Lee Johnston has confirmed to race organisers that he is fit to ride for the MCE Ulster Grand Prix. The Fermanagh rider was airlifted to hospital during the 2017 Isle of Man TT Supersport practice session with back, tailbone and finger fractures which ruled him out of the rest of the event.
He hasn’t had any riding time since the incident, however Johnston said that his goal of racing at the Ulster GP aided his recovery, and he is going there to win at least one race. He said:
“I always go racing to win, and if I’m feeling good and well as hopefully I am then I plan on trying to win a few races at the Ulster.
“You’re wasting petrol and fuel and tyres and everything if you’re not going with winning in mind. It might not happen but you have to at least set that goal, if you turn up thinking you’re only going to get top five then you’re definitely not going to win.
“It’s a big relief to be feeling race-ready for Dundrod. Only the people closest to me know that when I was still in the hospital I made a plan in my head that this was what I wanted to do and having that goal helped me in recovery, you need to be aiming for something.
“Apart from that I feel good, I’m back doing some light training. I haven’t ridden a bike yet but we’re planning to do a test next Thursday. I’ve been riding bikes long enough and had enough crashes that it doesn’t really make much difference to me confidence-wise. I just have to get bike sharp again and the only way to do that is to get back on it.”
Johnston will be joining the East Coast Racing Team on their Superstock and Superbike machinery, and he will also be riding alongside Bruce Anstey and Conor Cummins on the Padgett’s Motorcycles Team on their Supersport machine. Speaking about his teams hopes for the week, Johnston said:
“The good thing is I’m riding bikes that I know well which helps massively and I wouldn’t be going at all if I didn’t think I was going to be competitive.
“I might be a little bit rusty for the first couple of races until we get going again but the good thing about that is we have the Thursday racing to get back in the swing of it and then I’ll be hopefully be ready for the Saturday.”
Johnston was the 2015 Man of the Meeting, and Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston said he knows that “a lot of people will be glad to see him back and hopefully on winning form once again.”