Mike Bushell has been crowned the 2014 Renault UK Clio Cup champion after battling to a third place finish in the final race of the season at Brands Hatch, a race in which Paul Rivett took a long-awaited first win of the campaign.
The key moment of the race came on the second lap when Josh Cook, who knew he needed the race win to stand any chance of taking the title, made an adventurous move on then race leader Rivett at Paddock Hill Bend.
Unfortunately for the SV Racing ace, the door was closed and he lost the rear of his Clio, spinning into the gravel trap and out of the race – confirming Bushell as champion regardless of where the Team Pyro man finished.
Bushell had survived a lucky escape himself at Paddock Hill on the opening lap. Both front-row starters Cook and James Colburn went sideways in front of the pack, with Bushell having to practically stop to avoid hitting Colburn as a heavy hit on Ant Whorton-Eales ended both their races.
The opening corner melee had allowed Rivett into the lead, and after Cook’s demise and the subsequent safety car period, the three-time Clio Cup champion found himself under pressure from Cook’s SV stablemate Alex Morgan.
Morgan’s attentions were soon turned to Bushell in his mirrors though, who had quickly dispatched Dan Holland from the podium places after the restart. Rather than sit back and cruise home to the title, Bushell was firmly on the offensive.
As Rivett edged away for a 1.8 second victory, Morgan fended off the champion’s challenge to make it a double podium finish to the season for the out-going vice-champion, with Bushell sealing his title victory with his ninth podium visit of the campaign.
“It feels absolutely amazing, the Clio Cup is the best championship in the UK to win outside touring cars, to look at the big names that have won it and progressed, it’s an unreal feeling to be joining them,” an elated Bushell told TCF.
Equally delighted was Rivett, who was determined not to end of the season without a victory: “I’ve wanted a win all year long. We’ve been close a few times this year. It’s been a great year, and a massive congratulations to Mike [Bushell] on winning the championship too, he’s done a fantastic job.”
It wasn’t just the overall championship up for grabs, with the destination of the Graduate Cup also in the balance in the final race. Cook was set to take the honours until his off, which gave the initiative to Jordan Stilp.
The 20Ten Racing ace went on to take the class win in fifth overall to emerge as the class champion, while just ahead was Dan Holland who put in an impressive drive to fourth on his second weekend of Clio racing.
Charlie Ladell finished off his season in sixth, while Ash Hand was able to take seventh despite contact from Stilp coming out of Hawthorns on lap one having pitched him into the barriers. Paul Knapp took eighth ahead of Paul Donkin and Gary Jenner in a race that featured five retirements, Cook, Whorton-Eales and Colburn joined by Mark Howard and Simon Horrobin.