Kidsley, who had not finished on the UK Clio Cup podium before, led the opening laps after taking the lead from Team Pyro’s Mike Bushell through the first bend. Whorton-Eales was quick to tuck in behind him for second but then dropped to third as Bushell fought his way back past.
Entering the closing stages Bushell started to apply the pressure on Kidsley into the fast Riches corner but, sensing they would be delayed by their battle, Whorton-Eales instinctively took the faster, wider line to scythe past them both on the exit in a truly first-class manoeuvre.
It wasn’t over, though. Just a few corners later Bushell had found himself pegged back to fourth by Ciceley’s Max Coates and then to fifth by WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett who had set a new lap record to close in on the leading quartet. Rivett then took third at the Brundle chicane – a move which resulted in Coates losing momentum and dropping back to fifth behind Bushell.
Whorton-Eales-Kidsley-Rivett-Bushell-Coates is how they flashed past the chequered flag as JamSport celebrated its first 1-2 race result in the championship as did an elated Kidsley his first podium finish.
The win is Whorton-Eales’s sixth of the season and, having fallen 29 points behind Bushell at the top of the standings after today’s first race, he is now back to within 19 points of his big rival as the title race moves on to the Rockingham circuit in Northamptonshire for its 13th and 14th rounds out of 18 in late August.
Whorton-Eales beamed: “This was so important to bounce back after retiring from race one earlier today. Mike not finishing on the podium is a bonus and I have to thank my team-mate Luke a lot for that – he drove a fantastic race and everyone in the JamSport team couldn’t be happier. I’m pretty chuffed with my race, too. That move is definitely one of the best of my career – I’ll be watching that on replay quite a few times!”
Kidsley said: “I’m delighted – I tried the same move on Mike at the start of today’s first race and ended up spinning off the track. This time it worked a treat and I felt comfortable leading despite the pressure from behind. Even when Ant came by I felt I had the pace to go with him and that’s reflected in the gap we pulled on everyone else by the end. A massive thanks to JamSport who worked so hard to repair my car after I rolled it in testing on Friday.”
And said Rivett: “Coming from eighth on the grid I always felt confident of being able to get up to the podium – I knew we had the pace in the car and that a fastest lap might be on as well. It’s exactly how it worked out and passing Mike and Max for the final podium place was great fun.”
Behind Finesse’s Paul Streather broke free of a long train of cars him to finish in sixth. After quickly recovering from a spin on the green flag lap, JamSport’s Chris Smiley took seventh from Cooksport’s Lee Pattison, WDE’s Charlie Ladell and Team BMR with Pyro’s Senna Proctor who completed the top ten.
Pyro pair David Dickenson and Josh Price were 11th and 12th (Price dropping behind his team-mate because of a ‘track limits’ time penalty) while Cooksport’s Rory Collingbourne and Ciceley’s Ollie Pidgley were next up.
Perhaps the most disappointed driver was local Dan Zelos – he started from sixth but a half-spin in his Ciceley car (the legacy of brush with a rival) meant he could finish only 15th. Similarly after starting ninth PP Motorsport’s Anton Spires ended up down in 16th after a scuffle. Both he and Zelos had been beaten across the line by Cooksport’s Shayne Deegan but he, too, fell prey to the track limits rule so fell to 17th with a penalty.
WDE’s Rory Green and 20Ten’s Craig Milner followed in 18th and 19th as Cooksport’s George Jackson took the final point in 20th – a lap down after pitting with front-end damage to his car. Vanquish/WDE’s Paul Plant was the race’s only retirement.