Derek Sheils storms to Superbike double
Burly Dubliner Derek Sheils was in scintillating form at Saturday's KDM Hire Cookstown 100 Road Races, taking a faultless Superbike double aboard his Cookstown B.E Racing Suzuki.
Mild-mannered and openly adverse to publicity, Sheils said afterwards of his Superbike double, on the immaculately prepared GSX-R1000 Suzuki: "I really enjoyed those two races. Everything went smoothly and according to plan. I can't even remember having one moment to worry about."
Sheils' first victory came in the Open Superbike race, but it was ever-present Mullingar ace Derek McGee who led briefly, but once Sheils got his nose in front - he powered his way to a 2.4 second victory.
McGee took second ahead of William Dunlop, who was still tinkering at his new R1M Temple Golf Club Yamaha, with Michael Sweeney fourth and a sombre looking Guy Martin fifth on his Honda Racing SP2 Superstock machine.
In the feature Cookstown 100 Superbike race, with Irish Championship points up for grabs, Sheils scored an emphatic victory that in short, was a demolition job on his rivals at the Orritor circuit.
At the end of eight laps of racing on the sinuous 2.1 mile track, Sheils took the chequered flag with over 11 seconds to spare over McGee, who was again second. Michael Sweeney took third this time around, making it an all Irish podium, outdoing William Dunlop in the process.
Despite not being pushed or pressurised, Sheils' fastest lap of 1min:23.09sec, was just 4/10ths of a second away from Michael Dunlop's outright lap record.
"Winning that second race was very important as championship points were available," explained Sheils.
"It was good to get the Superbike title defence off to a strong start with a maximum 25 points scored.
"It was also important to put on a good show here as it's the Burrows' Engineering Racing team's home race and a local event for sponsors Cookstown Meats.
"We had a lot of support, which is always a great help, so thanks to everyone for coming out to do so." Team owner John Burrows was equally delighted, adding: "That was a perfect job by Derek today.
"He's riding fantastically well, so quite rightly he will get the lion's share of the acclaim, but I also want to thank my team who put a superbly prepared machine under their rider."
Well known to enjoy his post race celebrations, the former racer, smiled when he concluded: "Everyone in the team will enjoy a good celebration tonight, before focusing on our North West 200 and Isle of Man TT preparations."
Earlier in the day, Adam McLean scored his debut win in the 600cc Supersport class aboard his MSS Kawasaki, The Supersport race saw the closest finish of the day, with half a second covered the top three.
That man Derek McGee was again second with James Cowton taking third place and the fastest lap of the race.
Sam Wilson took the Moto3 race win, with Adam McLean, the only rider to offer Wilson a consistent challenge, sadly retiring on lap three.
Paul Robinson took second with Justin Waring in third.
Local team McAdoo Racing secured the Supertwin race victory with Englishman James Cowton. Derek McGee completed his fistful of bridesmaid trophies with another second place. Adam McLean was third.
KDM Hire Cookstown 100 Winner - Derek Sheils; 2nd - Derek McGee +11.193sec; 3rd - Michael Sweeney +4.634sec; 4th - William Dunlop +0.491sec; 5th - James Cowton +15.660sec; 6th - Alister Kirk +5.858sec
Open Race - Non Championship Winner - Derek Sheils; 2nd - Derek McGee +2.489sec; 3rd - William Dunlop +0.457sec
Supersport Race Winner - Adam McLean; 2nd - Derek McGee +0.248sec; 3rd - James Cowton +3.002sec
Supertwin Winner - James Cowton; 2nd - Derek McGee +0.589sec; 3rd - Adam McLean +1.430sec; 4th - Michael Sweeney +3.628sec; 5th - Derek Sheils +0.183sec; 6th - Paul Jordan +4.242sec
Moto3/125GP Winner - Sam Wilson; 2nd - Paul Robinson +6.910sec; 3rd - Justin Waring +8.809sec
Lightweight Winner - Darryl Tweed; 2nd - Seamus Elliott +0.578sec; 3rd - Alastair Haworth +1.246sec