, they have been a consistent force in every race, in particular Kyle Morby and Gareth Haynes, who rarely fail to feature among frontrunners. Jamie Dyzra and Rokas Leonavicius make up an impressive quartet, and we’ve seen very few mistakes from these guys so far. Can they do the business on a cold Thursday afternoon in North Wales though?
If not, there’s plenty who’ll look to capitalise. Leading the chase of our Sunday qualifiers winners are our Saturday qualifiers winners, Loughborough A. Whilst Darryl Evans’ excellent wins in sprints at Buckmore and Rye contributed to strong showings in Rounds 1 and 3, their endurance racing is causing them to lose ground on both the Brookes team ahead, and the C team in 3rd. Having led the championship for a short while after winning Round 1 at Buckmore, mistakes and misfortune seem to have hampered their progress, and at Rye House they failed to make either podium. BUKC newcomer Piers Pryor was unable to turn pace into points and Rye House, but he, along with captain Oliver Wheddon, appear to be very capable drivers, and should keep them in the hunt for glory.
As mentioned, Brookes C in 3rd place appear to prefer Endurances, fairing slightly better in Rounds 2 and 4 than 1 and 2. Surprisingly, they have bettered their B team in all but Round 3 so far, although as both have been consistent top ten contenders, I’d imagine whoever picks the teams might be granted a stay of execution. In particular, Matthew Lewis looks a decent driver, but teammate Jamie Fox looks nothing like he does on TV.
Oxford and Cambridge are also in the mix, with the previous currently ruing a poor afternoon at Buckmore where an 12th placed finish harmed their title chances, and the latter conversely struggling to find their Buckmore-level pace at the other circuits. Nottingham too have displayed their strength in Rounds 1 and 4, whilst Huddersfield enjoyed a Rye-naissance after a bitterly disappointing trip down to Kent.
In our intermediate class, Nottingham Trent currently hold top spot. 18th place in the overall standings, we’ve seen them pop up at the front of a couple of races so far this year, and as we go further north to race next week, will the added comfort be a boost?
BUKC Bake Off favourites Warwick B are only six points behind. Both Warwick and Liverpool A left Rye House having been overtaken in the standings by Trent, and will hope to rectify that in North Wales. Warwick struggled in the Rye sprints, but picked themselves up for the afternoon, perhaps realising the magic wasn’t in Burty’s mum’s cakes, but inside them all along. For Liverpool, the magic seemed to elude them all day, and they will surely be looking to regain top intermediate spot in their part of the country (ish).
King’s College A and Birmingham B could also consider themselves contenders. Each team in the running for intermediate champions have all had themselves an ‘off’ round, finishing outside the top 25, and whoever manages to keep themselves in the top 20 for the remaining four could be sipping champagne from an intermediate sized trophy come BUKC party time.
In the rookies, there’s no denying Surrey look are looking good for the title. They’ve not finished outside the top three in any of their eight sprint races so far, which is quite something. With one score being dropped each round, a massive downturn in fortunes seems to be the only thing capable of stopping them running away with it.
That said, both Manchester and Plymouth are keeping them honest. Both have beaten Surrey out on track, and both have 59 point scores to put them 2nd and 3rd, only a handful of points behind our leaders. Meanwhile, 6th in both rounds sees Cardiff A into 4th, and along with Durham and Oxford B, I believe there’s the capacity to upset the apple cart in the chasing pack.
That’s all for this edition of Championship Chit Chat. If you’re properly keen and would like to have your say, come talk to me at GYG next week, and if you vehemently disagree with anything I’ve said, bring weapons. I for one am looking forward to a jaunt to the north country, and teaching you all how to pronounce Welsh words. See you there!