Belfast Telegraph

Sheils on target for Tandragee 100 success after dramatic showdowns

 

Revved up: Derek Sheils has made good start to season
Revved up: Derek Sheils has made good start to season

By Roy Harris

The new-look Burrows Engineering-Richardson Kelly Racing team got their 2019 Irish road racing campaign off to a positive start at Cookstown last week and Derek Sheils looks to continue their run during the Around A Pound Tandragee 100.

Sheils returns to Tandragee - practice and qualifying start this afternoon, roads closing 3pm - following first and third place finishes a year ago after terrific scraps with Derek McGee, Michael Sweeney and the late Dan Kneen around the technical 5.344mile circuit that is arguably the best of the Irish national venues.

Competing on the new BE-RK Racing GSX-R1000 Suzuki, Sheils said: "We are still learning with the new bike, trying to get the set-up we need for the small national circuits. John (Burrows) has put a lot of work into the bike and we certainly took a lot of positives away from Cookstown that we can build on at Tandragee.

"I hope we get better conditions this weekend, as the wind was a big problem at Cookstown, especially in the second Superbike race in which I thought I had the pace to win, but the race was stopped and the result taken on three laps when I was in second spot. We'll just have to make sure we are in the lead all the way at Tandragee!"

Practice begins tomorrow morning at Oulton Park in Cheshire for the second round of the British Superbike Championship and after round one at Silverstone, Ballinamallard rider Josh Elliott on the OMG Suzuki sits proudly joint top after a win and a second place finish.

Elliott, who celebrates his 25th birthday on Tuesday, said: "This is my first full season in Superbikes and if someone had predicted those results, I would have said they were a bit crazy.

"Our aim this weekend has to be top six and aiming towards the Showdown later in the season. I hadn't ridden a Superbike around Oulton until the test last week and it was hard work."

Andrew Irwin, after two top eight finishes at Silverstone on the Honda Racing Fireblade, is looking to replicate previous success at Oulton.

He said: "I've done well here so I know I can be competitive."

Brother Glenn, still adapting to the new ZX-10RR JG Speedfit Quattro Plant Kawasaki, said: "I want to be at the sharp end."

The Jack Kennedy-Alastair Seeley Yamaha skirmishes are set to continue in British Supersport at Oulton and after two narrow wins at Silverstone, Kennedy holds a slight advantage going into the opening Sprint race on Sunday.

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