JOHN Dean stamped his authority on the Scottish Championship this weekend as he powered to a clean sweep at the Knockhill Motor Sports Club season opener.
The former Scottish Superbike champion has been anxiously awaiting a return to the track after dealing with a diabetes diagnosis that took him out of action for the entire 2017 season.
But few could have predicted the Hawick man would storm to five wins on the trot in his first round back, and come away with the Scottish and KMSC Superbike points leads.
Despite just missing out on pole for race one to Callum Grigor, Dean passed the Kirkaldy Kawasaki rider and hit the front on lap two to lead all the way to the flag, taking the win by 1.4s ahead of Max Alexander and Ducati-mounted Sean Gilfillan.
Grigor again led early in race two, but mistakes sent him down the order and allowed Dean to power to another win in a repeat podium of race one, with Why Aye Motorsport’s Alexander and Reid Roofing’s Gilfillan nabbing another second and third.
On Sunday, however, the Blinkbonny Quarry BMW rider had to fend off former club and Scottish champ Bruce Birnie, among the other contenders.
Despite Birnie’s furious pace, which gave the Carnegie Fuels BMW man a new KMSC Superbikes track record of 50.115s, Dean kept him at bay to a hat-trick on the final day of racing, making it five wins from five as Birnie had to settle for three runner-up finishes, with Gilfillan and Grigor sharing thirds.
While Dean admits he’s surprised at his pace, he’s adamant there’s more to come as he continues to get back into the groove of things trackside.
“I honestly didn’t expect it,” he told UK Clubsport. “I went with the intention of getting a podium or two as I knew the grid would be really strong, but to win all five races was way beyond my and the teams expectations.
“To be able to come back after a year out and do what I’ve done, I myself can’t believe it. I’ve landed on my feet running and don’t intend on slowing down anytime soon.”
*Images: Jennifer Charlton