Whorton-Eales made a rocket-like start to punch through from fifth on the grid into first place by the time the 21-car grid arrived at the third bend, Campbell.
From there he was never headed but had to keep a close eye on his mirrors as first Team Cooksport’s Lee Pattison and then Price threatened him. Pattison had held second from the start but after a safety car period he was demoted to third and then fourth by first Price and then Bushell entering Church Corner.
Bushell was himself fighting back through the order after a dismal opening lap that saw him lose his pole position advantage and then tumble to seventh. Third was his reward and he will start this afternoon’s second race from pole again…
During his fightback he had also had to pass WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett for whom fourth meant he consolidated his championship lead. Pattison took fifth ahead of Anton Spires for whom sixth marked his and the PP Motorsport team’s best result yet.
Meanwhile the race was a disaster for title protagonist Paul Streather who finished down in 15th after losing a number of places when his Finesse Motorsport car ran wide off track briefly as several other drivers around him tripped up over one another.
It all means Rivett still leads the table, now by 20 points from Pattison and then Bushell who have both moved past Streather into second and third. Whorton-Eales’s win – he also earned two bonus points for setting the fastest lap – has moved him up to fifth. Notably he is 36 points adrift of leader Rivett with a maximum of 34 available (win and fastest lap) from this afternoon’s second race…
Whorton-Eales commented: “That’s probably the best start I’ve made in a race and, even better, the others behind me kept fighting which enabled me to make the break and break the tow to them. It worked perfectly for me.”
Price’s second place also gave him victory in the Graduates Cup for young, first-season drivers. He said: “I’m very happy with that result – I’ve felt it’s been coming for some time. It’s a shame we didn’t have a few more laps, though – I was catching Ant and Bushell was catching me. It could have been very interesting.”
And Bushell added: “A bit frustrating – Pattison made a mistake and I got held up and five came past in a row. We had the pace to win that race, just not the luck but at least I’ve finished ahead of those ahead of me in the championship and we start race two from pole.”
Meanwhile completing the top ten in this morning’s first race were Pyro’s David Dickenson and Senna Proctor, Ciceley Motorsport’s Max Coates (up from 16th to ninth) and Cooksport’s George Jackson.
The safety car period alluded to above was triggered by a heavy crash for Ciceley’s Dan Zelos when he tangled with Vanquish/WDE’s Paul Plant starting lap five as they fought over fifth position. Plant was later involved in another incident also involving JamSport Racing’s Luke Kidsley which saw both their cars crash out at the chicane and force the race to be stopped several laps from home.
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