Dean in dream team bid
Mar-Train Racing's new recruit Dean Harrison believes joining forces for a second season with Alastair Seeley at the North West 200 will make for a formidable force come May 2014 at the North Coast event.
"Yeah I can't wait to ride their bike at the North West and alongside Alastair I'd say there's every chance both Mar-Train Yamahas can be right at the front of the Supersport class," said the 24-year-old.
Harrison will ride 600cc machinery for the British Supersport champions at the three main international road races, while combining his efforts in the bigger capacity classes with RC Express on ZX10R Kawasakis.
Seeley will be in a similar position, with the recent announcement that Mar-Train Racing will not be campaigning a full stable of Yamaha machinery, preferring to run ZX10R Kawasakis in Superstock and Superbike trim alongside their Yamaha Supersport bikes at the North West 200.
It's a preference that Seeley will no doubt have pushed for when signing on the dotted line with team owner Tim Martin (pictured with Harrison), having already won a Superstock race at the North West on one of the hugely popular and successful 1000cc green machines.
But it's in the Superbike class where 10-time winner Seeley will want to reign supreme at the Triangle, and the Kawasaki is undoubtedly a more complete package 'out of the box' than Yamaha's R1 which, in turn, could struggle with the restrictive new electronics regulations that are currently being assessed for the international road racing scene.
Looking across the garage to Seeley's new vibrant young NW200 team-mate Harrison – if we assess the statistics, it's a shrewd move for Mar-Train Racing who are pretty much entering the international road racing scene on a full time basis for the very first time.
Harrison's rise up the rankings has been more than impressive. Just last season, in only his third appearance, he pushed beyond the 128mph barrier at the TT with a top 10 Superbike finish, and phenomenally recorded a 130mph lap at the Ulster Grand Prix.
With Seeley only opting to take in the North West, Harrison will be Mar-Train's sole representative at the TT and Ulster Grand Prix, as well as various national events like Scarborough and the Southern 100.
Granted, Harrison will only ride the Mar-Train Racing R6 Yamaha, but the team is expected to have branding representation on his RC Express machines. This will allow Mar-Train to concentrate on the Supersport effort while they find their feet between the hedges at the very highest level.
Explaining his decision to join the Northern Ireland-based team, Harrison said: "Mar-Train Yamaha has just won the British championship and even in World championship it's always between the R6 and the Kawasaki. So why change to a new bike when I'm used to riding a Yamaha and now I'm on an even stronger package?"
This year was only Harrison's third on the famous TT circuit, but he got to achieve one of his lifetime goals by standing on a TT podium in second place, just one rung lower than James Hillier in the Lightweight race.
Looking ahead to 2014, he said: "Every time I go out on a bike I just want to improve on the previous year's times. I didn't expect to do over 125mph on my 600. I just didn't think I could do those times on my bike, and I believe on the Mar-Train Yamaha we can go even quicker."