MOTORCYCLE rider Dean Harrison is taking a “big hit” financially due to the coronavirus pandemic, and he has also suggested this year might not see any racing taking place.
The former Hanson School pupil, who won the Sportsman of the Year gong at the Bradford Sports Awards in March, was set to defend his Isle of Man Senior TT title next month.
The Bradfordian was also due to compete in the British Superbikes Series, which was scheduled to start three weeks ago.
However, his plans to record back to back TT wins were scuppered when the event got cancelled, while the first three races of the Superbikes series have been postponed.
For Harrison, this means he won’t be able to earn any competition money in the near future, with no-one knowing when racing will resume.
Speaking about missing out on the chance to retain his Isle of Man title, Harrison said: “It is disappointing for me and everybody, whether you are a racer, a fan or someone who watches it on TV.
“It is one of them, there is nothing you can do, there are more pressing matters at hand. We have just got to wait it out unfortunately.
“I could see what was going on as it was spreading throughout the world. I said to the lads at work that this was going to get worse before it got better.
“Everything has been cancelled, whether it is Moto GP or Formula One. Even football has been stopped and when that happens it must be serious.
“You have got to try to keep yourself focused and busy in between and go from there. This year we would be lucky to get any racing in, the way things are going.
“We don’t get paid and I am self employed so I won’t get furloughed or anything. You just have to take a big hit. Even if you wanted to get a job, you couldn’t go out there and get one now.”
Sports like snooker and boxing are debating whether it is possible to come back behind closed doors.
However, Harrison does not think this could apply to motorcycling, as he feels the fans play too much of a part in creating the overall spectacle.
The 31-year-old said: “The problem with any event is the gathering of people. You have got Oulton Park, there might be 40,000 there.
“It is about the fans. Why aren’t football matches taking place without the fans there? It is the same principle. The whole point of a football game is so the fans can create an atmosphere.
“Everywhere you go, there are thousands of people around there creating the buzz. You need the fans.
“Riding a bike, you are going so fast that it is not too bad (the difference between fans and no fans), but everything around the world evolves around finances, so without the fans being there, how does it (the sport) generate money?”