Dean Harrison wrapped up his 2013 road racing in style on Saturday, when he placed 12th at the Macau Grand Prix. Making his debut at the Far East venue, the RC Express Racing rider overcome misfortune in both practice and the race to post some extremely impressive lap times and he deservedly ended his week with a top 12 finish.
With track time around the tricky, Armco-lined course paramount for a newcomer, the week got off to the worst possible start for Dean and the team when technical problems caused him to miss almost the entire one hour free practice session. However, he more than showed his aptitude for learning the 3.8-mile course and in the two qualifying sessions that followed, his times continually tumbled and with a final lap time of 2m31.080s he placed 15th on the grid out of 32 competitors.
Conditions were again ideal for Saturday’s 15-lap race but it all went wrong for Dean and a number of other riders at the very first corner when Marc Fissette crashed out. The Belgian’s spinning machine forced half of the field to take evasive action and whilst some were knocked off, some were forced to take to the emergency slip road. Dean was one such rider but he came off the worst and when re-joined the track, he found himself dead last and a considerable way behind.
What followed though was a truly magnificent, spirited ride and lapping quicker than he’d gone in qualifying Dean not only clawed his way to the back of the other riders but promptly made his way forward. Indeed, with the tenth fastest lap of the race, a 2m29.947s, he tore through the pack and was rewarded with an excellent twelfth place at the conclusion of the race.
Speaking afterwards, Dean commented; “It’s been a bit of a mixed week with a few ups and downs but to finish twelfth and lap under the 2’30s barrier is something I’ve got to be happy with. It’s like no other road circuit we ride on and whilst losing the entire free practice session didn’t help, we regrouped well and quickly made up for lost time and continually moved forward. Obviously the more laps I did the more comfortable I felt with the circuit and I felt confident that we could sneak into the top ten.”
“Being forced down the slip road put paid to that and I went that far down it I thought I was going to end up in China! I got back on track though and just concentrated on being as smooth as possible so I was gradually able to reel a few riders in. Despite coming through traffic I took another second off my lap times so, all in all, twelfth is a good achievement. The whole team did a great job and it’s nice to end our first full season together with a strong result. We can head off to the winter break more than satisfied with what we’ve achieved in 2013 so the aim now is to build on this and move even further forward in 2014.”
Phil Wain - Freelance PR