Silicone Engineering Kawasaki’s Dean Harrison flies to unofficial TT record during qualifying

Dean Harrison set the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races alight on Tuesday evening with a stunning lap of 133.462mph, with which the Kawasaki rider unofficially broke the Superbike lap record of the Mountain Course.

The Bradford rider laid down a marker from the outset with an opening lap of 133.140mph, the fastest ever standing start lap – albeit unofficially – before increasing his pace second time around which also saw him become the second rider to lap the Mountain Course in less than 17 minutes. The Bradford rider’s quickest lap prior to yesterday’s feat was 132.019mph, set in last year’s PokerStars Senior TT race.

With the sun continuing to shine on the island, conditions were again excellent all around the Mountain Course and after a slight delay due to oil being cleared at Ballig Bridge, the session got underway at 6.23pm.

James Hillier (JG Speedfit/ Quattro Plant Kawasaki) and Michael Dunlop (Tyco BMW) lead the superbikes off the line during the third practice session of TT 2018 practice.

Michael Dunlop (Tyco BMW) and James Hillier (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki) led the field away on their Superbikes followed by Dan Kneen (Tyco BMW), Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW), Ian Hutchinson (Honda Racing) and Gary Johnson (RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki), and Harrison and Michael Rutter (Bathams Racing BMW). Johnson was soon out though, his bad luck continuing as he pulled off at St Ninians and returned to the paddock.

It soon became clear that Harrison was setting a fierce pace throughout the 37.73-mile lap and although Dunlop and Hickman were first to cross the line at 132.319mph and 131.871mph respectively, he jumped to the top of the timesheets with his aforementioned opening lap of 133.140mph.

Kneen (130.668), Hillier (129.181), Rutter (129.583), Conor Cummins (129.756) and Martin Jessopp (128.144) were all going well but Harrison was in a class of his own and as he crossed the line, his lap speed came up as 133.462mph, some 1.4mph quicker than his personal best and only the second rider, after Michael Dunlop in 2016, to lap under 17 minutes.

Peter Hickman (Smith’s BMW) during the third practice session of TT 2018 practice.

Manxman Kneen was flying too and his lap of 132.258 was almost 2mph up on his best lap set in last year’s RL360 Superstock race while Hickman was again impressing at 132.169mph. David Johnson (Gulf BMW) improved to 129.360mph with Josh Brookes also upping his speed to 128.590mph which was just quicker than Phil Crowe’s impressive lap of 128.472mph.

As the session wore on, the lap speeds dipped slightly,  largely due to heavy traffic all around the course and the setting sun but Hickman and Harrison both managed 130mph+ laps on their Superstock bikes – Hickman the quicker with his second lap of 130.619mph. Kneen slotted into third ahead of Lee Johnston, Cummins and Hillier with Hickman’s third lap coming to a halt with a retirement at Crosby.

Elsewhere at the TT, William Dunlop has announced his withdrawal from the event citing personal reasons. reported that the Temple Golf Club Yamaha rider citing personal reasons for the eleventh-hour decision, which also follows his withdrawal from the North West 200 last week following a crash during practice.

“This is a very difficult decision and not one I have taken lightly, I can only apologise to the team and all of our sponsors but I believe that continuing would be the wrong decision and would not give a true account of either myself or the team. I would like to thank Tim especially for how understanding and supportive he has been over the past few weeks, I obviously feel like I have let him and the team down but they have stood by me throughout. I am going to head home and take some time to recuperate before making a decision on when I will be back on the Temple Yamahas.”