29/06/2016

Pyro consistency starting to show in Entrants’ championship but time yet for rivals to hit back

Five ‘class’ wins in a row mean, at the half-way stage of the season, Team Pyro holds a tidy lead in the Renault UK Clio Cup’s Entrants’ championship but don’t be surprised if its rivals take the title race all the way to the wire…
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The rules are simple: the combined points of each team’s two highest-placed drivers make for its total score in that round.

With Mike Bushell really getting into his stride of late – with six top-three finishes in a row – and team-mates Josh Price and Senna Proctor taking turns to back him up with podium results of their own, Pyro has rapidly risen from fourth in the standings after Donington Park to lead by 83 points.

Consider that the maximum available per round is 60 points – a 1-2 result (32 + 28) is required to achieve that – then, on paper, Pyro looks to be well on its way to another Entrants’ crown. But it’s not that simple…

Look at the scores for the first of Croft’s two races: Pyro 41; WDE and Finesse 38; Ciceley 36; JamSport 31. That is one of the closest points allocations ever seen…

Indeed in both Croft races WDE saw big points slip through its fingers: a possible 22 were squandered when Charlie Ladell crashed out of fourth in race one (substituted by the six of Rory Green in 15th); a likely 32 were then lost when Paul Rivett retired from the lead of race two (Ladell therefore becoming its highest scorer with 22 in fourth with Green again supplying back-up with seven in 14th).

To put that into perspective, then, potential scores of 56 in race one (victory for Rivett plus fourth for Ladell) and 52 in race two (victory for Rivett and fifth for Ladell) instead became 38 and 29. That’s a net loss of 41 and, to make matters worse, of course, those retirements enabled WDE's rivals to luck into extra points without having to work too hard for them…

Indeed think back eight weeks ago to Donington Park’s third and fourth rounds for evidence of how quickly fortunes can change – a disastrous race one saw WDE lose its early-season lead to Cooksport only to regain the upper hand again just hours later in race two when it suddenly all went wrong for its Bristolian rival!

Two drivers as high up as possible every time out therefore is the name of the game. Since Thruxton, Pyro has achieved this regularly whereas its rivals have not enjoyed the same consistency.

Indeed while WDE, JamSport, Cooksport, Finesse and Ciceley can probably rely on Messrs Rivett, Whorton-Eales, Pattison, Streather and Coates to always bring home the bacon, it is their team-mates who might ultimately be most influential in determining the outcome of the title.

Whereas Price, Proctor (Pyro) and Ladell (WDE) have started to deliver regularly, it will be greater front-running form and consistency for the likes of Luke Kidsley (JamSport), George Jackson and Rory Collingbourne (Cooksport), Daniel Rowbottom (Finesse) and Ollie Pidgley and Dan Zelos (Ciceley) that will surely prove key. Pyro, don't forget, has a fourth potential ace up its sleeve in David Dickenson.

Each of the above has shown obvious pace: Kidsley with three ‘top tens’ so far; Jackson at Donington and, along with Collingbourne, also at Croft; Rowbottom at Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Croft in particular; Pidgley and Zelos at Brands Hatch and the latter also at Thruxton; Dickenson at Croft.

The season’s second half, when a further 480 points are up for grabs, can’t come soon enough…

CLICK HERE for the Entrants' points table.