Nathan Harrison says competing at Manx Grand Prix 'makes a bad year better'

Nathan Harrison standing next to his bikes
Nathan Harrison won the Junior and Senior MGP races in 2019

Rider Nathan Harrison says being able to compete in the Manx Grand Prix has "made a bad year better".

The Manxman said withdrawing from the TT through injury, followed by his mother's death from cancer, had been a "double blow" earlier this year.

The 25-year-old is set to return to racing on the Mountain Course on a Honda RC45 in the Classic Superbike race for Ashcourt Racing.

He said being offered Lee Johnston's bike was a "fantastic opportunity".

Johnston, from Fermanagh in Northern Ireland but now based in Huddersfield, is recovering from multiple injuries he suffered in a crash at the North West 200 in May.

Harrison said it was "great" to be able to get back to racing on the 37.75-mile (60km) Mountain Course in the Manx Grand Prix (MGP), after a broken collarbone suffered in a separate crash at the same event ruled him out of June's TT races.

He said while he had been disappointed to miss that event, he "probably wouldn't have been in the right frame of mind" to take part following the loss of his mother a week after the crash.

He had been due to race for Honda at the 2023 event, having secured a top-10 finish in his debut at the event the previous year.

"I think looking back now I was gutted I wasn't doing the TT but I think everything was meant to happen for a reason," Harrison said.

"My dad and the team boss from Honda said that they were worried about me as a person, as well as my injuries.

"And looking back, they were looking out for me.

"So, I was absolutely gutted to miss out on the TT, but obviously nothing can replace your mum at the same time."

He said while it had been "a hard time", he had now done "what my mum would want and that's get back racing bikes".

"She wouldn't want me to be moping around doing nothing, so bikes are my focus.

"So to get back round the TT course doing that has made a bad year better."

Harrison, who is set to take part in Monday's four-lap Classic Superbike race, won both the Junior and Senior MGP races at the 2019 Grand Prix.

He said he had watched the event all through his childhood and the centenary of the event was a "great thing to be part of".

"It's been a big part of our family as well, my dad did it, my brother's done it, obviously I've done it.

"It never fails to excite you, and to be able to do something like that - there's nowhere else in the world like it."