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The Race to the Championship: Gordon Shedden

Right from the first round, it was clear Gordon Shedden was going to be a title contender. A second place in a race one and a win in race two was just the start of another successful campaign for the Scotsman. Whilst he doesn’t quite have the same consistency as his team mate, Shedden has more stand out performances and more wins than almost any other driver this season.

shedden-points

Gordon Shedden’s championship points

Shedden was the second best placed driver on the grid for the first race of the season after a fantastic opening qualifying put him on the front row of the grid. Though he wasn’t able to put up much of a challenge to pole sitter Tom Ingram, he did keep his place, ahead of team mate Matt Neal, to take a second place.

If Halfords Yuasa Racing could want any more from their first race, they got it in race two, when Shedden went one place higher to take the team’s first win of the championship.

The reverse grid race, as always, was a little trickier. With maximum success ballast on board, Shedden struggled to move forwards from his starting position, and a late puncture took away any chance of a decent finish as he retired from the race.

It wasn’t ideal, but not a bad opening weekend for Shedden, who was already proving he wasn’t going to let go of his newly earned title easily.

Things were a little trickier at Donington Park. Despite qualifying on the second row of the grid, Shedden found himself moving backwards on the opening lap, crossing the start/finish line after lap one down in seventh. The soft compound and success ballast made a recovery even harder, and the Scotsman eventually crossed the line eleventh.

Success ballast and soft tyres disposed of, Shedden set about proving Brands Hatch wasn’t a fluke, cutting through the field in the second race of the weekend to eventually take a fourth place finish. The reverse grid moved him back a place to start fifth, but Shedden was able to move forwards again this time. There was no getting past his team mate, and pole position starter Sam Tordoff put up a fight, but Shedden was eventually able to take second place, rounding off a Honda 1-2 for the team.

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Things looked like they were back on track, but a disappointing qualifying for Shedden put him eleventh on the grid for the first race at Thruxton. Still, there was plenty of chance to improve, and the Scotsman did just that.

Slowly but surely, Shedden made his way up through the field until he’d managed to move up to sixth, where he could see his team mate, who had started much further up the field.

That was where the improvement ended.

Neal had been sent into a spin after making contact with another car, and Shedden was caught up in the drama that followed. It send the Scotsman into the pit wall and out of the race.

Luckily for both drivers, the team were able to repair the cars for the second race of the weekend, but it left another nasty “DNF” on Shedden’s score sheet. Things went better in race two, where Shedden was able to make it all the way up to fourth after starting at the back of the grid, but disaster struck again in race three.

Shedden was battling at the front of the field, trying to get past West Surrey Racing’s Jack Goff in the closing stages of the race. The BMW driver “twitched under breaking”, according to Honda’s twitter feed, catching Shedden and sending the Scot out of the race. It was now three DNFs in nine races, and Shedden was beginning to lose sight of the championship.

It was a long season, though, with plenty of points left to be had.

Shedden put the retirements behind him after Thruxton, bouncing straight back with two fourth places at Oulton Park. He would have to wait until Snetterton for his next taste of the podium, but a second place and then a win was more than worth the wait.

Two more wins and a handful of top ten finishes whilst the West Surrey Racing team faced difficulties brought Shedden right back into the title mix.

shedden-finishes

A break down of Shedden’s finishes this season

He heads to Brands Hatch second in the chase, but he’ll have to take eleven more points than Tordoff to bring him level with the championship leader. It’s not a great task, seeing as Shedden has been closing in on Tordoff over the last few rounds, but Shedden will also have to think about his team mate and the other drivers all waiting to jump at the chance to take the championship if he wants to defend his title.

Photo credit: Caroline Rhea

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