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Dean Harrison bidding for Gold Cup repeat

Dean Harrison heads into the Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup as the race favourite this weekend on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki.
Dean Harrison will be aiming to retain the Gold Cup trophy at Oliver's Mount this weekend as the venue marks its 70th anniversary.

Harrison won the feature race for the first time last year on the Mar-Train Yamaha but lines up on Sunday on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki after switching back to ZX-10R machinery for 2016.

The Bradford rider has been in excellent form this year at the international road races and will start the showpiece race on Sunday as the hot favourite at the 2.3-mile woodland course in north Yorkshire.

His opposition includes former Gold Cup champion and 13-time Isle of Man TT winner Michael Dunlop on his BMW S1000RR plus Ivan Lintin on the Devitt RC Express Kawasaki and John McGuinness, who is riding his Superstock Honda.

Manx rider Dan Kneen leads the charge for the Mar-Train Yamaha team as the Northern Ireland outfit attempts to retain the silverware following Harrison's triumph in 2015.

Kneen was forced to miss the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT this year through injury but returned in the summer at the Southern 100 and Ulster Grand Prix, claiming rostrum finishes at both events.

The 29-year-old says he is eager to round of the main season on a high this weekend on the YZF-R1.

“It will be nice to get back on the Mar-Train Yamahas again this weekend. After the Ulster I just wanted the season to be starting again so it was a pity we had another few weeks off to be honest.

“It was nice to reflect on a few good results; I was definitely under pressure to rescue something from the season so I can go into this weekend with a bit of that pressure off really.

“There is a strong entry for both classes so I'm looking forward to some good close racing and hopefully putting the Yamaha UK bikes back on the podium again.”

The invitation Gold Cup race takes top billing on Sunday, with practice and the first races getting underway on Saturday.

William Dunlop and his cousin Gary are among the entries in the two-stroke classes along with Ian Lougher.

A special parade will be held to mark the 70th anniversary of racing at Oliver's Mount and includes ex-world champions Giacomo Agostini on the MV Agusta and former works Honda rider Jim Redman.

Another ex-world champion, Phil Read, also joins the star-studded line-up along with famous names including Mick Grant, Chas Mortimer, Steve Parrish, Roger Burnett, Trevor Nation, Eddie Roberts, Dean Ashton, Steve Tonkin, John Cooper, Nick Jefferies and Alex George.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Dean Harrison on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki
Action from the 2016 North West 200
Michael Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69 during the Classic Superbike race at the Classic TT.
Michael Dunlop on the Black Eagle MV Agusta at the Classic TT.
Michael Dunlop on the Black Eagle MV Agusta at the Classic TT.
Bruce Anstey won the Lightweight race at the Classic TT on the Padgetts Honda RS250.
John McGuinness on the Winfield Paton at the Classic TT.
Bruce Anstey on the Padgetts RS250 Honda at the Classic TT.
Dean Harrison on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki at the Classic TT.
Bruce Anstey on the Padgetts RS250 Honda at the Classic TT.
Michael Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69 at the Classic TT.
Michael Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69 during practice for the Classic TT.
Michael Dunlop
Gary Johnson
Ian Lougher, Dean Harrison and Lee Johnston in the winners` enclosure following the 2015 500cc Classic TT
Tyco BMW`s Ian Hutchinson
Bruce Anstey on the YZR500 Yamaha at the Classic TT.
Ian Hutchinson leads Michael Dunlop in the Superbike class at the Ulster Grand Prix.

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