Dean Harrison produced a dominant ride on his Silicone Engineering Kawasaki to secure his fourth Classic TT win in the RST Superbike Classic TT Race to win the final race of the 2018 Classic TT presented by Bennetts.
In his post race interview he revealed that it had taken him a while to get going in the race:
“I felt like I had a bad start to be honest. I didn’t feel a hundred per cent on the opening lap – I felt a bit wooden. I did feel that if I needed to go faster I could do but it’s an old bike so I wanted to bring it home for the lads.”
He was also pleased with the conditions and the atmosphere around the course and thanked the marshals for supporting the event:
“The conditions were surprisingly good – the odd damp patches but because there was cloud cover there was no sunlight which can cause problems. Thanks to all of the crowd and the marshals who were out there throughout the week, for making it such a great event and atmosphere.”
Horst Saiger was delighted to finish second saying that “it shows what a mediocre rider can achieve on a great machine;” mediocre he most certainly is not.
It was Greenall Racing’s Saiger who had the honour of carrying the number 1 plate and he was first away followed by Harrison, who had only qualified for the race as third fastest but had set his fastest qualifying lap on the opening night.
James Hillier, due to start fifth on the Oxford Products/ Louigi Moto Ducati, pulled off the grid due to his bike overheating and he eventually got going about eight minutes behind the leading riders. He then had to stop to make adjustments and parked it at the end of the lap. Josh Brookes, on the Wiz Racing Norton, was reported to have missed his starting slot in 11th place and eventually started six minutes after the first rider got away. He made progress and moved into the top 8 before mechanical issues forced him out. Michael Russell also had a start line problem and started towards the rear of the field. He too made steady progress and was up to 7th at The Bungalow on the final lap; then hit more problems and dropped to 13th.
Dean Harrison had established a lead of 2.5s over Gary Johnson on the Team York Suzuki by the first timing point – Glen Helen – with Michael Rutter on the Team Winfield Yamaha third a further two seconds back. Kawasaki mounted Paul Jordan (Mistral Racing), Derek Sheils (Greenall Racing Kawasaki) and Davo Johnson (York Suzuki).
At Ballaugh Bridge, Harrison had extended his advantage to 6s; with Rutter 2.9s behind Johnson. At Parliament Square the large crowd was given some good action by the riders. The watch suggested that Harrison led by 9.5s from Johnson; with Rutter 2.5s further back. Rutter’s machine was noticed to be giving off some bluish smoke; the harbinger of yet more misfortune for him. Conor Cummins had moved into 4th on the lovely two stroke 500cc Padgetts YZR Yamaha; Davo Johnson and Horst Saiger filled the lower leader board places.
Harrison was fastest over the mountain; his opening lap of 125.471mph gave him a lead of 19.01s from Michael Rutter (123.309mph), with Gary Johnson (122.980mph) in third 2.95s behind Rutter. Conor Cummins held fourth place, just 0.46s behind Johnson, with his opening lap of 122.929mph. Saiger (122.247mph) was fifth; Paul Jordan (121.684mph) completed the leader board. Josh Brookes (121.380mph) had moved through heavy traffic to hold eighth place, 37s behind the race leader, at the end of the opening lap.
Harrison was 24.9s ahead of Rutter at Glen Helen on lap 2. Cummins was just 3.5s down on Rutter and had edged 1.3s ahead of Johnson. Rutter’s smoking machine forced him to retire at Ballacrye. In his home town Cummins was in second place 34s behind Harrison with Johnson holding third, 1.5sdown on the Manx rider.
Coming in to the pits at the end of the second lap, Harrison’s lap at126.041mph gave him a lead of 37.5s from Cummins (124.301mph); with Johnson (123.864mph) in third. Cummins and Johnson both had lengthy pit stops; dropping around 19s to their main rivals. For Johnson the race lasted just 1 more mile; he was forced to retire at Quarterbridge. Josh Brookes, having worked his way through the field up to seventh, lost time before Cronk Ny Mona and was reported as a retirement in the pits.
The effect of the pit stops could be seen clearly at Glen Helen; Harrison led by 53s from new second place man Saiger; who was 9s ahead of Cummins. Paul Jordan and Ramsey’s Andrew Dudgeon completed the top five, eighteen and twenty-three seconds down on Cummins respectively. At Ballaugh, Harrison’s lead was 56s from Saiger, who was keeping Cummins at bay by 8.3s. There was little change at Ramsey; where Jordan, Dudgeon and last year’s double MGP winner Mikey Evans completed the leader board.
As he charged past the Grandstand to begin the final 37.73mph lap Harrison had extended his lead over Saiger to almost a minute courtesy of a third lap of 118.013mph with Cummins now 11.5s behind Saiger.
The last lap was fairly uneventful apart from the retirement of Jordan at Handley’s Corner. Harrison continued serenely; nursing the machine home and he duly secured the race win with a last lap of 124.238mph from Saiger (123.560mph) with Cummins clinching the final podium place with his last lap of 123.832mph; he finished 9.85s behind Saiger; half of the time lost in the pits. Dudgeon took a superb fourth place; Jamie Coward recovered from a problematic first lap to snatch fifth from Evans with a final lap at 123.522mph.
RST Superbike Classic TT
- Dean Harrison Silicone Kawasaki 123.357mph
- Horst Saiger Greenall Kawasaki 121.614mph
- Conor Cummins Padgetts Yamaha 121.366mph
- Andrew Dudgeon Burns Kawasaki 120.524mph
- Jamie Coward Kraus Kawasaki 117.913mph
- Mikey Evans Wilcock Kawasaki 116.919mph