Ulster’s Mar-Train Racing team has signed promising roads hot-shot Dean Harrison to lead its international challenge in 2014.
The Lisburn-based outfit scooped the British Supersport crown at Brands Hatch on Sunday when Stuart Easton edged a tense finale to take the title after a season-long duel with Carrick man Alastair Seeley.
Team owner Tim Martin recently told the News Letter he planned to extend his involvement in road racing next year to the Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix in addition to the North West 200, with rising young Bradford talent Harrison now confirmed as his rider of choice.
The 24-year-old shot to prominence this year at the TT with a stunning ride to fifth position on the RC Express Racing Kawasaki in the Superstock race.
He also finished seventh in the second Supersport event at the TT.
Harrison, a winner in the Supersport class at the Southern 100, yesterday told the News Letter he was looking forward to challenging for more silverware on the blue and white Mar-Train Racing Yamaha R6 next year.
“It’s a fair old step forward next year compared to what had this year,” said Harrison, who rode a Yamaha R6 for Ian Bell on the roads this season.
“We didn’t do too badly on the 600 this year so hopefully we can progress on what we’ve achieved this year.
“Tim Martin puts a lot into his racing and I want to do the best I can for him as well as myself.
“One of the main reasons for joining Tim’s team is that I’ve got previous experience on the R6 and I didn’t want to be changing to a different bike – I think the R6 is still the bike to stay with,” he added.
“I’m sticking with Maxton suspension as well so I can use a lot of the data I have from this year to take it forward to next year.
“We’ll do the three internationals, the Southern 100 plus Scarborough as well.
“I’ll be riding the same RC Express Kawasaki ZX-10R for the Superbike class and a Kawasaki ’stocker again,” said Harrison.
“We’ll get some testing done but there’s plenty of time to get that all sorted out over the next couple of months.”
Team boss Martin said he believed Harrison would be a serious rostrum contender in the Supersport class at the TT next June.
“I’m looking forward to it and I’ve chatted with Dean a few times. He was over at our workshop about six weeks ago and he is genuinely one of the up and coming stars of road racing.
“He’s learned the sport the right way and next year will be his fourth time at the TT. We’re hoping that with the step up in equipment we’re giving him for the Supersport class he will be a podium contender at least,” said Martin.
“We spoke a few times with the RC Express Racing guys at Brands Hatch and finalised the deal. We’ll have some of our branding on their big bikes and they’ll have some of their branding on our Yamaha R6.
“Dean’s easy-going and he’s in the game for the all the right reasons – he loves racing motorbikes and we’re looking forward to working with him.”
Harrison, meanwhile, will make his debut at the Macau Grand Prix next month on the RC Express Kawasaki, where the entry includes Michael Rutter, John McGuinness and Ian Hutchinson, who will ride for Shaun Muir’s Yamaha team on his latest return from injury.