TT 2018: 135mph laps needed to win Senior – Harrison
Dean Harrison was left to ponder what might have been in yesterday’s RST Superbike race at the Isle of Man TT Races when a slipping clutch forced him out half way round the fourth lap.
The Silicone Engineering Kawasaki rider had thrown down the gauntlet during practice week with some superb lap times but went to new levels during the first two laps of the race, smashing the outright lap record from a standing start with a sensational speed of 134.432mph.
At one stage, his lead over Michael Dunlop was an unprecedented 17 seconds as he set fastest sector times all around the Mountain Course and a second lap in excess of 134mph looked like it would see him go on to take a comfortable victory.
However, as soon as he left the pits to start his third lap, he started to realise all was not well and it was only a matter of time before his race would come to a heartbreaking end. And now he thinks that nothing less than 135mph laps will be needed to win the Senior.
“My intention was to get my head down as soon as I left the line and with Michael Dunlop starting ten seconds behind me, it was the only option I had. Everything was going perfectly and on each pit board, the gaps were increasing – ‘P1 +3’, ‘P1 +7’ etc and I was pulling away all the time.
“After the first pit stop though, the clutch started slipping and after that the job was knackered. I was losing drive out of the corners and losing time everywhere so it was only a matter of time. I pulled in at the Sulby Hotel and just walked off, I didn’t want to talk to anyone.”
Recognised for his road racing exploits, Harrison has been contesting the British Superbike Championship this season, improving all the time, and that short circuit experience has clearly paid dividends on the island.
“The short circuit stuff I’ve been doing has been helping me no end, especially over the Mountain. I said over the winter there wasn’t one specific section that I needed to improve on, it was just about picking up a couple of seconds in each sector, which is what’s happened.
“I’m more experienced and have a better bike this year and whilst I was perhaps a bit surprised my best lap was from a standing start, like I say, you have to be fast straightaway. I did a 134.4 but my ideal lap is a 135.3 and I think that’s what’s going to be needed to win the Senior.”