Finishing fourth in Road Racing News top ten riders of the 2019 roads season is, inaugural Metzeler ‘King of the Roads’ Champion Derek Sheils.
Enjoying arguably the most productive combined National/International roads season of his career, the affable Sheils has gained praise a plenty from various road racing aficionados, fellow competitors with his consistent accomplished turn of pace on the BE Racing In Conjunction with Richardson Kelly Racing Suzuki’s.
Open class victor at Cookstown and Tandragee, Sheils latest North West 200 expedition saw him it’s fair to say surprise some by placing a fine fourth ahead of leading names including NW200 wins record holder Alastair Seeley, within the sole Superbike encounter.
Lead Suzuki runner in the RST Superbike, Dunlop Senior races, TT 2019 also yielded two top 12 finishes in the Monster Energy Supersport encounters, as Sheils piloting the Roadhouse Macau Yamaha, proved his calibre on middleweight class machinery.
Following TT 2019, the long term BE Racing supported rider went onto hit a hot streak of form, which began with Open, Grand Final victories at the revived Kells meeting.
Photo by Rod Neill
Feature race winner at Skerries, open race victor at Walderstown, Armoy ‘Race of Legends’ runner-up, he went onto record four successive big bike triumph’s combined from action at Faugheen and Cork (Munster 100).
Not surprisingly given his impeccable season at national roads events, Sheils wrapped up at Cork for the third time the Irish Road Race Superbike Championship title.
Three times a top six finisher at the FonaCAB Ulster Grand Prix, Sheils would star at the following growing in popularity Classic TT Races.
Fourth within the Locate.im Junior race, the yesteryear Superbike encounter proved more than a touch tumultuous for the Greenall Racing Kawasaki mounted rider, who acquired a hard earned maiden podium finish from Mountain Course affiliated competition, edging out 2013 Lightweight TT winner James Hillier for second place.
Underrated at times but hugely respected by many within the pure roads community, you can’t but not be impressed by Sheils achievements throughout 2019, which consolidate his place amongst the leading roads talents worldwide.
Words by Stevie Rial