Dublin rider Derek Sheils will be hoping to leave his Isle of Man TT travails behind him as he bids to return to winning ways at the AXA Bikecare Country Crest Skerries 100.
Sheils endured a miserable run of luck around the Mountain Course as he failed to finish any of the four races he started, although he did have the consolation of becoming the fastest rider ever from the Republic of Ireland to lap the 37.73-mile course at 128.78mph in the Senior.
The 33-year-old has been in terrific form on John Burrows’ Cookstown B.E. Racing Suzuki Superbike in particular this season, securing wins at the Tandragee and Cookstown Irish National meetings and finishing sixth in the opening Superbike race at the North West 200.
Team boss Burrows said: “I felt devastated for Derek and for all the team as after massive preparation efforts we didn’t get one finish at the TT.
“I felt our machine preparation this year was as good as it could have been but sometimes mechanical problems arise that you just can’t legislate for and that was the case in all four races.
“I hope we can get back to winning ways at Skerries and extend our lead in the Irish Superbike points table.”
Sheils will be especially keen to put on a show in front of his home fans at the Loughshinny Club’s meeting in North County Dublin.
He will start as the big favourite in the Open and Grand Final races in the absence of Michael and William Dunlop – both regulars at Skerries – who will miss the event this weekend to attend the Festival of Speed at Goodwood, where a special tribute is taking place to mark 40 years of the legendary Dunlop racing dynasty.
His main rivals include Derek McGee from Mullingar and Michael Sweeney, who hails from the village of Skerries.
Magherafelt’s Paul Jordan is another rider hoping for a change of luck this weekend.
Jordan made his debut at the Isle of Man TT but was left battered and bruised after a crash on his Supertwin Kawasaki at Sarah’s Cottage in practice.
The 25-year-old has been plagued by an issue with his 600cc Kawasaki this year due to a lack of low down power, but Jordan hopes the problem will be resolved as he sets his sights on a more fruitful second half of the season.
He is also set to ride the Evolution Camping BMW Superstock machine this weekend at Skerries along with his Kawasaki Supertwin.
Practice is underway, with roads reopening no later than 9.30pm on Friday evening.
on Saturday, roads will close from 9am sharp for a 13-race bill.
Admission is £20 (including programme).