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BTCC king Shedden goes head to head with McGuinness at Knockhill

Isle of Man TT legend John McGuinness and reigning British Touring Car champ Gordon Shedden swapped seats at Knockhill yesterday as they got to grips with each other’s Honda Fireblade and Civic Type R.

Both rely on Honda power, both are Dunlop tyre-shod and both men had yearned for the chance to take on the challenge: McGuinness taking the wheel of Shedden’s Honda Civic Type R while Shedden jumped on the Fireblade that had taken the Lancastrian to his Superbike and Senior TT victories, not forgetting his 132.701mph lap of the Mountain Course.

It wasn't meant to be competitive, though both men went for it in a big way, and were well pleased with their experiences and times, though they were not giving them away. But fair to say both could make the transition into each other's racing discipline with not too much trouble.


Shedden, fresh from racing the Fife circuit the previous day in the BTCC, soon realised how serious it was all going to be when McGuinness was studying the computer data from the races to compare with his own performance at the wheel of the car.

“Getting into the car was just a fantastic experience – I’m still buzzing about it. Okay, bikes are my main passion but I have a taste for this and maybe will have a go in a car race,” said McGuinness. “We had both been chipping away at Honda and Dunlop to give us this opportunity, and it was something special to drive a £300,000 Championship-winning car.  Gordon helped me to get a feel, and then it was a case of getting the clog down.

“I got a real feel for what it was like in his office, and he did mine – I think Gordon does himself an injustice as he is far better than he thinks aboard my TT-winning bike – he was solid.  As for me, I enjoyed the car where the biggest difference was the corner speed, the braking, and the grip from those four big Dunlop slicks.  In fairness the transition from bike to car is probably easier than the other way, you’ve got the roll cage around you, you are strapped into a comfort zone compared to being on the bike.”

Shedden was equally excited and thrilled with his experiences. “Riding John’s TT-winning bike was a real privilege – there can’t be many who can say that they have ridden it. I though about what it would be like, but as soon as I went out on the track it exceeded all of my expectations.

“It is an animal, trying to rip your arms out of your shoulders. The braking capabilities, the grip from the Dunlops, it is just an absolutely phenomenal machine – this has been like Christmas for me in August to have this opportunity.  Great to ride here, would I ride the TT course on it? No – John is welcome to that…”

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