Bradford racer Dean Harrison is confident that he will be able to challenge for victories at this year’s Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix on-board his Yamaha R1 machine.
The 26-year-old has had mixed fortunes so far in 2015, as development of the new bike continues, but he did manage to set the fastest-ever Yamaha lap around the famous Mountain Course at the Isle of Man TT, with a speed of 130.025mph.
Harrison also enjoyed success at the Spring Cup in Scarborough, by taking his Mar-Train Racing Yamaha to victory around the Oliver’s Mount course.
Harrison said: “We’ve had a few teething problems with the R1 but it’s no different to any new bike. The most important thing is that we’re getting quicker with every meeting. We’re right where we expected to be and I’m doing loads of miles on the bike between now and the Ulster. I’ll be out at the Southern 100 and Scarborough, plus we’ve got some test sessions lined up as well.
Harrison came agonisingly close to a maiden victory at last year’s Ulster Grand Prix, losing out to Dan Kneen in the Superstock race by just 0.001s but believes he is ready to take victory this time round.
He said: “I’m looking forward to the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix because I know we’ll be on the pace and I think the track will really suit the bike. It’s a fast circuit but it’s really smooth with a consistent surface I think that’s going to be perfect for the Yamaha.
“I should be on the pace in all classes really as we’ve already got the 600 sorted. It’s ready to race, so the focus will be on the big bikes and making them as competitive as possible to challenge for the top step.
“I’m happy with where we are and I’ve got a great team behind me in the Mar-Train boys, so that helps ease any pressure or stresses as they come up.”
Harrison’s comments came as German tyre manufacturers, Metzeler, enter their third Ulster Grand Prix as title sponsors.
Enrico d’Aloja, Brand Manager at Metzeler, said: “The Ulster Grand Prix is one of the world’s most iconic road races. It has a fantastic heritage and attracts tens of thousands of fans every year, so we’re delighted to continue our support.
“We’re also really pleased to have Dean representing our brand on Metzeler tyres. He’s an exciting young talent and he has a great chance to make it onto the podium once again this year, so watch this space.”
The manufacturer has enjoyed plenty of success in road racing events in recent years and ended 2014 with 11 wins to their name across the various road racing events.
Noel Johnston, Clerk of the course at the Ulster Grand Prix added: “It’s great to have Metzeler on board for another year as our title sponsor, their support over the last two seasons has been fantastic and we look forward to working with them into the future.
“Of course they will also be providing tyres for a host of top names, including Dean and we’re all hoping to see him at the sharp end again this year. He certainly has the talent and the determination to do it, so keep an eye out for him this August.”
Practice sessions for the 2015 Ulster Grand Prix get underway on Wednesday 5 August, with the racing action taking place on Thursday 6 August and Saturday 8 August.