Bushell looking for history to repeat itself at Thruxton

With just one podium result from the season’s opening four rounds, Mike Bushell is hopeful that, just as in 2014, Thruxton is where he opens his victory account in 2016 and gets his title bid well and truly on track.
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Bushell points to ‘bad calls’ on car set-up in qualifying to the reasons behind his relative struggles so far this season with fourth and third places in Brands Hatch’s two races then followed by a pair of fifths at Donington Park.

The 26-year-old commented: “I’m a bit frustrated with how it’s gone so far. I’ve not been out of the top two in the official tests but in both qualifying sessions, at Brands Hatch and Donington, we made two bad calls on the rear set-up and it’s ruined the rest of the weekend really.

“When I’d won the title in 2014, Ashley Sutton and Ash Hand tested the Pyro car and my set-up wasn’t working for them. Now maybe I’ve had to go with some of their set-up which isn’t quite how I like it. On saying that it is going in the right direction.

“There was a chance of a second place at Brands when I had some contact with Paul (Rivett) and it went his way. At Donington I spent both races stuck behind Max Coates and felt I could have done something about the leaders, although to be fair to him he drove very well. I can take those sorts of things on the chin – they are part of what happens in racing – but it is so hard to make up places when the top five are all extremely talented drivers. Starting on the front row of the grid instead of the third row is where I need to get back to…”

Three facts potentially work in Bushell’s favour:
- It took until round five at Thruxton in 2014 for him to achieve his first win that season – and he went on to win the title
- His current points tally is greater than it was at this stage in 2014
- He was fastest by some margin in Thruxton’s official UK Clio Cup test, held earlier this month

“The speed at the test was mega,” he added. “I was also here in February for an unofficial test and did a time that was well below Lee Pattison’s pole position time from 2014 when I had a win at Thruxton.

“In fact I always rib Pattison about his pole lap that year – he only did it because he got a tow off me!

“Points-wise I’m ahead of where I was at this stage two years ago – technically, this is the best start I’ve had to a season in the UK Clio Cup!

“Getting a tow at Thruxton in qualifying – which is where I know we need to be stronger – can be very important but it’s not necessarily everything. In testing I seemed to be able to do the times with or without a tow. Sometimes you can concentrate too much on getting the tow and instead shoot yourself in the foot strategically by wringing the most from your tyres but without a mega lap time to show for it.

“I’m also quite enjoying the fact the focus is on a few other drivers at the moment and there are rivalries brewing perhaps elsewhere. I recall Paul Rivett and Josh Cook developed a rivalry in 2014 which cost them points and did me some favours. I also like having a bit of a carrot to chase as it brings out the best in me and I’ve certainly got a few to chase at the moment…”