Cookstown 100: Derek Sheils hoping to continue big bike dominance

Sheils will compete in the new livery of the Burrows/RK Racing team in 2019
Sheils will compete in the new livery of the Burrows/RK Racing team in 2019

Derek Sheils will aim to continue his dominance of the 'big bike' races at the Cookstown 100 when he competes over the Orritor circuit this weekend.

Sheils has won the last five Superbike races held over the 3.2-mile course, achieving doubles in the feature and Open events in 2016 and 2017.

The Dubliner will ride a 1000cc Suzuki for the Burrows Engineering/Richardson Kelly team, plus a Supersport Yamaha.

Adam McLean, Derek McGee, Paul Jordan and Michael Sweeney provide opposition.

Tobermore rider McLean emerged unscathed from a crash at Easter Monday's Ulster Superbike meeting at Kirkistown, having earlier added a Supersport win to his double in the same class at Bishopscourt on Saturday.

The McAdoo Racing Kawasaki pilot was named man of the meeting at Cookstown last year.

Mullingar man McGee collected the same award 12 months earlier and the triple Irish road race champion will ride an ex-Grand Prix Moto3 machine, as well as Kawasakis in the Superbike, Supersport and Supertwin categories.

Magherafelt man Jordan was the winner of the second Supersport outing at Kirkistown and will be keen to show form ahead of the upcoming international races.

Czech riders Michal Dokoupil and Veronica Hancokvy will be joined on the grid by Dutch competitor Nadieh Schoots, who will be making her first appearance at an Irish national road race.

Among the riders making their debuts at the event will be former Manx Grand Prix winner Tom Weeden, the 24-year-old from Kent joining Sheils in the Burrows team.

The lap record for the circuit stands to Michael Dunlop from 2013 at 91.48mph and with the weather forecast looking changeable that benchmark may not come under threat.

Roads close for practice at 12:00 BST on Friday, with a four-race programme scheduled for Friday evening, including the first Open race, after 17 practice sessions.

Roads will close on Saturday at 10:00 for a scheduled 12-race programme.

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