Sheils in the ‘Man’ at Walderstown

Derek Sheils, 82, just ahead of Michael Dunlop, 3, at Walderstown
Derek Sheils, 82, just ahead of Michael Dunlop, 3, at Walderstown

Cookstown Burrows Engineering Racing team owner John Burrows missed the Walderstown Road Races at the weekend due to a family holiday but his well-drilled lieutenants kept things running like clockwork and the in-form Derek Sheils emerged with the ‘Man of the Meeting’ accolade.

Sheils set the fastest lap in both Superbike encounters while he was battling for victories with Michael Dunlop.

In the Irish Superbike Championship race Sheils and his Cookstown Burrows Engineering Suzuki looked set for the win but the wily Dunlop took advantage of backmarkers on the last lap and Sheils had to settle for second place.

In the Grand Final Sheils reeled in Dunlop before making a decisive move which brought the Dubliner a well deserved victory in tricky conditions.

Sheils did the first of two warm-up laps for the race on full wets but prior to the start of the race the team’s Simon Otterson and William Davidson did a lightning quick rear wheel change which allowed Sheils to take advantage of a rear intermediate tyre.

The team’s quick thinking definitely had a bearing on the final result.

The Dubliner finished fourth in a wet 600 race that saw Derek McGee win from William Dunlop. Sheils and his Cookstown Burrows Engineering Honda 600 were edged out of third by local rider James Kelly.

In the Supertwins race Sheils took the chequered flag just ahead of Paul Jordan and thought he had secured 25 points.

However, just seconds before the chequered flag went out a red flag had been waved where Michael Sweeney had slipped off and, consequently, the result was taken from the end of the penultimate lap and a frustrated Sheils was classified as second behind Jordan.

Speaking from Portugal, Burrows was full of praise for his rider and crew.

“Derek and the boys did a great job in County Westmeath. In the two big bike races Derek once again proved he can challenge Michael Dunlop and to win the grand final is a great feather in Derek’s cap.

“Well done to the boys for the wheel change during the warm-up laps, it proves a good crew can influence results.

“I’m sure Derek would have liked to have won the Superbike Championship race too but second place keeps him well on course for the Irish superbike crown.

“We are still in strong contention for the Supertwins title but feel a little disappointed that we are not five points better off.

“The red flag robbed Derek of the win and we feel it was not really necessary to stop the race as Michael Sweeney’s crash was a minor one.

“However, we have to accept the result and I know the official who stopped the race had rider safety in mind and did what he thought was best in the heat of the moment.”

The next outing for the enterprising Cookstown Burrows Engineering Racing team is at the annual Faugheen Road Races which are on July 23 and 24.