When a 28-year-old lad from Bradford lifted the Senior TT trophy for the first time in 2019, the odds of him still holding it three years later may have seemed lower than they turned out to be. After the hiatus caused by the pandemic, Dean Harrison heads to the Isle of Man for TT 2022 as the man to beat. 

Speaking to Chris Pritchard and Steve Plater for the latest episode of The TT Podcast, Dean says despite his Senior victory in 2019, he tries not to feel the impact of pressure: “People do try and put a bit of pressure on you. To be honest, I try to ignore it. What will be will be. I’m still going to try my best with the bike I’ve got”.

Growing up, Dean had a motocross bike he rode around a local quarry, but he didn’t compete. He says he didn’t have the money. Instead, he worked as a car mechanic, but each year travelled to the Isle of Man to watch his dad, Conrad Harrison, who raced sidecars After years spent behind the barriers along Bray Hill, Dean says it’s still his favourite part of the course: “On a 600, coming from Governor’s Bridge down Bray Hill is one of  the best things ever … because I know what it’s like to watch, I can envisage both sides of the fence”.

So when did the realisation set in that he was actually pretty good at road racing? Dean says during his second TT in 2012, there was a point where he was ahead of Simon Andrews who was riding for factory Honda (but Simon crashed half a lap later): “and I thought he’s meant to be some BSB hero … and I’ve never been to a BSB race”.

From Dean’s conversation with Chris and Steve, it’s clear the main reason he competes in the TT is because he enjoys it so much: “It’s too dangerous not to be fun”. Not only does Dean love racing on The Mountain Course, but the whole Manx experience fills him with joy: “You’ve gotta be relaxed on the Isle of Man. When I get there I go ah, I’m on holiday again”.

During the podcast, Dean explains decisions behind switching tyres to Dunlop, his feelings about the dangers associated with the TT and the mental and physical challenges he experiences on the bike.

And would he rather get married, or win a TT race?

Dean has won 3 TT races, but never on a superstock. Chris and Steve challenge him to complete the set this year. And perhaps in the years ahead, he’ll continue family tradition and take up sidecar racing.

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