Top Dublin road racer Derek Sheils has joined forces with Northern Ireland’s CD Racing team for 2013.
Sheils, a former Irish Superbike champion who won the title in 2004, will ride Kawasaki ZX-10R machinery this season for Chris Dowd’s outfit and will make his debut at the Isle of Man TT races in June.
The 30-year-old Irishman has become one of the main contenders at national level on the roads and clinched a Superbike victory at his home meeting, the Skerries 100, in 2011 to the delight of the partisan crowd.
Sheils’ potential has given fans in the Republic of Ireland hope that he can become their new hero between the hedges, filling the void left by the tragic death of Lusk star Martin Finnegan in a crash at the Tandragee 100 in 2008.
At the TT, Sheils will compete in the Dainese Superbike, Royal London 360 Superstock and Pokerstars Senior race.
He previously made his debut on the Mountain Course in the 2009 Manx Grand Prix Newcomers race on a standard-spec 675cc Triumph.
Despite poor weather conditions, Sheils lapped at over 112mph on his way to a second place finish.
In the past three years, Sheils has consistently finished in the top five at the Irish national roads races, earning podium results at Tandragee, Mid Antrim, Bush, Munster and Killalane.
He was the runner-up in the Irish Superbike and Supersport championships in 2011 and last year finished third overall in both series.
The former short circuit specialist has been offered a golden opportunity by Dowd and Paul Phillips, TT and Motorsport Manager, believes Sheils can develop into a ‘great TT rider’.
“Derek is a rider we have wanted to add to the TT entry list for some considerable time. He has consistently shown his road racing pedigree over the last few years in Ireland and I am sure the fans will eagerly anticipate his TT debut,” said Phillips.
“He has the talent to be a great TT rider and by teaming up with CD Racing...he is giving himself every chance of fulfilling his potential.”