Stepping into the Penz 13.com BMW fold in place of Dan Kneen, Derek Sheils was on lap record pace in his maiden venture at Germany’s most famous real roads course, Frohburg.
Impressing in qualifying, Saturday’s opening open Superbike encounter yielded a fourth place finish, finishing under two seconds behind race winner, newly crowned IRRC Superbike champion Sebastien Le Grelle.
Confident he had the package to contend for rostrum’s, the following IRRC big bike encounters would see series of second place finishes secured.
In particular his performance within the final IRRC (International Road Racing Championship) race of 2017 caught the attention of many as Derek dipped under Michael Dunlop’s existing lap record, lapping at 1 minute 34.112 seconds.
Photo by Robby Repsol
This makes him now the fourth fastest rider in history at Frohburg, a truly astonishing fact given that not only he was an event debutant but also had very little time to gel with a new team in Penz 13.com and new machinery, in the form of the S1000RR BMW.
Looking back on a stellar Frohburg debut, Derek stated via Facebook:
“Great weekend in Froberg Germany with a pair of 4ths and a pair of second place finishes on the Penz 13 BMW.
I had a lot to learn over the weekend with the BMW stock bike and it’s gizmos, tyres that I haven’t rode on and been a newcomer to the circuit.
But chipped away and went quicker each time and in the last race lapped under M Dunlop’s old outright lap record to finish 2nd and two tenths off the new one that was set in the race by Danny (Webb).
Have to say I really enjoyed it and the boys there were proper scrappers in the races.
Big thanks to the Penz 13 lads, they had a solution to every problem I had and of course the usual suspects helpers sponsors supporters and of course the head navigator, John Mcgovern three sat nav’s on the go at once, just in case one was out!”
Words by Stevie Rial