Summer sizzler in store at Skerries 100

Derek Sheils will be looking for a win at his home race at Skerries
Derek Sheils will be looking for a win at his home race at Skerries

Derek McGee will be aiming to put his split from Wilson Craig Racing behind him at the AXA Bikecare Skerries 100, where practice gets underway on Friday afternoon.

The Mullingar rider left the Northern Ireland team in an amicable parting of ways during the week and will ride his own Yamaha R6 Supersport and Kawasaki ZX-10R machines at the popular north County Dublin road race.

McGee, who won the Irish Supersport crown in 2014, will also ride the Wogan Performance Kawasaki in the Supertwins class.

The quiet Irish rider took the runner-up spot last year in the Supersport class at Skerries behind William Dunlop and is a strong candidate for the top three again in the 600cc and Supertwins classes in particular.

Dunlop, meanwhile, returns to action in the 1000cc class at Skerries on the Tyco BMW Superstock machine for the first time since he sustained a broken rib after his crash at the Isle of Man TT at Laurel Bank during a practice lap.

The 29-year-old made a winning return on the Chris Dowd/Ivan Curran Yamaha at Kells and will start the Supersport race as the red-hot favourite on the trick YZF-R6, which clocked 177.5mph through the speed trap at Sulby.

Dunlop didn’t compete in the Superbike races at Skerries last year but is a previous winner in the Grand Final and Open races in 2011 and 2012 respectively on Wilson Craig’s Honda.

The Ballymoney man is hopeful his injury won’t pose too many problems at Skerries, when he will have a clearer indication of whether or not he will be able to cope with the S1000RR at next week’s Southern 100 on the Isle of Man, which takes place over the more physically demanding 4.25-mile Billown course.

It would be no surprise to see Michael Dunlop in action at Skerries for the first time since the TT on his MD Racing BMW, which is his sponsor Gary Ryan’s home event.

However, the 26-year-old may still be feeling the effects of his crash in the Superbike TT, which left Dunlop with an injured shoulder and groin and a broken bone in his hand and wrist.

Dublin’s Derek Sheils is confirmed for his home race and is always in contention at the 2.9-mile course, where he will ride the BikeBits NI Kawasaki machines.

Meath’s Alan Bonner will be aiming to build on his brilliant double at Kells, while Skerries man Michael Sweeney is another major contender, if he has recovered fully from his accident at the TT.

Davy Morgan, John Walsh, Seamus Elliott and Andy Farrell are other names in the hat this weekend.

Roads close today for practice on Friday from 2pm-6.30pm and on Saturday from 9.30am-6.30pm for racing.

The race schedule is as follows:

Race 1 – Senior Support (8 laps)

Race 2 – Open 201cc-1010cc (8 laps)

Race 3 – 250cc/350cc Junior Classic (7 laps)

Race 4 – 250cc/400cc Lightweight (8 laps)

Race 5 – 600cc Supersport (8 laps)

Race 6 – 125cc (8 laps)

Race 7 – Supertwins (8 laps)

Race 8 – 500cc-1000cc Senior Classic (7 laps)

Race 9 – 201cc-400cc Junior Support (8 laps)

Race 10 – Skerries 100 Grand Final (9 laps)