By Neil Morrison
If 2013 has been memorable for the emergence of Michael Dunlop as a road racing superstar it has also been worth noting the crop of exciting young talent coming through to stake their claim.
And arguably they come no more exciting than 24-year old Dean Harrison, a rider many are tipping for TT stardom in the near future.
Coming into this season Harrison faced high expectations after becoming the fastest ever newcomer at the Ulster Grand Prix and lapping the TT at an impressive 126mph in only his second year. Yet he has exceeded those by regularly placing amongst the top six at the international events.
Backed by RC Express Kawasaki he scored his first podium on the Isle of Man in the Lightweight TT and perhaps even more impressively finished fourth in the Superstock race, raising his fastest time to 128mph. He then won two races at the Southern 100 and gained three more top six finishes at the Ulster. Clearly he's a rider who learns quickly.
Hailing from Bradford, racing was always in the blood at the Harrison household with his father Conrad competing regularly on the Isle of Man in the sidecar events since 1993. It was while hanging around racing paddocks that the young Harrison realised his future lay in racing.
With the Scarborough Gold Cup coming this week Crash.net
spoke with Harrison about his brief career, his ability to learn new circuits quickly and how he wants to be his own man...
Did you always know you wanted to race motorbikes?
The TT is the only thing I ever wanted to do. The Ulster [Grand Prix], the North West, I love all racing, I even love short circuit racing. It doesn't matter where it is, I just love racing bikes. But the TT is the reason I started. It's the next level, it's just unbelievable. Ever since 1993 the two weeks there in June was always my two-week holiday with my Dad and his sidecar.
With your dad being a competitive sidecar driver why did you go down the two-wheel route and not the three?
I like to be independent. I like to make my own decisions and you're the only man on the bike. I don't know why, I just like it that way. I'd have a go on a sidecar; I'd have a go at racing anything. But I chose the solo route and we're not doing that bad so I'll stick with what we're doing.
When did you start racing?
I were 18 at the time so I've been racing five or six years now. I only ever rode a 600, it was the littlest bike I rode, a little CBR, which I bought myself and went racing with. I didn't have a lot of money and my dad didn't have the money to give me to go and buy a bike so I bought it myself at 18 and started there.