2017 marked the most successful campaign for the Penz13 BMW Motorrad Motorsport team in real road racing. Manxman Dan Kneen earned the team’s first TT podium finish and Michael Rutter, Danny Webb and Alessandro Polita achieved multiple race wins and podiums in the IRRC.
After Kneen's contract expired and he moved to Tyco BMW, team principal Rico Penzkofer assessed their approach to the 2018 season. The team's main focus has always been the FIM Endurance World Championship, while Penzkofer's heart has always been with road racing.
Derek Sheils deputised as a stand-in rider for the ill Kneen at the Joey Dunlop Open event at Frohburg in Germany earlier this season and after his strong performance in the recent Macau Grand Prix, the Irishman was considered a perfect fit for the vacant seat in the Penz13 squad.
Sheils will be provided with the latest BMW machinery in Superstock and Superbike configurations for the 300 Corners of Gustav Havel event in Czech Republic, which the team uses as a test for the season’s main event, the Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy. Additionally, Sheils will join the experienced and proven winning formula at the Imatranajo in Finland, the Joey Dunlop Open in Frohburg, Germany and the prestigious Macau Grand Prix.
Derek Sheils said:
"I am grateful for the support of John Burrows so far, giving me the opportunity to sign for the Penz13 team for the TT. I enjoyed my stand-in race in Frohburg last September and felt that the BMW is the right bike to step up into the world’s top league of road racers. I quickly got the grip with the electronics that come along with the HP4 and I was surprised how well advanced their electronic suspension from Tractive Suspension actually is. I am obviously aiming high and hope to finish all the TT Races within the Top ten but also taking some race victories over in Europe.”
Rico Penzkofer said:
"I didn’t know much about Derek until he joined us in Frohburg, but immediately saw that he would fit perfectly into the team and could be a good replacement for Dan Kneen. His recent Macau GP pace convinced me even more and I took the opportunity to sign him right after the race. In Frohburg was actually the first time he rode a BMW with all the electronics. Our suspension engineer Eric Lindemann as well as our mechanic crew pointed out that he provides very good feedback. I enjoyed working with him and therefore hope that he can help us to further establish our team in real road racing in 2018. I am sure there is a lot to come from Derek in the near future.”