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Harrison, On Chasing a 135 MPH Lap at the TT

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On Saturday during the RST Superbike race, Dean Harrison smashed the outright Isle of Man TT lap record with a 134.432 mph lap of Mountain Course.

It was the culmination of a long apprenticeship on the roads for the Bradford rider, and having claimed a second career TT victory this week, he’ll be out to impress once again during the Senior TT on Friday.

Road racing is in his blood, his father Conrad is a sidecar race-winner, but for Dean the challenge has been to gain the experience to show what he can do on the 37-mile long circuit.

That experience has been taking place on the roads, at home studying videos, and racing in the British Superbike Championship to understand more about what it takes to reach the limit of his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR.

“Experience is key, and the more time you spend doing anything the better you’ll get at it,” said Harrison. “Even in BSB or short circuit racing, it takes time, but over that time you make big steps.”

“If you’re not good at something after six or seven years, you shouldn’t be doing it! This year I’ve spent a lot of time racing in BSB, and I’ll keep racing in it throughout the season, and the progress I’ve made is massive already this year.”

“It’s the same in road racing, where experience makes a big difference. I’m also using a superbike for the first time this year and that’s massive.”

“I really love my team and that helps a lot because we know each other, and we know that we all need to do. That takes time to develop, but it’s massively important. When you get along with the team, it makes it easier, and the easier it is the faster you’ll go.”

Over the course of the six-lap Senior TT, Harrison will be pushed to the limit by the likes of Peter Hickman and Michael Dunlop, and he fully expects that his outright lap record from earlier in the TT fortnight will be beaten.

The key is to be the rider to make the step forward on Friday. During the Superstock TT, Hickman came close to breaking the outright lap record, despite being on threaded tires and an almost showroom spec BMW S1000RR.

“I’ll hold on to the Superbike record for another year, but I really believe that in the Senior, the lap record will go. It’s going to take 135’s to win the Senior, and I’ve not really thought about having the lap record.”

“To set my time from a standing start means that I can go a lot quicker. My own personal ideal is a lot quicker, so if I can put it all together I’ll be there again during the Senior.”

“The Superstock race was a great race, but on the final lap over the mountain, me and Michael both got held up badly, so our fastest times would have been close to Hicky’s fastest time.”

“That’s part of racing and sometimes being higher on the starting list can help, and other times it’s better to start a bit further back.”

While outside factors such as weather and traffic can always affect a rider’s lap time, Harrison certainly feels that the factors riders control make the biggest difference.

Understanding the course, the conditions, your bike and putting them all together is the biggest factor in setting fast times at the TT, and over the course of a 17-minute lap, being able to understand where to attack and where to ride with caution takes a lot of time for a rider to grasp.

“Racing in BSB has helped me a lot this year because short circuit racing helps you understand weight balance and weight transfer on the bike.”

“You can approach some sections of the TT course like a short circuit, but it takes time to do that because you need to understand where the track is smooth and where you can create the lean angle to attack.”

“Some sections you definitely can’t do that but it comes with track knowledge to understand where you can do that.

“Being smooth on the road is crucial here, but there are places where you can really get stuck in. You need to calculate where you can attack because some sections, into Ramsey for example, it’s too bumpy to attack.”

“You are always evolving and learning at the TT. You work each individual section, and gain a bit more speed, but you know that you can’t overstep it and just barrel into a corner, like in a short circuit, but it’s different here at the TT. You gain more and more in small steps here than in short circuits.”

Photo: © 2018 Tony Goldsmith / www.tonygoldsmith.net – All Rights Reserved

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