As in Saturday’s race Team Pyro’s Bushell converted his pole position advantage into the race lead. But unlike on Saturday he this time led all the way to cross the line just clear of Ciceley Motorsport’s Coates, the local hero at Croft.
At one stage the gap between them had been close to two seconds but a relentless charge by Coates – which netted him two bonus points for the race’s fastest lap – brought him to within half a second at the flag.
Coates had taken second place from PP Motorsport/Westbourne’s James Colburn through the daunting Jim Clark Esses. It was where Colburn later dropped to fourth as WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett squeezed past him with a very brave move.
Colburn held on for fourth, spending the closing stages fending off Pyro’s Nathan Harrison and WDE’s Lee Pattison. Harrison leaves Croft having taken over the lead of the Graduates Cup class for young, first-year drivers…
Bushell’s two wins at Croft – he had not won at the circuit before – put him a commanding 69 points clear of Pattison at the top of the drivers’ table with eight races still to go in 2017.
“It’s just about been the perfect weekend,” reflected Bushell. “Two poles, two wins and a fastest lap (on Saturday) and of course I’ve broken my Croft duck. It’s obviously all very good for my championship. Now for the big summer break and then Snetterton at the end of July – another of my favourite circuits.”
Coates said: “It’s a shame it took so long to get up to second as it allowed Mike to pull out a decent lead. But I’m still very happy and second around here for me is almost as good as a win with the noise from all the fans!”
Rivett added: “I’m very happy with that race – eighth to third – and with the move I pulled on James who I must say was very fair on track. Looking ahead though we have to qualify higher up as we know we have the race pace to win.”
Behind the top six WDE’s Dan Zelos fought off Westbourne Motorsport’s James Dorlin to finish seventh – the latter having lost several positions when he attempted to pass Rivett around the outside at the hairpin. SDR Motorsport’s Shayne Deegan was close behind in ninth as was Pyro’s Jack McCarthy in tenth after surviving a wild slide mid-race.
Ciceley's Sam Osborne head a four-car battle for 11th which kept the huge Croft crowd well entertained. This also included JamSport’s Aaron Thompson, Ciceley’s Jade Edwards and Pyro's Lucas Orrock. The latter had atually crossed the line in 11th but a time penalty – for an incident with Thompson – later relegated him to 13th.
WDE’s Nicolas Hamilton, Pyro’s Kyle Hornby (who suffered a spin) and JamSport’s Graham Field completed the runners.
The retirements included Sam Randon who, starting from the front row on his debut weekend, spun his Westbourne car on the opening lap. This was collected by the unsighted DRM car of Daniel Rowbottom and both were out on the spot. Ciceley’s Luke Reade also retired after an unfortunate brush with team-mate Edwards as they rounded the infamous Clervaux Corner for the first time.