DEAN Harrison has secured the prestigious Duke Road Race Rankings Championship for 2016, becoming only the second Englishman to win the title since the series commenced in 2002.
Held over 23 rounds of racing, which kicked off at the Mid Antrim 150 National Road Races in Northern Ireland in early April and concluded at the recent Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, Dean made a cautious start to his 2016 campaign.
The 27 year-old Yorkshireman joined the ranks at the second round, the Bob Smith Spring National held at Oliver’s Mount, comfortably slotting into third place aboard the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki.
Falling to ninth prior to the North West 200, Harrison’s triangle prowess pushed him back up to eighth, and he continued the climb all the way to third thanks to a triple podium effort at the Isle of Man TT.
After the Cock O’ The North Road Races at Scarborough, he topped the tables and began stretching his lead.
From round 10, the Silicone Engineering rider was trailed closely by neighbouring Lincolnshireman Ivan Lintin, but the latter’s chase was somewhat thwarted after a racing incident during the Southern 100.
Ever the bridesmaid, Lintin settled into second overall in the rankings for the third year running, in part due to his injury which forced a multi-round reprieve from competition.
Only 55 points behind in third place was 2013 Duke Road Race Rankings Champ and 13-time TT winner Michael Dunlop.
Rising star Malachi Mitchell-Thomas, piloting the Cookstown Burrows Engineering Racing machinery, headed the 2016 rankings after the opening round at Mid Antrim and remained on the top rung until the TT, despite his untimely passing at the North West 200 – Malachi finished in 17th place overall.
Perpetual National Superstock 1000 threat and 5-in-a-week TT winner Ian Hutchinson briefly topped the rankings after round 8, but failed to halt the charge of young ‘Deano’.
After the series finale on the Guia Circuit in Macau, the Bradford lad became only the seventh rider to see his name engraved on the coveted ‘Geoff Duke Trophy’.
1 Dean Harrison 2690
2 Ivan Lintin 1790
3 Michael Dunlop 1735
4 Derek Sheils 1269
5 Ian Hutchinson 1207
6 James Cowton 1146
7 William Dunlop 1127
8 Dan Kneen 928
9 Jamie Coward 897
10 Michael Sweeney 851
11 Brad Vicars 744
12 Daley Mathison 737
13 Mick Goodings 733
14 Paul Jordan 733
15 Derek McGee 721
16 Dan Hegarty 650
17 Malachi Mitchell-Thomas 643
18 Paul Owen 636
19 Davy Morgan 628
20 Adam McLean 622
*Image by Matthew Welch Photography