Mike Bushell rounded off his championship winning season with a pair of victories at Brands Hatch as team-mate Nathan Harrison beat James Dorlin to the Graduates’ title.
Although Dan Rowbottom snatched the lead in race one before the start was aborted, Bushell was relatively unchallenged in both races, finishing ahead of Dan Zelos in both races.
In only his third weekend in the championship, Bradley Burns started second on the grid for race one. He’d dominated qualifying before Bushell pipped him to the post in the final moments of the session.
Burns’ weekend went quickly downhill, though, when he stalled on the grid. Most of the field were able to avoid the stationary Clio, but Jade Edwards collided with the back of Burns’ car. Sam Oscborn and Shawn Taylor were also caught up in the incident, bringing out the red flags.
It gave Bushell a second chance at the race start, with Dan Rowbottom jumping him on the line at the first attempt. The champion-elect got a much better start the second time around, pulling away from the rest of the field and finishing more than two seconds ahead of the next driver.
Dan Zelos jumped past Rowbottom on the restart, but the DRM driver kept him under pressure and took the position back. He finished ahead of Zelos on track, only to receive a five second penalty for track limits, which dropped him back to sixth.
James Colburn finished third. Max Coates tried to challenge the Westbourne driver early in the race but Colburn shrugged him away to take his third podium of the season. Coates fell back into the clutches of Dorlin. The pair battled until the chequered flag, but Coates was later handed a five second penalty and dropped down to eighth.
Harrison could only manage 10th after battling with Brett Lidsey.
Bushell was joined by Lucas Orrock on the front row of the grid for race two, but it was Zelos running second by the end of the first lap. The leading duo pulled away from the rest of the field and, though he always stayed close to the race leader, Zelos never put up a challenge for the win.
James Dorlin had been battling Orrock for second on the opening lap but ran wide and dropped down the order. With damage to the front of his car, Dorlin continued to fall backwards before he was forced to pit, effectively ended his graduate title hopes. Thomson could only finish 14th, but he finished 14 points ahead of Dorlin.
Paul Rivett claimed the masters’ cup crown. He finished at the back of the order in race one after running off track on the opening lap. Race two was slightly better, but he dropped backwards after running wide late in the race, losing positions and dropping to ninth.
Image credit: Renault UK Clio Cup Press Office