Arriving at Thruxton the experts had all been scratching their heads. “When was the last time Pyro featured outside the top two in the Entrants’ table?” many were asking… Indeed last year it had the title sewn up several rounds from home thanks to the combined efforts of Ashley Sutton and Ash Hand.
However, pre-Thruxton, four frustrating opening rounds in 2016 for Mark Hunt’s team had left it down in third in the standings – more than 40 points adrift of leader WDE Motorsport which had regained the top spot in Donington Park’s previous round thanks to a dream 1-2 result for drivers Paul Rivett and Charlie Ladell.
A team’s score in the Entrants Championship is made up of the combined points scores in each race of its two highest-placed drivers and at Thruxton it all came the way of Pyro. Mike Bushell continued his consistent front-running form with third and then second-placed results but, crucially, was joined on the podium in both races by one of his team-mates – the superb Josh Price. Second in race one (ahead of Bushell) was followed by third in race two.
Together, Price and Bushell gave Pyro a pair of 53-pointers (to make 106 in total). And with WDE picking up just 29 and 24 (53) and Team Cooksport only a mildly better 31 and 29 (60) it all meant Pyro had suddenly turned a 42-point deficit into a 13-point advantage at the top.
Not only that but JamSport Racing has also come into play thanks in chief to Ant Whorton-Eales’s two victories in Hampshire. Fifth and 75 points off the lead prior to Thruxton it is now fourth and 72 away from the top spot – all it needs at Oulton next time out is for Whorton-Eales to continue his current form and for team-mate Luke Kidsley to turn in two strong performances and the Northants squad could also become a major threat for the Entrants’ crown…
Furthermore with Finesse Motorsport (represented by proven winner Paul Streather and the rapid Daniel Rowbottom) just one point behind JamSport in fifth, this is surely turning out to be the most competitive Entrants Championship in Renault UK Clio Cup history.
With 12 rounds still to go and a maximum of 60 points per race (for a 1-2 result) it’s a title race that is wide open. And, should new team Ciceley Motorsport’s three young rookies – Max Coates, Dan Zelos and Ollie Pidgley – all start to consistently get in on the act, then a six-horse race is potentially in prospect. Watch this space…
CLICK HERE for latest Entrants Championship points standings.