Dean Harrison and the RC Express Racing by MSS Kawasaki team's excellent 2013 road racing season continued on Saturday at the Ulster Grand Prix with the Bradford rider finishing all five of his races inside the top nine, three of those being inside the top six, the highlight being a best of fourth place in the Superstock race.
Practice and qualifying saw the 7.4-mile Dundrod road circuit hit by inclement weather and eventually resulted in Thursday’s Dundrod 150 races being cancelled so everyone had to wait until Saturday to race in anger. Having just his second outing around the high speed course, Dean opened his account for the day with a solid ninth place in the opening Supersport race, which started in damp conditions.
The weather improved for the remainder of the day and the following Superstock race saw Dean and the Kawasaki ZX-10R battle throughout the six laps for the final podium place alongside multiple Ulster GP winners Bruce Anstey and Ian Lougher. Positions changed hands throughout and it eventually came down to a last lap dash to the flag, which veteran Anstey won although it was mightily close with his advantage over Dean just 0.3s.
The feature Superbike race followed and Dean again found himself embroiled in a superb dice, this time for sixth place. Racing with Cameron Donald and fellow youngsters Lee Johnston and Jamie Hamilton for the entire 7 laps, there was little between the quartet but a lap of 130.271mph helped Dean secure sixth place by a tenth of a second from Johnston.
It was a similar story in the second Superbike race, where all four riders lapped quicker still, Dean improving his personal best lap to 130.643mph. On this occasion though, it was his turn to get shuffled to the back of the pack on the final lap and he crossed the line in seventh. Sandwiched in between the two Superbike races was the second Supersport encounter and another great ride saw Dean claim an excellent fifth place on the Ian Bell Motorcycles Yamaha.
Dean Harrison: “I’m pleased with today’s results and it’s easy to forget it was only my second time here so I’m still very much learning, not just the circuit but also the Superbike. At the same time, I am a little disappointed as I think if it had been dry throughout the meeting, I’d have been challenging for the podiums in more of the races. We’ve made good steps forward with the Superbike at each meeting this year but the lack of dry track time meant I was just a fraction off where I wanted to be and we didn’t quite have the grunt off the corners that we needed.”
“I felt confident that I could have gone faster and my corner speed was excellent but as soon as we got to the straights, some of the others came by me. I can’t complain though and we’ve proved once again what we can do. We were there or thereabouts all week and the bikes were extremely consistent and reliable whilst the Metzeler tyres were awesome so it’s been another good International meeting for me and when you’re racing wheel to wheel with the likes of Bruce Anstey, Ian Lougher and Cameron Donald, you not only learn a lot but also know you’re not doing a bad job!”
Ben Constable, Team Co-Owner: “We’re really pleased with how the day’s gone and although it would have been nice to have finished on the podium in the Superstock race, we’ve finished all of the races in a strong position and again proved ourselves on the roads. Dean showed his consistency once more and has now established himself as a regular front runner whilst he also lapped quicker than he’s gone before so we’re more than happy with that. It was our first time here with the Superbike and the lack of dry weather in practice meant we didn’t quite get it set it up as we would have liked but we’re all learning and know what we need to do for the future.”
“We’ve progressed as a team all year, the Kawasaki is working really well in both the Superstock and Superbike classes whilst the Metzeler tyres were mega once more. Our reliability as a team was once more evident and we’re really looking forward now to the Gold Cup where we’re confident of more success.”
The team’s next outing comes at next month’s International Gold Cup meeting at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough with the meeting taking place on September 15-16.
Picture by Derek Clegg