The Scot held off from Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan in the closing laps to capitalise on yesterday’s pole position.
Aron Smith, Mat Jackson, Rob Collard, Nick Foster, Tom Onslow-Cole, Rob Austin and Will Bratt all took the decision to run the softer option tyre in the opening race. After a disappointing performance from Brands Hatch, all eyes were looking to see if in the warmer conditions, they would hold on throughout the sixteen lap race distance.
The start of the race saw Shedden get off the line well, with Andrew Jordan jumping from his third starting position ahead of the Toyota of Frank Wrathall going into the first corner. Matt Neal also had a good start in the second Honda Yuasa Racing Civic.
Adam Morgan, who had a fantastic qualifying session yesterday, was battling with eBay’s Colin Turkington for sixth going through Coppice. Further down the field, Jeff Smith was looking to take thirteenth place from the VW of Tom Onslow-Cole, sneaking past under braking through the final chicane. Smith’s move allowed Speedworks’ Ollie Jackson to take a look, with Rob Austin in the Wix Racing Audi also joining in the battle.
Whilst there was no change in the lead, with Shedden now over a second ahead of Jordan, Colin Turkington in the eBay Motors BMW was busy defending from Dave Newsham who was looking to take eighth. Ahead of them, the two young drivers Adam Morgan and Sam Tordoff were dicing for seventh.
Jeff Smith continued to make progress through the field as he took twelfth from Rob Collard, dropping the eBay Motors driver into the clutches of Onslow-Cole. The pair battled for thirteenth through the Craner Curves with Onlsow-Cole securing the position. A mistake from Rob Collard later on saw Rob Austin go through to take fourteenth.
Sam Tordoff, having made a move for fifth early on, went off the track going through the Old Hairpin, which allowed both Adam Morgan and Frank Wrathall to go through. Those drivers running the soft tyres were now starting to fall back through the order during the final laps. One of those drivers struggling was Airwaves Racing’s Mat Jackson, who after going wide at Coppice, allowed the two Smiths, Aron and Jeff, to go through, leaving Jackson having to settle for twelfth.
Andrew Jordan had closed down the gap to Gordon Shedden over the final lap, but held on to his position to take second, with Shedden taking the first win of the weekend for Honda Yuasa Racing. Team mate Matt Neal came home in third to make it a full Honda podium, with Jason Plato, who had battled hard during the race in fourth.
Aron Smith was the first of the soft tyre runners to finish, with none of them making it into the top ten. In the Jack Sears category, James Kaye took the win in nineteenth ahead of Liam Griffin and Joe Girling.
A disappointing race for Dan Welch saw him dive into the pits after the starting formation lap with a driveshaft issue, starting from the pitlane after his Welch Motorsport crew made a hasty change. Further problems during the race saw him retire after eleven laps.
With the second race due at approximately 14:30, we will be looking to see what Matt Neal and Jason Plato can do as they reach their milestones of 500 and 400 race starts respectively. Neal will also be looking to take his fiftieth race victory this weekend.
Race One Classification:
1. Gordon Shedden
2. Andrew Jordan
3. Matt Neal
4. Jason Plato
5. Adam Morgan
6. Sam Tordoff
7. Frank Wrathall
8. Colin Turkington
9. Dave Newsham
10. Jeff Smith
11. Aron Smith
12. Mat Jackson
13. Tom Onslow-Cole
14. Rob Austin
15. Rob Collard
Fastest lap: Adam Morgan – 1:10:573 – Lap 3 By Nikki Thompson