DEAN Harrison experienced the highs and lows of motorcycle racing at the Ulster Grand Prix last weekend.
The Bradford ace had a superb podium finish in the Superstock race, missing out on a share of gold by one-thousandth of a second before crashing heavily in the Supersport race.
Among Harrison's injuries were a broken wrist, a dislocated shoulder and four broken ribs.
However, the long weekend had started brilliantly for Harrison and his RC Express Racing by MSS Performance team.
In last Thursday’s Dundrod 150 Superbike race, he made a superb start on his ZX-10R Kawasaki, completing the first lap in third place and, for the entire five-lap race, he battled with Michael and William Dunlop and Lee Johnston for the final podium position. Although Michael Dunlop eventually took third place, Harrison successfully saw off the challenges of the other two riders and, with a new personal best lap of 133.217mph, he took an excellent fourth place.
Saturday’s Ulster Grand Prix race day got off to a superb beginning when he took second in the Superstock, although he was denied victory by that unbelievably close margin by Manxman Dan Kneen.
Having grabbed the lead on the opening lap, Harrison,Kneen and Bruce Anstey were never more than half a second apart, with positions changing on each and every lap.
There were five changes of leader on the final lap but Kneen’s intermediate tyres helped him be stronger on the final third of the circuit, from the hairpin to the start and finish line.
Indeed, Harrison re-took the lead at the hairpin, only for Kneen to close in on the run to the line and they flashed across the start and finish line side by side, and then came an anxious wait for the timekeeper’s verdict.
It went to Kneen but the result was still Harrison's, and the team’s, best result at the Ulster GP.
However, from the high of a rostrum came the season’s low in the following Supersport race when the Bradford man, riding the Mar-Train Racing Yamaha, crashed heavily at Ireland’s with, ironically, Kneen also going down.
The race was subsequently red-flagged, with Harrison being taken to hospital in Belfast, where his recovery has started.
Team co-owner Ben Constable said: "Dundrod’s proving to be a bit of a bogey circuit for us and there’s always something that seems to spoil the meeting for us.
"Dean’s crash and subsequent injuries have obviously put a downer on the results he achieved on the RC Express Racing machines but things had been going really well up until that point.
"His 133mph lap on Thursday showed what pace he had and what he was capable of, while he couldn’t have done any more in the Superstock race.
"To lose out by such a small margin is a tough one to take but it was a great podium and we’re all just wishing him a speedy recovery now so he can get back out on a bike as soon as possible.”