The London Varsity Series kicked off slightly earlier than usual this 2018/19 Academic Year. Rather than starting in March the lights unofficially went out at a damp race track near Roydon.
The LVS Rugby Match in the modern era has officially been going since 2004. In 2014 it was expanded into a series covering 6 sports. However it has grown significantly since and the 2018 London Varsity covered 16 sports, but motorsport wasn’t one of them.
And won’t be this year. Nevertheless the 6 Hours of Rye House, run by Kingston University since 2010, was a suitable battle ground even if teams such as Brighton, Swansea, Coventry and Kingston took part as well as KCL and UCL.
Yet that just added a another element alongside pitstop/driver strategy and the weather conditions. The latter was particularly dramatic. Qualifying was wet and the entire race was damp until, forty minutes from the end, the heavens opened once more and the drivers suddenly had to use all their skill to keep their karts on track and on the pace.
I was that driver. The last of our six man crew that included, in stint order, Vincent Louis, Adrien Prothery, Luca Ingrassia, Juan Montero and Iu Gran de Tena.
However the weather wasn’t the only factor. None of us had driven Rye House before we got there on a damp Wednesday morning and headed out for a few practice laps. It was, fortunately, a handicap we shared along with the UCL squad.
Despite this, we qualified 10th out of 12 teams and battled our way through the race tussling with Imperial and Kingston along with UCL. Mid race, between the two refuelling stops, we were briefly in 8th but lost touch in the 4th hour. As the last two hours closed in UCL had two more driver changes to go to our one and, with some clean, fast laps, we were able to keep them behind.
At the finish we kept that 9th place, 330 laps completed. UCL? They came in 10th, 2 laps behind. 😉