Published February 01, 2016 12:00
Student sport as a whole is entirely unique - the athlete’s ‘careers’ last for just three or four (or more, we’re looking at you PhD students!) years until they ‘retire’ (read: graduate) and go off to find proper jobs in the big wide world.
Such is the nature of the BUKC, and with comparatively (to football, for example) small team sizes, each year can bring significant change to the (mis)fortunes of teams right the way up and down the grid. The challenge for those that remain is simple - do the best possible with the resources available.
This years reigning champions, Huddersfield University, are one such team going through the ‘cycle’ this year. We spoke to Shaun Arnold, this years President, to find out his feelings as they look to retain the title in the 2016 season.
Hello Shaun! So, what was it like winning the championship for the first time last year?
Well firstly for me, I 100% did not expect to find myself on the winning team with my first go at the championship! It was awesome! Collectively as a team it was more a sense of relief I think. Obviously the guys (Josh, Patryk and Ollie) have been in the championship for a while, always having the potential to be at the sharp end, but some bad luck letting them down. The 2015 season just seemed to fall into place for us, not once did we finish off of the podium until the final endurance races!
After the somewhat eventful finish to the season, how did you go about celebrating when it was confirmed that you were champions?
Immediate celebrations begun at the BUKC party, and we all know how that goes year after year! Then in the summer we were supposed to go to Poland but it fell through last minute, so we just had a night out in Huddersfield instead. Poland will still be happening at some point though!
It’s a new season, with lots of new challenges and many new faces. How are you guys tackling the challenge of the ever-rotating door of available students?
With Ollie, Patryk and Josh not being available this year for various reasons, the A Team has now got 3 new drivers from the B Team from last year! As a result, everyone from last year has moved up the ladder. So we now have 2 rookies from last year in the B Team. This leaves a massive chunk of seats in the rookies that will be filled by new drivers that arrived at Huddersfield this year.
Out of those, who do you think will be your stand-out drivers?
For me, the two rookies from last year that are on the B Team, Jack Lynas and Luke Mardon. They were impressing us in the test and in the qualifying round, and with some driver coaching over the winter, come Rounds 1 & 2 should be ones to watch!
Taking all this into account, what are your expectations for this season? Defend your title?
We are aiming to get both teams in the top 10 this year. I mean, it would be awesome to defend the title this year, but without the drivers from last year, and not actually starting the season properly yet, its impossible to predict how we will do. You never know, come Warden Law (Round 5 & 6), we may be right up there, but we may also be barely in the top ten, we just want to wait and see how we do at Buckmore (Round 1 & 2) before we start predicting things.
You can find out how Huddersfield and the rest of the competitors in the 2016 season get on this Wednesday, when the action kicks off with Rounds 1 & 2 and Rookies Round 1 at Buckmore Park.