Bushell led all the way from pole position, although was shadowed throughout by Team Pyro team-mate Harrison who finished just 0.699s behind him. Bushell also set the race’s fastest lap for two bonus points.
Behind, Rowbottom made a strong start to go from sixth on the grid to third on the opening lap and impressively stayed with Bushell and Pattison for most of the race. His third place also marks his small one-car DRM team’s first top-three finish in the category.
Bushell explained: “I only have one word… Perfect! It was quite hard work keeping Nathan behind but I watched in my mirrors where he was quicker so knew what to do. The trickiest bit was the stretch of track under the trees – while the rest of the track had dried out it was still wet under there and very treacherous on the slick tyre.”
Harrison, also the winner of the Graduates Cup for younger drivers, commented: “I really gave it everything I could without doing anything silly and a few times I was able to get very close to Mike and almost in a position to try a move. But I’m still delighted with second.”
And added Rowbottom: “This is a really big deal for me and my team and our sponsors – we’re David taking on Goliath and to do this against them shows just what a cracking little outfit we are.”
Meanwhile from 12th on the grid, WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett was quickly up to fifth in the race and that became fourth when he wriggled past Pyro’s Jack McCarthy. Rivett was also the highest-placed driver in the Masters Cup for older drivers... Sixth was Max Coates in a car that had been hastily repaired by his Ciceley Motorsport mechanics following an accident in this morning’s qualifying session.
In the closing laps he came under heavy pressure from PP Motorsport/Westbourne’s James Colburn who had charged through to seventh from the back of the grid. He and Westbourne team-mate James Dorlin had both been ordered to start there having missed the ‘pit lane exit’ deadline prior to the race… Dorlin took ninth, behind WDE’s Lee Pattison in eighth.
Pyro’s Kyle Hornby completed the top ten ahead of Ciceley’s Luke Reade and JamSport’s Lucas Orrock. These two plus Ciceley’s Sam Osborne in 13th had been delayed by an opening lap incident at Cascades involving Jade Edwards and Dan Zelos. Edwards was forced to retire her Ciceley car with damage; Zelos needed a pit stop to have a broken wheel changed and finished in 16th, a lap down…
WDE’s Nicolas Hamilton and JamSport’s Graham Field also suffered opening lap dramas as they came home in 14th and 15th positions. Like Zelos, SDR’s Shayne Deegan was a lap down at the end after pitting to have his car checked over after a wild moment over the grass exiting Cascades…
But there was real heartache for JamSport’s Aaron Thompson – he should have lined up in a career-best fourth on the grid but in fact never started, after spinning off the track on the formation lap and breaking his car’s steering against the barriers.