North West 200: Dean Harrison full of confidence after making the big breakthrough
Dean Harrison first competed at the North West 200 in 2012 and it took until Thursday evening to score his first podium with his third place in the Superstock race, the 28-year-old having been involved in a race-long scrap with his good friend and housemate Lee Johnston.
The Silicone Engineering Kawasaki rider was also in the thick of the seven-man Supersport race action, finishing fourth in the end but with the fastest lap of the race on the sixth and final lap at 116.423mph.
The Yorkshireman said: “I have been coming here for five years and have had nothing but bad luck with my best results being fifths and sixths.
“I am over the moon to stand on a podium at the North West 200 and it left me wanting more of the same please.”
Harrison had first come to race in Ireland in 2010 when he rode for Billy McKinstry in the Irish National road race support classes.
Seven wins saw Harrison crowned Ulster Junior Support champion and he was runner-up in both the Irish Junior Support Championship and Senior Support Championship.
In 2014 his father Conrad won a sidecar TT race and Dean the Lightweight TT, creating their own piece of TT history by becoming the first father and son to win races in the same week.
Who will ever forget his 2014 race-long battle at the Ulster Grand Prix with Dan Kneen in the Superstock race where he lost out on victory to the Manxman by a mere one thousandth of a second.
Harrison went on to win the 500cc Classic TT race on a Black Eagle M.V. Agusta in 2015 and topped the Duke Road Race Rankings in 2016.
The Bradford ace has proved virtually unbeatable at Scarborough’s Olivers Mount circuit having won the iconic Gold Cup race twice and just a few weeks ago he was in brilliant form, winning seven races from seven starts including the Bob Smith Spring Cup at the Yorkshire venue, setting him up nicely for the season ahead.
The Southern 100 in the Isle of Man has proved a happy hunting ground for Harrison, having won nine races around the famous 4.25mile Billown Circuit.
In 2015 Harrison rode for the Mar-Train Yamaha Team of Tim and Sonya Martin, but didn’t get along with the new R1 suffering many non-finishes on the brand new machine.
It would not be a shock if Harrison was again on the rostrum at least once today given his top six qualifying in Supersport and Superstock and 11th in Superbike — he certainly has the credentials.
Harrison will certainly be one to watch today on what looks sure to be a great day of action.