Bushell wins at Rockingham to ‘tie’ for championship lead with Whorton-Eales

Mike Bushell took a crucial lights-to-flag victory in the Renault UK Clio Cup’s second race at Rockingham – a result that effectively leaves him and Ant Whorton-Eales tied for the championship lead heading to the season’s penultimate rounds at Silverstone.
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Team Pyro’s Bushell, who started from pole position, had to spend the race keeping at bay the ever-present Paul Rivett (4Front Motor Group with WDE) before taking his third win of the season. He also set the race’s fastest lap for two bonus points.

The result means Bushell draws 22 points clear of chief title rival Whorton-Eales (JamSport) at the head of the table.

However, when the championship's all-important two-dropped-scores rule is applied, they are equal on points with 328 apiece. The reason for that is Bushell’s two worst scores to date amount to 22 points more than those of Whorton-Eales (38 vs 16).

Whorton-Eales finished the race in fourth position. Another meteoric start from Saturday’s race-winner moved him from sixth on the grid to second place in the opening bends but a brush with Rivett cost him ground and he slipped to fourth behind Josh Price (Pyro).

He and Max Coates (Ciceley) then found their way past Price before they began a titanic battle to decide third place. Coates got it in the end but only after he and Whorton-Eales had swapped positions three times in the space of six corners in one of the most breath-taking laps of the season…

Their battle allowed Price and his BMR-backed team-mate Senna Proctor to close in on them but neither was able to capitalise. Price thus finished fifth and Proctor sixth.

Bushell commented: “That is a massive result for my championship – pole, the win and fastest lap. I’ll admit I did wake up at five this morning thinking about how to win the race – it was that important. Silverstone in a few weeks is going to be very interesting…”

Rivett’s second place keeps him fourth overall just behind third-placed Coates in the standings. However he takes over third on dropped scores. Rivett said: “I was so determined to win that race but the coming-together with Ant let Mike just make the break he needed. We were so evenly matched after that… I needed him to make a mistake but of course he didn’t. Still it’s a result that keeps us in there in the title race.”

Coates added: “The podium is just what I wanted after things went wrong for me on the last lap of Saturday’s race. The fight with Ant was one of the best I’ve ever experienced in racing – totally fair – and it was a relief to come out ahead.”

Behind the top six, WDE’s Charlie Ladell, Pyro’s David Dickenson and Cooksport pair Rory Collingbourne and Shayne Deegan took seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth places. All four gained a couple of positions when JamSport’s Chris Smiley and Cooksport’s Lee Pattison dramatically span off the track together at high speed after a skirmish. Pattison was able to rejoin to finish 13th but Smiley retired as a result…

Meanhile Ollie Pidgley (Ciceley) and Luke Kidsley (JamSport) took 11th and 12th positions. Behind Pattison, Ciceley’s Dan Zelos and Finesse’s Paul Streather completed the 15 runners after both hit dramas.

Joining Smiley in retirement were PP Motorsport’s Anton Spires and JamSport’s George Jackson – the latter after his car rolled onto its roof on the opening lap when squeezed over a kerb.

CLICK HERE for the race result.

CLICK HERE for the latest championship points.