Bushell’s advantage is already greater than it needs to be after Silverstone’s two races for him to become the 2017 Champion. His current advantage over nearest challenger Lee Pattison is 82 points and it only needs to be 69 come Sunday evening for him to be sure.
Pattison, WDE team-mate Paul Rivett (who celebrates his 200th UK Clio Cup race at Silverstone) and Ciceley’s Max Coates are the only drivers who can now stop Bushell adding to his 2014 crown (then, as now, with Team Pyro).
It is a mighty ask of any of them. Indeed two third places should just about do the trick for Bushell and only twice in the 14 races so far this season has he finished off the podium.
Bushell could potentially clinch it in Silverstone’s first race (on Saturday) but that would require disasters for his three chief rivals. In fact he will probably want it to go to race two (on the Sunday) which will be broadcast live on ITV4 as part of the channel’s coverage of the latest rounds of the British Touring Car Championship…
Rockingham though showed just how quickly fortunes can turn. There Bushell qualified back in seventh for race one and finished it in an even lower tenth – his worst result in more than three years. A second place behind Pattison in race two just about redressed the balance.
Bushell’s low-key (by his standards) weekend at Rockingham means he can no longer equal/beat Jonathan Adam’s and Dave Newsham’s records respectively of 15 pole positions and 15 race wins in a single season. Similarly Rivett’s tally of 34 career poles is safe for 2017 at least…
Furthermore Bushell will not want a repeat of 2016 when his title fight with Ant Whorton-Eales ended in disaster with retirements from both final rounds at Brands Hatch – the famous Kent venue will again host this year’s season finale (Sat 30 Sept/Sun 1 Oct).
Meanwhile there is also a fierce scrap for the Teams’ trophy title between the Pyro and WDE outfits still to be settled. Ditto the Graduates Trophy for younger ‘rookie’ drivers between Pyro’s Nathan Harrison, Westbourne’s James Dorlin and WDE’s Jack McCarthy.
With nerves on edge and the pressure mounting, certainly expect plenty of fireworks from the season’s final four races.