There were no surprises on the top step of the podium this weekend as Bushell and Whorton-Eales shared race wins at Snetterton. It was Bushell who left Norfolk at the top of the standings after Whorton-Eales was forced to retire from the first race of the day.
Mike Bushell took the first race win of the weekend whilst his championship rival, Ant Whorton-Eales, was forced to retire with damage to the rear of his car.
Compared to the rest of the day’s events, the Clio’s opening lap could be considered quiet, but there was still contact at the front of the pack at the first bend, as Bushell and Luke Kidsley made contact. The latter was sent spinning off the track and Ant Whorton-Eales sped into the lead.
Paul Rivett was the next to fall foul on the twisting Snetterton circuit. The WDE Morotsport driver failed to stop at the Wilson hairpin, running into the back of Bushell and Whorton-Eales. Rivett was forced to retire with the damage too much.
Whorton-Eales came around the corner on top, but the damage had been done. The rear of Whorton-Eales’ Clio was looking worse for wear and the JamSport driver had lost a lot of pace. Bushell regained the lead as his championship rival fell back through the order.
“That was an incredibly fraught opening lap,” said Bushell. “I was very happy just to survive it. But once I got in front I was able to put in consistently fast lap times and that was enough to take the heat of any fight with Max. It’s a very important result.”
Rookie Max Coates was promoted to second whilst Team BMR’s Sennan Proctor took third. Whorton-Eales tried to keep third, reclaiming the place from Proctor with his rear bumping waving like a flag behind him, but he was eventually ordered to pit to repair the damage.
Chris Smiley proved himself in his first Clio Cup race, defending hard against a gaggle of drivers headed by Anton Spires and George Jackson. The ex-BTCC driver crossed the line eighth.
Ant Whorton-Eales made up for the disappointment in race one later in the day, when the JamSport driver secured the victory ahead of Kidsley whilst Rivett came home in third.
Bushell started from pole, but Kidsley rushed into the lead of the race at the first bend. Whorton-Eales followed his team mate through, but Bushell fought back, regaining second from his championship rival.
The championship leader pushed hard against Kidsley, wanting to make it two out of two race wins at Snetterton. Whilst the two were battling, Whorton-Eales sped past, into the lead of the race.
“This was so important to bounce back after retiring from race one earlier today,” Whorton-Eales said. “Mike not finishing on the podium is a bonus and I have to thank my team-mate Like 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.”
Bushell dropped back another place into fourth by rookie Max Coates, and then fifth as Paul Rivett sped past. Rivett was able to get past Coates, as did Bushell, dropping the rookie back to sixth.
1 – Mike Bushell – Team Pyro
2 – Max Coates – Ciceley Motorsport
3 – Senna Proctor – Team BMR with Pyro
4 – Josh Price – Team Pyro
5 – Lee Pattison – Team Cooksport
6 – David Dickenson – Team Pyro
7 – Dan Zelos – Ciceley Motorsport
8 – Chris Smiley – JamSport Racing
9 – Anton Spires – PP Motorsport
10 – George Jackson – Team Cooksport
11 – Paul Plant – Vanquish Motorsport
12 – Rory Collingbourne – Team Cooksport
13 – Paul Streather – Finesse Motorsport
14 – Charles Ladell – WDE Motorsport
15 – Shayne Deegan – Team Cooksport
16 – Ollie Pidgley – Ciceley Motorsport
17 – Rory Green – WDE Motorsport
18 – Craig Milner – 20Ten Racing
19 – Luke Kidsley – JamSport Racing
20 – Ant Whorton-Eales – JamSport Racing – DNF
21 – Paul Rivett – WDE Motorsport – DNF
1 – Ant Whorton-Eales – JamSport Racing
2 – Luke Kidsley – JamSport Racing
3 – Paul Rivett – WDE Motorsport
4 – Mike Bushell – Team Pyro
5 – Max Coates – Ciceley Motorsport
6 – Paul Streather – Finesse Motorsport
7 – Chris Smiley – JamSport Racing
8 – Lee Pattison – Team Cooksport
9 – Charles Ladell – WDE Motorsport
10 – Senna Proctor – Team BMR with Pyro
11 – David Dickenson – Team Pyro
12 – Josh Price – Team Pyro
13 – Rory Collingbourne – Team Cooksport
14 – Ollie Pidgley – Ciceley Motorsport
15 – Dan Zelos – Ciceley Motorsport
16 – Anton Spires – PP Motorsport
17 – Shayne Deegan – Team Cooksport
18 – Rory Green – WDE Motorsport
19 – Craig Milner – 20Ten Racing
20 – George Jackson – Team Cooksport
21 – Paul Plant – Vanquish Motorsport
Feature image credit: Caroline Rhea