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Episode 39

The Cheapest Way To Win A National Title!

In a world where championships cost many, many thousands of pounds to enter, here’s one for less than £500 all in!

Motorsport is expensive. It’s a fact, and it’s one that you can’t really deny. A season of car racing is considered ‘cheap’ if the total expenditure amounts to ‘just’ four figures, rather than five or six. I even wrote an article earlier this year about the Club100 karting series, and labelled the circa £3,000 budget you would need for the season as ‘an absolute bargain.’

How about, then, I tell you about the cheapest way to become a bona fide British Champion? That’s right, I’m talking about the British Indoor Karting Championship, a competition you could win with a budget of £400.

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The British Indoor Karting Championship is a new-for-2020 event, created by Teamsport in conjunction with MotorsportUK. For the purpose of some background, Teamsport are an indoor karting company that operate 32 circuits in England and a further three in Scotland (branded as Scotkart). They reportedly provide ‘the ultimate indoor karting experience’ through tracks that incorporate multiple levels and banked corners.

Previously, Teamsport ran an annual competition called KartChamps, which ran nationwide and aimed to find the fastest indoor karters across a variety of age and weight categories. This year, however, KartChamps has been replaced by the BIKC (I’m not writing British Indoor Karting Championships every time, it’s way too long), the first indoor karting championship to be recognised by MotorsportUK, the governing body for, yep, motorsport in the UK. Who knew!

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In the interest of fairness, the BIKC will crown multiple champions each year as they have decided to split competitors out by age and weight. Therefore, in 2020, there will be seven champions in the following categories: Cadet (age 8-11), Junior (12-15), Rising Star (16/17), Featherweight (<70kg), Lightweight (70kg≤X<80kg), Heavyweight (80kg≤X<95kg) and finally Super Heavyweight (95kg+). This does mean that friend who’s carrying an extra 15 kilos will have to write off the weight excuse this time around, I’m afraid, but it does mean you could both be winners!

So, now you know that you don’t have to worry about your lockdown belly making you sluggish, you want to know how to qualify, right? Well, you’d better get down to your local Teamsport venue pronto, as you have to visit on three occasions before the end of September. Now, given that I’m publishing this on the 23rd of September, that doesn’t give you much time. Sorry.

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In order to compete in the BIKC, you also need to purchase a MotorsportUK K-I Licence, you know, to say you’re official. This licence can be bought through Teamsport’s Elite membership, which costs just under £35 and comes with a load of other benefits, although I’m not mentioning them here because they don’t sponsor me (wink wink, Teamsport!). Once you’ve purchased your licence, you need to race at your local Teamsport track on three separate occasions (before the end of the month), and the fastest lap from each of those three sessions will be averaged to give you your ‘qualifying time.’

The drivers with the fastest 12 averages in each category will then proceed to compete in the Local finals, held at whichever circuit you qualified at. These finals are held between 12th and 15th October, dependent on your category and location, with the top 5 from each categories’ local stage progressing onto the regional final. Still with me? Yes? Good.

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Regional finals are held during the first half of November, where once again the top five in each category will progress to the final stage: National finals on Saturday 28th November (Sunday if you’re in one of the u18’s groups). Here, at Teamsport Warrington, the drivers will fight to the death to be crowned British Champion! Well, not quite fight to the death, more like race to a certain level of enjoyment, but you get the idea.

This sounds all well and good, Ben, but what are the costs, I hear you cry. Well, the qualifying sessions are price dependent on what type of event you pick, but most likely won’t cost more than £90 for the 3. Membership, as mentioned, is £34.95, and the Local, Regional and National finals are priced at £40, £60 and £80 respectively. Therefore, if my Maths A-Level does me justice, the all-in cost is… £305, give or take! Add in a bit of fuel for the travelling, and you can see where my £400 budget comes from, can’t you. Absolute bargain, in motorsport terms.

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If you thought the opportunity to brag about being labelled a British Champion wasn’t enough of a reason for entering, I’ve got a few more up my sleeve for you, in the form of prizes. Yep, your brilliance will not go unnoticed, I tell you! The prizes differ depending on your age (for obvious reasons), but if you win any of the adult categories, you’re in for a bumper haul of the following:

Free entry into 8 rounds of next years’ Club100 Sprint Championship, alongside a test session for you to get used to the karts. You’ll also receive a pair of VIP tickets to the Nestle ‘Professional Private Suite’ at the O2 Arena in London (presumably for an event of your choosing, it’s not completely clear), full racewear kit courtesy of Arroxx, and finally a track day in a MINI Challenge Cooper class racer!

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There’s also prizes for the second and third-placed competitors in each of the adult categories, plus separate prize bundles for the under-18 categories, but they don’t compare to the grand prize, so I’m not even going to mention them in the same article. I will also mention the swanky new BIKC trophies that will be presented, though. I’ve not seen what they look like, but they are new and swanky, presumably.

To round things off, a little bit about me. After all, it is my blog. Will I be competing? Not this year. I do like the idea behind the event (I have in fact competed in two previous KartChamps) and the prizes are mega, but there is one specific reason as to why I won’t be racing this year, at least. Will the reason be revealed in the future? I hope so. Will I potentially enter the BIKC in the coming years? Almost certainly. I’ll just let someone else take the spoils this time out…

N.B. I tried to be a little different with this article, incorporating a bit more humour, and faux-arrogance is a by-product of that. I’m not this cocky in real life, honest!

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