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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
Alastair Seeley leads his Tyco BMW team-mate Ian Hutchinson in the Superbike race at the North West 200.
Glenn Irwin won the feature Superbike race at the North West 200.
Honda Racing riders John McGuinness and Guy Martin
Alastair Seeley on the Tyco BMW Superstock machine at the North West 200.
Glenn Irwin on the PBM Ducati at the North West 200.
Michael Rutter on the Bathams BMW at the North West 200
Alastair Seeley on the Tyco BMW at the North West 200.
Michael Dunlop on the Bennetts Suzuki at the North West 200
Alastair Seeley on the Tyco BMW at the North West 200.
Guy Martin on the Wilson Craig Honda.
Michael Rutter with Ryan Farquhar and Jeremy McWilliams at the North West 200 in 2012.
Bruce Anstey on the Padgetts Honda FIreblade.
Guy Martin on the 2017 Honda Racing Fireblade SP2
William Dunlop on the Temple Golf Club Yamaha R1.
Italian rider Dario Cecconi has died after an accident at the Tandragee 100.
Guy Martin on the Honda Racing Fireblade SP2
Gary Johnson will run his own team at TT 2017.

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