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Mike Bushell looking for ‘fresh start’ at Oulton Park

AmD Tuning’s Mike Bushell says that Oulton Park is where his season really starts, as he looks to bounce back from a monster crash in the previous British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) meeting at Thruxton.

The Essex-based team have been working around the clock to repair Bushell’s Ford Focus for this weekend’s meeting, after the 25-year-old suffered a heavy crash in qualifying at Thruxton. Following repair work on the shell, the car needed both a new engine and a new gearbox to be fitted.

The incident occurred as Bushell exited the pits, where he collected the Toyota of Simon Belcher, who was on a flying lap at the time. Bushell was lucky to escape with injuries no worse than severe ligament damage.

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“I’d say I probably feel like I’m about 95% fit as I still have some discomfort, but I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel this weekend,” said Bushell. “The last two meetings just didn’t go to plan and for me, Oulton Park is where my season really starts.”

As a result of having been deemed to have caused the accident, Bushell will start from the back of the grid in race one in Cheshire, having accrued a third strike from the stewards already this season.

“I don’t think I’ve had chance to display what I’m capable of in the BTCC yet this year, and I want to show why I won the Clio title last year. I’m not going into the weekend to just make up the numbers despite my penalty, as I feel we’ll have a quick car that will allow me to set a good lap time in race one – which will then decide my starting slot for race two. If we can get into the top 15 on the grid, then we can aim for more in race three.”

Bushell thanked his fans, who raised more than £10,000 in less than 24 hours through a crowdfunding campaign to aid with the repair bill.

“This is a big weekend for me and I have to thank the team for the hard work they’ve put in to fix the car, and of course the fans who have supported me,” added Bushell. “It’s one thing for people to say they will back you when something happens like the accident at Thruxton, but I didn’t expect so many to then actually do it.

“It was amazing to see the support there is, and it’s no joke to say that without that backing, I wouldn’t be on track this weekend.”

Team Principal Shaun Hollamby stressed the importance of the crowdfunding campaign in helping to get Bushell’s car race-ready for this weekend’s fourth meeting of the year.

“Without doubt, the crowdfunding idea that Mike had was absolutely key in us pulling everything together for Oulton Park,” admitted Hollamby. “The response was overwhelming and we’re looking forward to thanking each and every person who got involved in the coming weeks and months.

“AmD team manager Rob Tickner and the boys have done a brilliant job to repair the car, but we couldn’t have done it without the support of our partners and suppliers; all of whom stepped up to the plate. Motorbase did a great job of repairing the damage to the shell, Mountune and Xtrac provided us with a new engine and gearbox, and GPRM got all the NGTC parts we needed.

“We’re aiming to do a shakedown en-route to Oulton Park to check everything over and then we just want a trouble-free weekend with three race finishes. Even though we’ve been out of luck in recent events, Mike has shown the pace that is in the car and hopefully we can show that again when we get to the race weekend.”

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