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Derek Sheils weighing up options for 2021 as Irish road races hit hard by Covid-19

by / Friday, 29 January 2021 / Published in Blog / News, Motor Bike Racing, Road Racing

By Kyle, White Belfast Newsletter

Leading Irish road racer Derek Sheils is considering taking on a different challenge in 2021 following the cancellation or postponement of almost all national meetings due to Covid-19.

At present, the only Irish road races set to go ahead are Armoy and Skerries in July, and the Cookstown 100, which has been postponed until September.

It is the second successive year that the sport has been hit hard by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with Cookstown the only national race held in 2020.

For Sheils, who won the Irish and Ulster Superbike titles in 2019, the latest series of setbacks have forced him to have a rethink over his options this year.

The Wicklow man is eager for more track time on his new Roadhouse Macau-backed BMW S1000RR, which he only rode on the roads for the first time at the Cookstown last September, making a winning debut with victory in the Open race.

One possibility Sheils is weighing up is competing in selected rounds of the National Superstock 1000 Championship.

“It’s just so uncertain at the moment and you don’t know how to make a plan for any racing when there’s nothing happening,” Sheils said.

“I was in contact with Stuart (Higgs, BSB Series Director) to enquire about doing some of the British Superstock 1000 rounds and there is availability, so that’s something I might look at.

“I might have to go down that route just to get some racing done this year, but I know that it wouldn’t be an option for me if I had to self-isolate when I would come back from England. That wouldn’t work for me with my work commitments.

“It’s a case of wait and see and the vaccines are probably going to play a big part in things as well,” added the Wicklow man.

“If the Classic TT goes ahead then I’d have the chance to go back there and race, but at the minute you can’t be confident of anything.”

A decision on this year’s Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix festival is expected by the end of March.

The Southern 100 at Billown on the Isle of Man is scheduled for July, while a series of race meetings are planned at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough, including the Steve Henshaw Gold Cup event in September.


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