Armoy Club rules out prospect of Saturday practice for Derek Sheils

Derek Sheils in action on the Cookstown B.E. Racing Suzuki at Faugheen on Sunday, where he won both Superbike races.
Derek Sheils in action on the Cookstown B.E. Racing Suzuki at Faugheen on Sunday, where he won both Superbike races.
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Derek Sheils will not compete at this weekend’s Armoy Road Races.

The Cookstown B.E. Racing team was holding out hope that an accommodation could be reached to allow Sheils to complete his mandatory five practice laps on Saturday, with the Dublin man unable to participate in Friday’s practice sessions due to his commitments as the best man at a close friend’s wedding.

Derek Sheils finished as the runner-up in the feature 'Race of Legends' at Armoy behind Michael Dunlop in 2016.

Derek Sheils finished as the runner-up in the feature 'Race of Legends' at Armoy behind Michael Dunlop in 2016.

However, a statement issued by Armoy Motorcycle Road Racing Club on Wednesday morning said: “It is with much regret that the Armoy Motorcycle Road Racing Club has confirmed that Derek Sheils will not be riding in the Armoy Road Races at the weekend.

“Derek cannot attend practice on Friday due to personal commitments and the Club cannot allow someone to carry out their statutory requirement of five practice laps on Saturday between races.

“Grid positions for Saturday’s races are placed on Friday night. Some of the races are already oversubscribed and there are only 27 spaces on the grid. There will be non-qualifying races run to cater for this. Some 20 entries were also returned post the closing date for entries.

“It would be extremely unfair to other riders to try and slot in one rider. The Club is a big fan of Derek Sheils but sadly practice laps cannot take place on the Saturday.”

In response, Sheils issued the following statement on his Facebook page on Wednesday: 'I have been asking about this situation since the TT and John [Burrows] has been asking since the NW200 as I understand - way before entries were full I'd imagine. We were never told we could land on the Sat and race.

'It's due to them not seeing it fair to slot me in on the grid I didn't qualify for. It is not a late entry/full issue.

'A way around that I could see is time my 5 laps and slot me into a grid position based on my time; I'm not sure if that could work on the timekeepers behalf.

'I know Bill [Kennedy] and the team run a great meeting and they are just trying to do what the rulebook says.

'From my point of view it's disappointing to throw away the possibility of winning two championships in this fashion for myself, the team, my sponsors and supporters.
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