John Burrows' Cookstown BE racing team have announced that they will be running two riders, Dubliner Derek Sheils and Davey Todd from Saltburn, near Middlesbrough, in a two pronged attack on the 2018 road racing season, although Sheils will only compete for the team in Irish national events.
Sheils is entering his third season riding for the John Burrows owned team, while for 22-year old Todd, a British Superbikes National Superstock winner in 2016, this is a golden opportunity, having burst onto the Irish scene on his road race debut at Skerries earlier this year with top five results.
He then shocked the local scene with a second place finish behind Irish champion Derek McGee in the opening Supersport race during the Race of Legends meeting at Armoy where he also finished third in the Open race behind Michael Dunlop and McGee.
The Dungannon based team will have Suzuki support and Todd will ride one of the latest specification GSXR 1000cc machines in Superbike and Superstock classes as well as having machines for Supersport and Supertwins events.
Todd said: "This is the opportunity I have been waiting for and I'm very grateful to John Burrows for giving me this shot. I'll have proven competitive machinery and I believe I can run at the front on a regular basis in the national events. I'll be a newcomer at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT, but I'm working hard for these events, the aim being to make safe progress.
"I feel I can be competitive at the Ulster, having lapped at over 125mph in the Supersport class in August and was chasing a top six when bad luck struck."
Sheils needs no introduction, being a former Irish Superbike champion and 2016 Irish road race champion, said: "I'm happy to have signed with Cookstown BE for another Irish national campaign. My aim is simply to win as many races as possible on the big Suzuki and if I keep doing that, the Superbike championship will look after itself"
John Burrows commented: "I'm delighted to have Derek back on board again for the national events.
"Unfortunately I won't have his services at the international events, but we are both fully committed to getting the number one plate back on the front of the Cookstown Burrows Engineering Suzuki on which he has had so many successes over the past two years.
"Davey Todd first caught my eye at Skerries and then his talent stuck out a mile at Armoy. He rode for us at Killalane where a slow speed crash ruled him out of a top three Superbike finish
"He did enough to make me to want him for 2018. We are a proven team when it comes to nurturing talent and I'm excited to have the chance to bring new blood through to the top level of road racing.
"We've done it before with the likes of Dan Kneen and we will try to make Davey just as successful, but without putting undue pressure on him.
"I'm confident I will have another great year with Derek and Davey in the saddles and the increased involvement from Suzuki as well as continued support from Cookstown."