Derek Sheils contemplating Kells return as Irish road race gets back on track for first time since 2016

Derek Sheils could be a late entry this weekend at the Kells Road Races.
Derek Sheils could be a late entry this weekend at the Kells Road Races.

Derek Sheils could be a late entry for this weekend’s Kells Road Races in Co. Meath, which are being held for the first time since 2016.

The last race at Kells to be successfully run was in 2015, with bad weather forcing the event to be cancelled the following year.

The Burrows Engineering/RK Racing rider wasn’t initially intending to compete at the event so soon after the Isle of Man TT, but Sheils says he has had a change of plan.

Although John Burrows’ team won’t be at the event in an official capacity – with Skerries up next for the Dungannon outfit – Sheils has the option of riding the Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike at Kells alongside his own Roadhouse Macau Yamaha.

He told the News Letter: “I’m toying with the idea of doing Kells and although the full Burrows team won’t be there, John has told me I can have the Superbike if I want it.

“There’s a space available for me to race there and I’ll probably go if I can get someone to come along and give me a hand with the bikes.

“After that, then the next race for us will be at Skerries in July.”

Sheils earned his best ever results in the Supersport class at the TT, finishing 11th and 12th respectively on the Roadhouse Macau Yamaha.

He also finished 13th in the Senior TT last Friday on the Burrows Suzuki, despite suffering from sickness throughout the race due to suspected food poisoning.

Sheils said: “I was pleasantly surprised with my pace on the 600 Yamaha because the Supersport class isn’t normally my strongest, but I managed to get my best results ever at the TT with 11th and 12th in the two races. With all the poor weather, I only did two laps on the bike in practice going into the first race, so I was more than happy to finish 11th.

“We improved our pace to over 123mph in the second race, which I was satisfied with given the lack of practice time on the bike.

“We got through the speed trap at a respectable 165mph as well, which is not a million miles away from the top bikes.

“It was a tough TT for both the organisers and competitors alike. We had very limited track time during practice to get the new bikes working, but it was the same for everyone. My annual bad luck at the TT continued with a dose of food poisoning on the Wednesday of race week, which meant in the races on Thursday and Friday I was really unwell and getting sick as I raced,” added Sheils, whose fastest lap of the fortnight was 127.56mph in the Senior.

“All in all, I was happy to come across the line in 13th in the Senior considering I really struggled and was vomiting on laps three and four.”

Magherafelt’s Paul Jordan, who earned a terrific fourth place finish in the Lightweight TT on the Dafabet Devitt Kawasaki, is also due to race at Kells on his 600 Yamaha.

However, Derek McGee will miss out through injury after crashing during practice at Greeba Castle at the TT.

Ballymoney’s Gary Dunlop is among the entries in the Moto3/125GP class.

Practice at Kells takes place on Saturday from 11am-7pm on the Crossakiel circuit with racing on Sunday from 8am-7pm.

Meanwhile, the fifth round of the Ulster Superbike Championship takes place on Saturday at Bishopscourt in Co. Down, where Lisburn’s Carl Phillips will be aiming to stretch his lead in the championship.

Phillips is currently 72 points clear of Alistair Kirk after winning seven of the eight races held so far.

Promoted by the Mid Antrim Club, the event will be sponsored by Classic Bike Festival Ireland. Practice commences from 9am tomorrow. Admission is £10 (children under 12 free).