Dean Harrison and the RC Express Racing by MSS Performance team enjoyed a superb week of racing on the Isle of Man this week with the Bradford rider claiming three wins, two seconds and a new absolute record on the Kawasaki machinery at the popular Southern 100 meeting.
Competing on the 4.25-mile Billown course near Castletown, in the south of the island, Dean signalled his intentions for the week with victory in Tuesday evening’s Superbike race with his winning margin over Guy Martin some 5.3 seconds.
Wednesday evening followed a similar pattern as Dean took his second win of the week on the Kawasaki ZX-10R, this time in the Senior race. After an early battle with Martin, Dan Kneen and Michael Dunlop, he was able to edge clear and with the fastest lap of the race, 113.473mph, he took the win from Kneen by 6.2s. He followed this up with a good second in the Lightweight race on his TT-winning ER6 650cc Kawasaki.
With conditions on the island again perfect on Thursday, Dean’s third win came in the second Lightweight race in one of the closest ever races seen at the Southern 100. Locked in battle with James Cowton throughout the six laps, the duo flashed across the line together but it was Dean who got the win by the miniscule margin of 0.001s!
That just left the feature Southern 100 Solo Championship and another great start saw Dean take the lead and open up a small gap over Martin. Setting a new outright lap record of 114.601mph on the third lap, it looked like Dean would take his first ever Championship but Martin had other ideas and began to reel him in at half race distance. With just two laps to go, there was nothing between the pair but Martin got a better run through the backmarkers and Dean had to settle for second, just over half a second adrift at the chequered flag.
The 25-year old was also in action in the Supersport 600cc class taking two more wins, this time on the Mar Train 600cc Yamaha thus giving the Irish team their first ever victories on the public roads.
Dean Harrison: “It would have been nice to have ended the week with a win in the feature race but I can’t complain as the week’s been spot on. The Superbike was flying all week but Guy got a better run through the backmarkers and there was no time left to have a go back. I’m always a bit hesitant when it comes to overtaking backmarkers and that was what happened – I paused briefly and Guy shot by both myself and the backmarker at the same time. I got by soon after but it gave Guy just enough time to open up that half second gap.”
“It was nice to get the outright lap record though and showed how well everything had worked. I’m learning all the time with my riding and continually chipping away and it’s pleasing to be able to build on my results year on year. I’ve had five wins and two second places from my seven races this week and, with the lap record as well, I’ve got to be pleased with that so a big thanks to the whole team again for doing a great job.”
Ben Constable, Team Co-Owner: “The Southern 100 is undoubtedly one of the best meetings of the year and it’s always incredibly well organised so to have the week we’ve had has been brilliant. The weather was mint and after taking podiums in our races last year, we’ve returned this year and improved our results further. We’re continually looking to improve and progress as a team and with Dean riding better and better we’re doing exactly that. He rode really well all week and with a new Superbike engine from MSS Performance, he’s been able to take it to the next level and really challenge – and beat – the likes of Guy and Michael. He’s been happy all week and with three wins and two seconds on our bikes, as well as the lap record, we’re all over the moon. I’d just like to thank George Peach and all his team for all their hard work and for putting on a great show – they work tirelessly at the job and deserved to have a great week with some great racing.”
Dean and the team now head to Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough where there’ll be defending their Cock o’ the North Trophy, the meeting taking place on July 19-20.
Pictures by Glynne Lewis