Local hero Gordon Shedden was the toast of Knockhill as the Honda Racing driver swept to victory on his home track and moved into the lead of the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship on Sunday.
The 31-year-old scored a third place finish in the opening race of the weekend at the Fife venue and then won the second race. He backed up those results with a fighting fifth position in the final race of the weekend to move to the top of the drivers’ standings. He is just one point ahead of team-mate Matt Neal.
Gordon ‘Flash’ Shedden, who is the commercial manager at the hillside venue, said that he thought it was mission accomplished over the course of the three races as he overturned a nine point deficit to seize the title advantage.
“I knew it would be crucial to get at least 30 points over the course of the three races at Knockhill, and the results went better than I could have expected. I scored 32, and I was able to win a round in front of my home fans which is always special.”
Shedden said that the key strength of the Civic was its handling over the tight and twisty track, which he said gave him optimism for the remaining nine races in the championship. “We knew we had to exploit our chassis at Knockhill, and that is exactly what has helped us here,” said Flash. “Some of the other cars have big turbochargers and were able to have an advantage on the straights, but our car came into its own in the corners. It shows what a great package we have with the Civic.”
Shedden’s team-mate Matt Neal backed up the Flying Scotsman’s showings by taking two second places and a fourth to move into the slipstream of the new points leader. He racked up the points despite driving through the pain barrier last weekend. The former double champion fractured a bone in his hand in a martial arts exam in the weeks leading up to the race and was racing with his right hand strapped up while he was at the wheel.
“It’s funny, it didn’t hurt all the while I was racing but it is starting to ache now the adrenaline is wearing off,” said the 44-year-old. “We have had some amazing results this weekend and once again we have shown that the Honda is the best all-round package in the series.
“To bounce back from the last meeting at Snetterton, where I had two non-scores, was vital in terms of the title run in. It is going to be a fight between myself and Gordon now for the rest of the season, but we aren’t going to take our eye off the ball. There are so many competitive people in this championship and some really strong cars out there that we will have to keep pushing until the end of the season.”
The next rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, the eighth meeting of the ten events, takes place at Rockingham in Northamptonshire on September 17/18.