Dan Kneen claimed his first ever International road race victory as he got the better of Dean Harrison in Saturday’s Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix Superstock race by just 0.001s, the closest ever finish in the history of the event. The lead changed hands three to four times every lap with Bruce Anstey also in the mix and just 0.107s covered the trio at the chequered flag.
The Manxman was ecstatic afterwards telling Bikesportnews.com, "It was a tight old race and Dean was quicker in some places and I was quicker in others so neither of us could ever get a good run. It must have been great to watch as we were swapping position all the time and although it was damp in places, the intermediate tyres were awesome and there was plenty of grip. The only major problem was not knowing whether or not it was the last lap as there was no flag so I was just hoping the lads had got it right on the pit board."
The race was initially stopped after one lap due to rain when Harrison had a five second lead but on the re-start, the Bradford rider again grabbed the lead but, with a drying track, it was a lot closer this time around and just one and a half seconds split Harrison, Kneen and Anstey at the end of the lap. Guy Martin held onto fourth ahead of Lee Johnston and Michael Dunlop, the latter having visor issues just before the lights turned green.
Second time around and Harrison’s lead over Kneen was just 0.04s with Anstey only half a second further back but behind the margins were getting greater, Martin now over five seconds adrift. The front three were exchanging positions all the time but Kneen ran wide at the hairpin which allowed Harrison to re-take the lead and as they started the penultimate lap, there was still nothing in it. Johnston and Dunlop were both out of luck though retiring to the pits.
Going into the final lap, the leading trio came along the Flying Kilo three abreast and Kneen hit the front at Rock Bends only for Harrison to fght back at Deer’s Leap. Kneen re-took the lead at Cochranstown before Harrison went ahead at Ireland’s and then Kneen was back ahead approaching the hairpin. Harrison dived up the inside and looked like he might have done enough but Kneen closed in through Quarry Bends and went round the outside of Harrison as they flashed across the line with Anstey opting for the inside line. Everyone waited for the timing screens and Kneen, recently crowned Irish Superbike Champio got the verdict from Harrison and Anstey.
Further back, Stephen Thompson came through to steal a strong fourth on the final lap with Peter Hickman four tenths further back in fifth with Martin fading to sixth. Rob Barber, Russ Mountford, Ivan Lintin and Steve Mercer rounded out the top ten.