2020 Scarborough Gold Cup: Harrison v Johnston for the big trophy| Phil Wain | TT and Roads
This weekend sees road racing back at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough with the 68th running of the International Gold Cup and with 29 races on the schedule, it promises to be another busy three days of action around the 2.43-mile circuit.
The famous event, first run in 1950, has seen some of the sport’s greatest names claim the prestigious trophy, now named the Steve Henshaw Gold Cup, including Geoff Duke, John Surtees, Phil Read, Giacomo Agostini, Barry Sheene and Carl Fogarty.
More recent times have seen road racing’s finest add their name to the trophy most notably David Jefferies, John McGuinness, Guy Martin, Ian Hutchinson, Ryan Farquhar and Michael Dunlop.
Dean Harrison, Lee Johnston and Ian Lougher can be included in that list and the three former winners are back this year with close friends Harrison and Johnston the undisputed favourite for honours in Sunday’s feature race as well as the four 600cc encounters.
Johnston got the verdict twelve months ago so will be keen to make it two wins on the trot on the Ashcourt Racing Yamaha and he’ll arrive in confident mood having grabbed four victories at the Barry Sheene Festival last month.
However, this time around, Harrison has a 600cc ZX-6R Kawasaki machine at his disposal as he looks to get his name back on the trophy he previously won in 2015 and 2016.
With his Silicone Engineering team sitting out the 2020 season, Harrison will be having a one-off outing for the Dafabet Devitt RC Express Racing team whom he rode for from 2012-2014.
The multiple International road race winners are expected to be pushed by Mike Norbury (DC Racing Kawasaki), Joe Ackroyd (Triumph), Dominic Herbertson (Cowton Racing Kawasaki), Joey Thompson (Kawasaki), Tom Weeden (Club 77 Yamaha), Rob Hodson (Dafabet Devitt RC Express Racing Yamaha), Mark Goodings (Kawasaki) and Brad Vicars (VRS Racing Honda).
A dark horse for the spoils will be rising star James Hind (Yamaha) who impressed on his debut at the venue last month and whilst taking the win will be a big ask, Lougher (Team ILR/Mark Coverdale Paton) and Jamie Coward (KTS Racing Kawasaki) will be in action in the 600cc races on their Supertwin machines.
The Supertwin races though should see them firmly at the head of the field along with Hind (Team ILR/Mark Coverdale Paton), Herbertson (Cowton Racing Kawasaki) and especially Harrison who will ride the Dafabet Devitt RC Express Kawasaki as he contests the class for the first time in six years. Harrison won the 2014 Lightweight TT whilst riding for the Bristol-based team.
The Bradford rider will also be in action in the Classic Superbike races, this time on the Greenall Racing Kawasaki, with his main opposition again coming from David Bell (Graham Turnbull Yamaha). Weeden, Dave Hewson, Dan Ingham, Sam Johnson and Barry Furber should also feature with Hind, Thompson and Chris Moore the leading 250cc two-stroke runners.
Unlike last month, the F2 Sidecars are back on the programme and the big news is that 10-times Isle of Man TT winners Ben and Tom Birchall will be making their circuit debut on their LCR Honda.
Despite their lack of course knowledge – they’ve previously only done a couple of parade laps at the narrow and undulating venue – they should still be expected to contest the race wins where the main contenders will be Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie, Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle and Steve and Matty Ramsden