Superbike Superiority at Faugheen
Cookstown Burrows Engineering Racing made the long journey to Faugheen but it was certainly a worthwhile trip as their star rider Derek Sheils won both Superbike races and set a new circuit outright lap record as well as taking podium finishes in the Supersport and Supertwins races.
Sheils won the Superbike Championship race on the Cookstown Burrows Engineering GSXR 1000 by six seconds from Derek McGee and in doing so Sheils regained the points lead which he had let slip at Walderstown. He now leads the series by a slim two points from the Mullingar Missile.
When it came to the Grand Final, Sheils' margin of victory was an even more emphatic sixteen seconds and despite not having to venture out of his comfort zone the Dubliner set a new outright lap record. He covered the 2.2 miles of Tipperary tarmac in a rapid 1min 14.39, one and a half seconds quicker than the best of his rivals.
Sheils narrowly missed out on a hat-trick when he finished second to Paul Jordan in the Supersport 600 race. Only seven tenths of a second separated the pair at the end of the six laps race.
There was a blanket finish too in the Supertwins race with six tenths of a second covering the top three. Joe Loughlin took the chequered flag just ahead of McGee with Sheils and his Cookstown Burrows Engineering 650 Kawasaki completing the top three.
Sheils was happy with his day's work: "Two wins, four podiums in total, an outright lap record and the whole thing was topped off with a spin on Joey Dunlop's RC45 which was something very special for me.
"In the Superbike Championship race McGee passed me going into the first corner but I immediately struck back and pulled away gradually, keeping a close eye on my pit board. In the Grand Final I was never headed, kept my head down, got the lap record, and again just kept watching the gap increase on my pit board.
"In the 600 race Paul took the lead on lap two and pulled away a little. I made a late charge and closed on him but I ran out of laps. It was a similar story in the Supertwins race. I was strong at the end and caught the top two but it was a case of too little, too late. Overall, a great day."
Team owner John Burrows was equally satisfied: "Derek completely dominated the two Superbike races but also proved he can be really competitive in the other classes. He was not far from wins in the Supersport and Supertwins races. It was a great day for Cookstown Burrows Engineering Racing but tinged with sadness as we heard about the passing of Florence Burns who was a great supporter of the team and indeed of all road racing. Condolences to the Burns family."Armoy is next up for us but we have a problem. Derek cannot make it to Armoy on the Friday for qualifying as he has best man duties at Emmett Bannon's wedding. However, we hope to be on the grids for racing on Saturday if Bill Kennedy and the Armoy MRRC can accommodate us. If we get the green light the plan would be to give Derek his mandatory practice laps on Saturday morning and then have him start the races from either the second or third wave. That would be a challenge for us but one I'm sure we could rise to."