The Dunlop British Touring Car Championship came down to a nailbiting, nerve-shredding finale at a rain-lashed Brands Hatch, with Scot Gordon Shedden emerging with the coveted title.
The 33-year-old from Dalgety Bay slithered his Honda Racing Civic to second in the second race at the Kent circuit to seal the title.
But initially Shedden, the first Scot to lift the title since Galashiels’ John Cleland in 1995, wouldn’t believe the news his team was telling him on the in-car radio.
“On the last lap they came on the radio and said, ‘that’s enough, we have enough points to win the title,’” a shell-shocked Shedden, wiping tears from his eyes, explained.
“I asked: Are we sure? Are you really, really sure? And they said ‘yes’. Somehow, after that, I just had to nurse the car across the line.”
Shedden, who had entered the weekend 15 points ahead of his nearest rival Jason Plato, increased that advantage to 18 after he finished fifth, three places ahead of the MG driver, in race one.
And with his own team-mate and defending champ Matt Neal winning the opener, it set up the perfect scenario for race two.
Starting from fifth on the grid, Shedden avoided a series of first-lap incidents in the treacherously wet conditions, and eventually cruised home in second place, sandwiched between Neal in third, and the Ford of first-time winner Aron Smith.
The result sparked emotional scenes in the pitlane when Shedden finally parked his car, to be hugged by his wife, Knockhill managing director Jillian and team members.
“This is what I’ve dreamed of since I started racing,” Shedden, who also finished third in the day’s final race, behind the Toyota of Frank Wrathall, with Neal in second, explained.
“It was always my dream to get into touring cars, but to win a race, let alone the championship, was something I always aspired to.
“That fact it’s all now become reality, on a soaken wet, miserably grey and cold October afternoon at Brands Hatch is bonkers. I honestly can’t believe it.”
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