Harrison on the podium once more in the RST Superbike Race

Race Report
Dean Harrison steps onto the TT Superbike podium with a sensational third place finish in the RST Superbike Race as his teammate John McGuinness MBE finishes inside the top six. 

“Perfect conditions across the course with a gentle breeze and cloud cover” came the voice on the tannoy as Honda Racing UK riders Dean Harrison, John McGuinness and Nathan Harrison lined up on the startline for the opening six lap superbike race of this year’s Isle of Man TT Races. 

Of the thre riders, Dean made the strongest start to the race and was right in the podium battle from the off with a sensational 134.048 mph lap from a standing start to end lap one first on the road and third on the times. At this stage of the race just under three seconds covered the top three. It wasn’t just Dean flying though as John Mcguinness in his one hundred and ninth TT race flew past the grandstand in eighth with a 131.06 mph lap. Nathan too was delivering personal best sectors on his way to his quickest ever lap of the Mountain Course, a 128.995 mph lap from a standing start. 

Sadly, early in lap two disaster would strike for Nathan as a quickshifter problem caused an early end to his opening race of the 2024 TT.

Still in the podium battle and threading the needle between the hedges on their Fireblades, Dean and John dived into the pits for the first of two stops at the end of lap two. Dean at this point was now fourth on the timing screens as he fought with Dunlop, Hickman and Todd for the podium positions. John was in a battle of his own for a top six with Hillier, Coward and Cummins. A speedy pitstop for John saw him gain over six seconds on his competitors by the time he was back on the Glencrutchery Road. 

With fresh rubber, full fuel tanks and a clean visor, both riders were back in action and dancing their way around the 37 and ¾ mile course. The battle out front was at this point becoming a spaced out affair though as Dunlop lead Todd by seventeen seconds, who in turn had an advantage over Hickman of four seconds. Dean in fourth was a further nine seconds behind Peter. 

By lap four, Dunlop held a thirty second advantage over Dean as he caught him on the road and passed him by Ramsey. With his coat hooks firmly planted onto the back of the race leader though, Dean dug deep and stayed right on the rear wheel of Dunlop and delivered his fastest ever lap of the TT course, a sensational 135.185 mph lap and whilst slowing at the end of the lap to enter the pits. In doing so, he had returned to the intense podium battle. John meanwhile, was up to sixth having lapped at 132.398 mph. 

As the second pitstops took place, there was chaos up and down pitlane as Dunlop roared away from the pits with his visor not fitted correctly and Davey Todd lost almost twenty seconds with a slow stop. This all meant that whilst Dean entered the pits in fourth, he left them first on the times. 

Leading on the timing screens but with Hickman and Todd in hot pursuit, Dean put the hammer down to try and maintain his leading pace. Maintaining his lead throughout lap five all the way to Ramsey, Dean was desperate to score his first win in red and was just two seconds behind Hickman at the end of lap five in second. John’s battle for fifth at this point couldn’t have been closer as he was now just 0.4 seconds behind Hillier. 

Another scintillating lap of 134.335 mph, whilst breathtakingly fast, was just not enough for Dean to hold on to second as Davey rocketed in front on the timing screen. Nonetheless, a hard earned rostrum finish of third for Dean Harrison in his Honda TT debut is a remarkable achievement considering the early development stage of this new 2024 motorcycle. And with valuable lessons learnt from this six lap race, there is definitely more to come. 

John McGuinness finished in a mightily impressive sixth place and was just a mere two seconds away from a top five finish. 

#5 Dean Harrison

I’m over the moon to put it on the podium, especially as I’ve struggled all week with the superbike to tell the truth, the Honda is new to me this year and I haven’t settled in with the bike as quickly as I would have liked to. There is so much more potential to the Fireblade and we are only just beginning to realise it. I learnt a lot in this race and I know that we can make it a lot better for later in the week and maybe go a few steps higher on the box. The pit stop was crazy at the end of lap four. I came into the pits having seen fourth on my pit board and then left the pits to see first, I said to myself as I saw P1 on my board ‘I don’t know what the hell happened there!’ I’ve gone faster than I ever have and I’m super happy to put a 135 mph lap on the board. I’ll enjoy a brew this evening with the team, a day off tomorrow and then go again later in the week. 

#1 John McGuinness MBE

I’m only two seconds off my own personal best race time from when I won in 2015, which is some going. It’s only numbers at the end of the day but you are not going around at 132 mph without having a few little wobbles and giving it a proper go. I just kept concentrating, kept riding the bike, y’know it takes some peddling to be lapping at that pace so to be in the fight and just miss out on a fifth by a few seconds means we are right there in the fight. It was a bit of a weird race, to see Michael at the side of the road putting his helmet back on is definitely a first. I’m really pleased for Dean and the team, and I have to doff my cap to Dunlop and Toddy on that last lap, they came past me and they were hauling along. For me, it's a good solid start for the TT campaign, one down three to go. 

#25 Nathan Harrison

128.995 mph lap from a standing start is my fastest ever lap of the TT course, which I have to be happy about even though the result isn’t what anybody wanted. I’m absolutely made up with that lap time because I definitely felt that there was more to come. I’m gutted not to finish my first race with the team at the TT, but things happen for a reason and it only makes me more determined for the next race. I know what I’m capable of and I know that there is more to come. I’m motivated and I’m hungry and I wish I could get back on my bike and go racing again right now.