Published March 28, 2017 15:20
With the weekend fast approaching, and the 2017 BUKC title still to play for, Jacob Harris returns to the log cabin in the woods to sit by the fire and monologue over the state of the championship: Welcome to the second edition of Championship Chit Chat!
Let’s get straight down to brass tacks. Oxford Brookes A and Loughborough A have it all to play for on Friday, and Brookes C, Oxford A, Nottingham A, and Huddersfield are all in with a shout for some silverware. However, there can only be one winner, and there are only three steps on the podium: this is what BUKC is all about!
In the final standings, two round scores will be dropped for each team, meaning they still hold their destinies in their own hands. Make no mistakes, and you will be forgiven those made over the last few months. But get it wrong at Whilton, and your bad races from Buckmore, Rye, and Glan y Gors will come back to haunt you. This is no more true than with our championship contenders, Loughborough, who have a poor showing in the Rye House endurance round to blame for the deficit in overall points which sees them eight points behind Brookes in the standings, and for Huddersfield, who bombed at Buckmore and have been playing catch up ever since.
As it stands, these round scores are set to be dropped, leaving Loughborough a meagre two points behind Brookes in the chase for the title, and causing only three points to separate our four challengers. In terms of the championship, this means a Whilton whitewash, winning both rounds, would secure the title for either Brookes of Loughborough, or failing that, one just has to beat the over across both rounds.
For Loughborough, a repeat of their Glan y Gors showing would not go amiss. Despite turning up without Darryl Evans, a key player in their title charge this year, they scored a double podium and ensured the fight would go down to the wire at Whilton. Another double podium on Friday would allow them to drop their round scores from the Buckmore and Rye endurances, and Brookes would have to at least match them to succeed. Brookes will feel they have the upper hand going into the weekend however, with that two point buffer and impressive form across the season meaning ‘business as usual’ could well see them walk to victory. Despite Jamie Dyzra’s disagreement with the notion his team mates may be capable drivers, they have to be favourites for the BUKC 2017 going into the weekend.
The same principles apply to our third place four way, of which Brookes C, Oxford, Nottingham or Huddersfield could come out on top if any of the quartet are able to blow the competition out of the water. Expect each of them to be vying for podiums in both the sprints and endurances, as a double showing could well clinch third place for any of these universities. Unfortunately, I think Cambridge and Brookes B are too far behind to get involved in the scrap for the final podium spot, but either of them along with the likes of Brunel, Birmingham, Sheffield and this season’s surprise package Exeter could mix with the contenders this weekend.
The two dropped scores make for a very interesting intermediate class battle. Nottingham Trent sit nine points adrift of Warwick B at the top, with Warwick themselves seven and ten points ahead of Birmingham B and Liverpool A respectively, although the totals after dropping two scores elevate the latter pair to joint top of the table, four points above the Trent and Warwick. With all of them having scored similarly to each other in the qualifiers at Whilton, and with all of them having delivered some impressive individual results, it's anyone's guess as to who will come away with the glory on Friday.
Liverpool appear to be the most erratic of the four, scoring two of the three best scores amongst them, and two of the three worst scores amongst them, leaving them equally as likely to smash the competition as they are to crash and burn. Nottingham Trent have been the most consistent intermediate team, but will need to improve on their Glan y Gors form, and hope to fare better on Whilton’s international layout than they did on Zulu in November.
For the first time ever, our rookies championship will be live streamed this Saturday afternoon, and luckily for those watching, the championship is still to play for, as no scores are dropped come the end of the season.
Currently, our leaders in this one are Surrey A, who have won every round of the rookies so far. However, their dominance wavered at Glan y Gors, where they recorded their worst points total of the year, albeit a still impressive tally, and the chasing pack will hope they were stumbling before a fall. Manchester A and Plymouth A are their adversaries, and sit four and six points behind Surrey. Last night’s reveal of the grids shows all three teams will face of head to head (to head) as they have all been drawn in the same heats, so expect to see some feisty racing this Saturday afternoon!
And so, the scene is set for a spectacular swansong to BUKC 2017! All racing over the weekend is due to be streamed live from our Facebook page, so make sure your mum likes us, and your fans have cleared their schedules. It’s going to be a great weekend, topped off with our Drivers and Graduate Championships on the Sunday (look out for my hot tips for those on Twitter this week!) , so get yourselves an early night on Thursday, and I’ll see you in Northamptonshire!