Bradford trail-blazer Dean Harrison heads into this week’s Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix as a rider in sizzling form.
The 25-year-old is having the season of his life after clinching a magnificent runner-up finish in the Superstock class at the TT, where Harrison also secured his maiden victory on the Mountain Course in the Lightweight race.
The RC Express Kawasaki/Mar-Train Racing rider carried his momentum into the Southern 100 at Billown in July, winning five races and finishing as a narrow runner-up behind Tyco Suzuki’s Guy Martin in the blue riband Solo Championship race.
Harrison has lived up to his status as a real star of the future on the roads this year and the fast-talking English star is aiming for more champagne results at the fastest road race in the world, where practice commences at the 7.4-mile Dundrod circuit on Wednesday afternoon, August 13 (roads close 12pm).
Harrison, a motorcycle mechanic by trade with a passion for all things two-wheels, could well emerge to challenge pre-race favourites Martin and Ulsterman Michael Dunlop at the ‘Prix’ on Saturday.
He became the fastest newcomer ever at Dundrod on his bow in 2012 and has since lapped at 130.643mph, earning his best result to date with fourth place in last year’s Superstock race.
Harrison also finished sixth and seventh in the two Superbike races and fifth in the second Supersport outing as he continued to build up his knowledge of the Dundrod course on only his second visit to the legendary road race.
He will skip the Supertwin class to focus his efforts on the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport races and asked if he felt he could replicate his red-hot form from the TT and Southern 100, Harrison told the News Letter: “Hopefully, but things are dependant on the weather at the moment. I’m not bothered a great deal if it’s wet, we’ll just carry on.
“I just want to get on with it now. It’s one of those races you wait for all year because it’s one of the big three, so we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing, take it steady away and hopefully we’ll be at the front.”
In addition to the RC Express Kawasaki Superbike and Superstock machines, Harrison will bid for honours in the 600cc class on the British Championship-winning Mar-Train Yamaha R6 and admits expectations surrounding his performance this year will be somewhat higher given his recent run of results.
“Last year we went well in the ’stock race and got a fourth place, but I think expectations are a little higher this time around,” he added.
“We should have more speed on the 600 anyway. The bike last year just wasn’t quick enough really but I know the Mar Train Yamaha we have this year will definitely have the straight-line speed.
“It’s a good track too at the Ulster so I’d want to be challenging for a win.”
Following the last of the ‘big three’ road races at Dundrod, Harrison will travel to the Isle of Man for the Classic TT Races, when he is set to ride in the 350cc and 500cc classes for Black Eagle Racing, joining Lee Johnston on MV Agusta machinery.
Last year, he won the Formula Classic race at the inaugural Classic TT meeting.
Don’t miss our special 12-page Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix edition of Keep ’er Lit in the Thursday, August 14 edition of the News Letter.