GORDON SHEDDEN has vowed to roar back from what he described as a “bitter” weekend after his British Touring Car Championship lead was wiped out.

The reigning champion was on course to recover from a difficult opening two races during the second weekend of the competition at Donnington Park last Sunday by romping home to victory in the final event – only to be stripped of that success.

After taking the chequered flag in emphatic style, ‘Flash’ was left reeling when it was revealed that his Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R had failed its post-race ride height checks, resulting in his exclusion from the final classification and loss of 20 crucial points.

Having gone into the second race weekend at the top of the standings, Shedden, business development manager at Knockhill, has dropped to fourth as he pursues a third successive championship and an historic fourth overall.

The 38-year-old lined up alongside team-mate Matt Neal on the third row of the grid for race one. While Neal fought through to finish second, Shedden, on maximum success ballast by dint of his championship lead, clung on to finish seventh.

On the harder-compound tyre in the day’s second outing, the champion then exhibited all of his remarkable car control to pull off an astonishing save on his way to sixth before the drama of the final race.

Shedden produced a virtuoso performance to speed to an unchallenged victory in a rain-soaked finale, blitzing around the outside of Newsham at Redgate to take the lead and subsequently romping across the line in first place.

However, the technical infringement provided a late sting in the tail and he reflected: “That was a real rollercoaster of a weekend that unfortunately ended on a bitter note for us. The first two races were a bit of a struggle, with maximum ballast in the first of them and hard tyres in the second, but we battled hard and came away with a couple of very solid results.

“The reversed grid then gave us a chance to really push on in race three and the Civic Type R was mega in the tricky conditions. Once I’d got into the lead, I was able to consistently pull away and manage the gap, so to subsequently be stripped of such a commanding victory was massively disappointing.

“It’s cost us the championship lead but not our momentum, and we’ll be back fighting harder than ever at Thruxton next time out to redress the balance.”

Shedden will go into rounds seven, eight and nine of the championship on May 6-7 on 67 points, 19 adrift of new leader Tom Ingram.