JOINING exciting young gun Malachi Mitchell-Thomas in the Cookstown/Burrows Engineering Racing team for 2016 is multi Irish Champion Derek Sheils. The Dublin flyer will ride an ex-TAS Racing Suzuki GSXR 1000 Superbike for the John Burrows owned team in the Irish Road Racing Superbike Championship.

Burrows said: "I'm delighted to welcome Derek to the Cookstown/Burrows Engineering Racing team. Derek is a proven race and title winner and I'm hoping he can challenge for the Irish Superbike title we won in 2014. I have known Derek since 2002 when we did battle for the Irish Clubmans Senior crown so I know all about his qualities and ability."

Sheils was Irish Short Circuit Superbike Champion in 2004 and won the pure road racing equivalent title in 2013 ahead of Michael Dunlop and Jamie Hamilton. Sheils has also won the Mondello Masters Superbike series twice, most recently last year when he won eleven of the fourteen races. Sheils finished second to William Dunlop in last season's Irish Road Racing Superbike Championship and was very disappointed to do so as he explained.

"I missed the Irish Superbike races at Kells and Tandragee last year and that cost me the Irish title, William pipped me by just six points. I won the races at Skerries, Walderstown and Faugheen and also beat William at Cookstown and Killalane but the two non-starts left me with just too much to do.

"I'll be aiming to win the title for myself and Cookstown/Burrows Engineering Racing in 2016. Once I get familiar with the big Suzuki I'll be hoping to pick up race wins. I am very happy to be joining such a professional team, the crew are all sound lads and I've known John for almost fifteen years. I spoke to him about joining his team in previous years but it didn't happen until now, I'm more than happy with the deal that gives me a great bike and back up team. Thanks to John as well as all my personal sponsors and supporters."

Watch out in the near future for more exciting news from Cookstown/Burrows Engineering Racing regarding their Supertwins plans for the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT events.

Derek Sheils fans should note that there is a fundraiser for the Dubliner on Friday, February 19th, in the Green Isle Hotel (Clondalkin) which is just two minutes off the M50. Kick off is 8.00 pm.