Ulster GP: Dean Harrison braced for podium battle

Dean Harrison qualified on pole in the Superstock and Supersport classes.
Dean Harrison qualified on pole in the Superstock and Supersport classes.

Dean Harrison has been in red-hot form this year and the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki rider will be right in the hunt for more international silverware at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix.

Harrison raised the bar at the Isle of Man TT with a scorching 134mph lap in the Superbike race, which he was leading until he was forced out with a clutch problem.

The 29-year-old also led the Senior TT until the final lap, when Peter Hickman set a new outright lap record at over 135mph to snatch victory.

Harrison, though, claimed his second win around the Mountain Course after winning the second Supersport race and dominated at the Southern 100 last month, where he retained his Solo Championship crown.

He will line up on the front row in second place for the Superbike races after qualifying second fastest, while the Bradford man will start from pole in the Superstock and Supersport races.

He finished on the podium in Thursday’s Supersport race in mixed conditions at Dundrod after seeing off young prospect Davey Todd to secure the final place on the rostrum.

Harrison is among the main favourites along with TT rival Hickman and Manx rider Conor Cummins, who won the Supersport race on Thursday.

However, he has shied away from making any predictions as he prepares for the last of the ‘big three’ major international road races of the year.

“There is no point in saying you will win this or that, you only put unnecessary pressure on yourself,” he said.

“There are at least 10 other riders who all have a chance at that podium and it won’t be easy out there.

“I had a great year last year with a Superbike win and three podiums and I’d like more of the same, but I’d be happy to finish on the podium to be perfectly honest.

“Having a proper Superbike this year has made a difference and we’ve had a lot of time on the bike and done quite a few BSB rounds, which has been an advantage as well.

“You can’t count your chickens so we’ll just keep doing our best and I’ll get my head down and see where we end up.”

Harrison set the lap record at Dundrod last year at 134.614mph and is confident it will fall in the right conditions.

“Lap records are there to be broken but race wins cannot be taken away from you,” he said.

“If the sun is out then I definitely think we’ll see the Ulster Grand Prix lap record broken.”