Bushell started from pole position but had Pattison up alongside him through the first bend, Riches. They were still side by side entering the tight Montreal hairpin where Pattison had to give way and was promptly passed by Daniel Rowbottom – up from eighth on the grid with a great start in his DRM car.
Rowbottom was able to fend off Pattison for several laps before the WDE Motorsport driver squeezed past with a late lunge into Riches.
But by now Bushell was more than two seconds to good and, come the end of the race, that gap had extended to more than three as Pattison lost more time making sure Rowbottom stayed behind him in third.
Bushell’s lead at the top of the table over Pattison is now out to 73 points going into this afternoon’s second race at Snetterton.
“I always knew the hard work would be done in the first few laps and when Lee got pegged back in third I knew it was my chance to make a break,” said Bushell.
Pattison reflected: “I had to have a go – if I’d got the lead or held second I’m confident we’d have had the pace to take the fight to Mike.”
Rowbottom said: “That’s the best start I’ve ever made – eighth to third by the first corner, despite being squeezed onto the grass a bit. It is narrow here off the grid but I kept my foot in – I wasn’t going to waste all that momentum.”
Behind the top three, Bushell’s Pyro team-mate Lucas Orrock took a career-best fourth after coming out on top of an intense fight for the position which at times included as many as seven cars.
Fifth, having dropped to ninth on the opening lap, was WDE’s Paul Rivett. He got the better of team-mate Dan Zelos in the final knockings and also ended the race with a new lap record of 2m06.811s – smashing the previous best that he himself had set 12 months ago by some six tenths of a second.
Ciceley’s Max Coates, James Dorlin (Westbourne), James Colburn (PP/Westbourne) and Sam Randon (Westbourne) completed the top ten.
Ciceley’s Luke Reade and Pyro’s Nathan Harrison were close behind in 11th and 12th as JamSport’s Aaron Thompson came in a lonely 13th. STR’s Shawn Taylor, WDE’s Nicolas Hamilton and JamSport’s Jame Going completed the runners.
Retirements included Ciceley’s Sam Osborne after an off at Murray’s and Pyro’s Jack McCarthy following a brush with Dorlin – an incident which cost the latter a two-place grid penalty for race two meaning he will start it from third instead of pole. Ciceley’s Jade Edwards also retired after just a lap.
CLICK HERE for race result.