Derek Sheils wants wins in 2018 season with Penz13 outfit
Derek Sheils, who finished second in both the Irish Supersport and Superbike Road Race championships this year, has been announced as the Team Penz13 BMW Motorrad Motorsport rider for the Isle of Man TT races and three major European road events in 2018.
Sheils will also continue to compete for the Cookstown BE team in all Irish National road races.
Dubliner Sheils deputised in the Penz13 team for Dan Kneen at Frohburg in Germany earlier this year and so impressed the German team's owner, Rico Penzkofer, that it was felt he would be the perfect fit for the vacant seat in the team for 2018 following Kneen's move to Tyco BMW for next season.
Sheils will have at his disposal the latest BMW machinery in Superstock and Superbike specification for the Gustav Havel event at Horice in the Czech Republic, which the team use as a test prior to their main event: the Isle of Man TT.
In addition, the 35-year-old will join the team for race meetings at Imatra in Finland, the Joey Dunlop Open in Frohburg and the Macau Grand Prix.
"I am grateful for the support of John Burrows in giving me the opportunity to sign for Penz13 for the TT," said Sheils.
"I enjoyed my stand-in race in Frohburg in September and felt that the BMW is the right bike to step up into the world's top league of road racers. I am obviously aiming high and hope to finish all my TT races within the top 10, but also take some race victories over in Europe."
Penzkofer said: "I didn't know much about Derek until he rode for us at Frohburg but immediately saw that he would fit perfectly into our team as a replacement for Dan."
Meanwhile there is a distinctly frosty stand-off between the Motorcycle Union of Ireland (Ulster Centre) and their southern counterparts Motorcycling Ireland at short circuit commission level after MCI short circuit committee took a decision not to run any Irish championship short circuit events in 2018.
This decision came after they tried without success to restructure the series so there would be less rounds, a minimum of two weekends between rounds and no more than one event per month in any centre.
In 2017 there were nine rounds within the Ulster Centre - at Bishopscourt, Kirkistown and St Angelo - and three at Mondello Park within MCI jurisdiction.
Unable to reach any agreement with the Ulster Centre, regretfully they decided to not apply for any rounds of the Irish Championship for 2018, the outcome being no championship for 2017 Irish Superbike champion Charles Stuart to defend.
Ulster Centre Chairman John McCallister said: "The Centre are committed to finding a resolution to the current situation regarding Irish Championship events. We want this resolved this side of Christmas and will work tirelessly to achieve it."