Sunday, December 10

Derek Sheils Pre-Macau Interview

AQ: When do you get to Macau?

DS: I leave on the Wednesday before practice week.

AQ: And when will you actually get track time?

DS: Should get out on the Friday.

AQ: What’s the format for practice with cars also involved in the race?

DS: They literally wait for first light in the morning; they line you up on pit lane as soon as it’s bright and let you off. You’re up at 4.30am! Down to the paddock in the dark, getting things ready and waiting to get out.

AQ: Who’s travelling with you from the team?

DS: John Burrows, Matty Dickson, Simon Otterson and John McGovern, so almost a full team from home coming all the way over. It’s a big commitment from their side to be here for the race.

AQ: The circuit itself is not like anything we have over here to compare to as in it’s very built up. I.e. Armco and barriers everywhere, can you really let loose on it?

DS: It’s really like any road race; you ride to a certain level. The surface over there is very good, there’s very little bumps so you can ride as hard as you dare! I don’t think personally that it’s any more dangerous than any other road race. Ya know, people say it is with armco barriers everywhere but, I can’t say that it is. You’ve less houses, piers, stone walls, gravel manhole covers. It’s a really enjoyable place to ride where you can really ride as hard as you dare but, still staying within your limits.

AQ: You’ll be GSXR shod then again, went well for you there last year?

DS: Yeah, it’s a good bike, it goes well there. We just didn’t get it setup sweet last year, the bike then started giving me arm pump which towards the end of the race left me hanging on for dear life. But the lads have it written down what setting we hard for the race last year, so we can start from there.

AQ: The operation for arm pump should help you too

DS: Yeah we’ll jump on, suck it and see where are and hopefully build from there.

AQ: Frohburg, a new track to you that you went really well there and on a new bike. IRRC Superbike Championship winner Sebastien Le Grelle was really quick out there but, yet straight away you were able to run with the top guys. How did you manage that?

DS: To be honest, I found the track easy enough to learn. I was straight away looking for places to knock off a second or two instead of trying to remember the rights from the lefts! The bike was very different to what I was used to, the electronics was massive but, there was basically an electronics guy from BMW who was changing suspension settings, auto-blipper settings. It was a lot to take on as well as the team using different tyres than I was used to. I just tipped away not changing too much, just making small changes and they all made small improvements which meant I could just keep on chippin’ away. Which was good as the pace with Sebastien and all the front runners was pretty hot! Very happy to come away with two 2nd’s and two 4th’s. It’s a quick track, very smooth with plenty of run off, (cropped fields on both side of you), so you literally ride the bike as hard as you would somewhere like Mondello park or Kirkistown!

AQ: Speaking of short circuits, you being a double Irish Masters champion, we didn’t see much of you?

DS:  I’d like to, it’s great racing. Great depth of field. I’d love to have another cut at it. It’s a huge expense though, even in the Masters with the 3 tyre rule, if I had a bad day it would leave a huge hole in my pocket. It’s prize money that keeps me racing so I can’t factor it in and risk firing the bike up the road. I’ve had some great ding-dongs at it though. I’d like to but, at the minute it just not feasible.

AQ: Thanks for your time and all the best with next year’s plans.

DS:  Cheers!

Images (c) Andy Quinn

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