The British Schools Karting Championship (BSKC), the largest school karting competition in the United Kingdom, started in 2003 with the aim of promoting karting to young people throughout the country. The championships chief aim is to allow the youth of the United Kingdom to partake in karting without the need to own or maintain an expensive machine. This is made possible as the organisers of the championship provide the karts and other necessary equipment for the team of drivers to use in a unique system known as “arrive-and-drive”.
This reduces costs significantly, allowing students from all socio-economic backgrounds to take part in the exciting world of karting. Wherever possible, karting takes place after school, thus limiting time spent away from studies.
The championship is open to students between the ages of 13 to 18. Participants must form a team of three drivers and single entries are not allowed. The team must also be from the same educational institution.
To encourage entry from students who have never raced karts before, only one team member may have held an MSA race licence higher than National B Novice level. There is a height requirement for the championship with all drivers needing to be 1.57m (5 feet 2 inches). Team entries are filled in online at the BSKC website. Drivers under the age of 18 must attend with either a parent or legal guardian.
Racing takes place on karting tracks throughout the United Kingdom. Some top tracks include:
1/ Whilton Mill
Home of the 2014 BSKC final, Whilton Mill is a 1200 metre track offering a number of configurations. The final itself was held on the 960 metre national circuit, a very technical drive with two long straights.
2/ Buckmore Park
This circuit plays host to a BSKC regional final and is 1200m long with a number of different track layouts. The track includes two demanding hairpins. It is situated in Kent.
3/ Daytona Milton Keynes
Another host of a regional final this circuit is 1360m long and features an extremely long straight. It is situated in Milton Keynes.
4/ Pole Position Leeds
The host of the regional finals for the North East region, this indoor track is only 580 metres long and extremely technical. It is situated in Leeds.
5/ 3 Sisters
Playing host to the regional finals of the North West region, 3 Sisters, situated in Wigan, has numerous configurations. The 1000 metre track is used for the BSKC regional final. It is characterised by a number of short straights and technical corners.
The 900m circuit at Thruxton plays host to the regional finals of the West Region. It features a number of technical bends and a medium length start/finish straight. It is situated in Andover.
These sessions are compulsory and each driver is allowed 20 minutes to acquaint themselves with both the kart’s speed and handling as well as to familiarize themselves with the track. Practices are normally split into six sessions of 10 minutes that take place at one of 36 local karting circuits throughout the country. Entry into a practice session costs £180 per team.
Teams that excel in the practice sessions are invited to participate in the local finals. This consists of six races of 10 minutes with each driver required to compete in two races. Once all six races have been completed, points for each team are accumulated and a finishing order established. The top 25% of the teams at the event will then qualify for the regional finals.
Regional finals are held at one of the ten circuits located throughout the United Kingdom. This again consists of six races of 10 minutes with each driver required to compete in two races. The best teams from the regional finals will then compete in the final event of the season, the national final. Entry into the regional finals is free of charge.
The national final sees the crowning of the British Schools Karting Champions for the season. National finals follow the same format used through the early rounds with six races of 10 minutes with each driver required to compete in two races.
BSKC provides accommodation for teams who might find costs prohibitive and who travel more than 100 miles to partake in the final.
After over 350 teams entered in the BSKC 2014 season, 29 were left to contest the national final, held at Whilton Mill karting track on 19 July.
After some incredibly close racing, initially in very wet conditions, it was the team from Debden Park High School (DPHS Super Green) who ran out the 2014 champions! The team, consisting of Ben Green (16), Oliver Longshaw (16) and Jaiden Fenton (15), drove consistently throughout the day, securing one win and three top 3 finishes and taking the championship from runners up, Bransholme Urban Motor Project “A”.