HOME HERO SHEDDEN SAYS BTCC AT KNOCKHILL IS 'MUST-SEE' EVENT 'Home hero' Gordon Shedden believes Scotland's round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at the Knockhill circuit this coming Sunday (5 September) is a must-see event...
HOME HERO SHEDDEN SAYS BTCC AT KNOCKHILL IS 'MUST-SEE' EVENT
'Home hero' Gordon Shedden believes Scotland's round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at the Knockhill circuit this coming Sunday (5 September) is a must-see event for both die-hard motoring racing enthusiasts and casual sports fans alike.
The Dalgety Bay racer (pictured leading) currently lies fourth in the drivers' standings of what is the UK's - and one of the world's - most prestigious motor racing championships. He knows Sunday's three races at the Fife circuit will be crucial to his chances of joining past greats such as Jim Clark and John Cleland as a BTCC Champion.
Knockhill's round of the BTCC is also the only time all year the championship is in action outside of England so its arrival traditionally makes for a huge occasion at what is Scotland's top motor sport venue.
Shedden, who races a Honda Civic for the factory-supported Honda Racing Team squad, commented: "It is one of Scotland's biggest sporting events of the year, no doubt about it. Today, tomorrow and Thursday there are going to be hundreds of these huge race trucks that spend the year travelling around the UK this time crossing the Forth Road Bridge and then descending on Knockhill, not just for the BTCC teams but for all the teams in the support series as well.
"That's the beauty of this event. The public are getting three BTCC races on Sunday and then loads more on top with the supporting categories and I'm proud to say we've got some really good Scottish drivers in those as well.
"The BTCC at Knockhill is just an awesome spectacle and appeals to so many different kinds of people from all across the country. Sure, the motor sport fans will be out in force - for many it's their only chance to see the BTCC this year - but it's a social occasion as much as it is a sporting event. There's great variety on the grid - Honda, Ford, BMW, Chevrolet, Vauxhall, VW, SEAT - and the cars resemble the types of cars that people drive everyday on the road whether it's to work, to the shops or on the school run. Only of course they are being driven at impossible speeds! And the public get to meet the stars of the show - there's an open paddock policy and a designated driver autograph session which probably makes the BTCC unique when compared to other top-line sports."
Shedden says it was watching the BTCC at Knockhill as a child that made him want to become a racing driver and now, almost two decades on, he finds himself fighting for the same coveted trophy won by Cleland in the Nineties.
He added: "The championship's been coming here for nearly 20 years now and I don't think in that time the crowds have ever had one dull race. I recall watching John Cleland win here many years ago and being part of the crowd - the atmosphere is something I'll never forget. It was a huge inspiration for me and now I'm the one they're cheering for around the track which is an amazing feeling.
"We're at the stage where the championship fight starts to get a bit more dramatic. After Knockhill we've only Donington Park and Brands Hatch to sort it all out so this weekend is going to be very important to those still in the hunt. We've just got what are possibly our worst two circuits out of the way - at Snetterton and Silverstone - but are still in touch with the leaders and now comes Knockhill, a circuit that we believe will be much better for the Honda. It's twisty and up and down - a bit like a rollercoaster ride but you don't know if you're ever going to reach the end. The Honda is fantastic on the brakes and cornering so hopefully it's our kind of territory."
Adding to the non-stop entertainment during Knockhill's BTCC event this weekend will be 11 more races for the high-profile Ginetta Junior, Ginetta G50, Porsche Carrera, Renault Clio and Formula Renault support series which provide the very best in saloon, sportscar, GT and single-seater action in the country. Notably, Inverness's Dave Newsham can be crowned Renault Clio Cup champion at Knockhill, while Lewis Williamson (Golspie) is gunning for the Formula Renault title. Rapid youngster Glynn Geddie (Aberdeen) and, making a one-off appearance, Rory Butcher (Kirckaldy) will be out for Porsche glory and ex-BTCC racer Jonathan Adam (Kinghorn) will race the Ginetta G50 series' 'guest car'.