Since moving to the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki team, Dean Harrison has found an environment that he’s flourished in, not finishing outside of the top five at the TT since. The last two years have also seen him take five podiums around the Mountain Course with three coming in 2016 and two last year.
“Ever since I joined the team, I’ve felt at home and I think the results have reflected that,” said Harrison. “We’ve kept essentially the same bikes and know what works and what doesn’t at the TT so it’s down to me to get on the bike and do the best I can. The continuity’s a good thing and it means we have a good base setting to work from and can hit the ground running in practice week so we’ll see what comes of it.”
2017 could be seen as a watershed year as those podiums came in the Superbike and Senior races, his first in the class, as well as a new personal best lap in excess of 132mph. With ex-factory Suzuki rider Paul Iddon at the helm, the team is a perfect fit for Harrison and with podiums coming at the other International road races, none more so that at the Ulster Grand Prix where he holds the outright lap record, there’s no reason why he can’t be even better still in 2018.
“I think doing the British Championship rounds played a big part in how well we did and it got me up to speed at the beginning and kept me there throughout the year. You obviously want to do as well as you can but the BSB rounds aren’t necessarily about results; it’s about getting the track time to get dialled in so when I arrive on the roads I’m ready to go.”
“I’m improving all the time at the TT but I wouldn’t say there’s one specific area where I need to up my game. I’m strong all around the course but can make little improvements all round as well – a tenth here and a tenth there over the course of the lap all add up and will mean my lap times will improve even more.”
“It’s not about one thing at the TT though – you need a lot of factors to come together on the day and that includes having a bit of luck as well. Last year I got stuck up on the Mountain twice during practice week so lost a lot of time and ended up having to park the Superbike. We’ve got a proper Superbike at our disposal this year though and am hoping that’s going to work in our favour and take me to the next level as you’re going to need to be lapping at 134mph to win.”
Harrison also knows the first lap is crucial – and was annoyed with himself after a tardy opening lap in last year’s Superstock race – and has led races in the past. Piecing it all together for six laps and matching Dunlop, Hickman and co for the entire race distance will ultimately decide what step he stands on.