Lee Johnston out of Ulster Grand Prix battle after crash as Michael Dunlop eyes Super glory
Fermanagh’s Lee Johnston, a treble winner at last year’s event, is out of this week’s MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix after breaking his collarbone during yesterday’s qualifying sessions.
Johnston, who had just regained full fitness after a high-speed crash at Scarborough in April, high-sided off a 250cc Honda at the Lindsay Hairpin in the Lightweight session, just after he’d set the provisional pole position time.
He will now be replaced in the East Coast Racing team by Lincolnshire’s Gary Johnson.
Dubliner Derek Sheils, the only rider to have beaten Michael Dunlop this season on a Superbike, will start from pole position in today’s Plant Lubrications NI Dundrod 150 after the Cookstown B.E Racing rider impressed on his GSX-R1000 Suzuki Superbike.
Wet conditions levelled the playing field at Dundrod during yesterday’s qualifying, although Superbike king Michael Dunlop qualified the Hawk Racing BMW Motorrad UK-supported S1000RR in third place, but will undoubtedly start favourite.
Honda’s Conor Cummins sits in the middle of the front row.
William Dunlop heads up the second row aboard his MMB Racing R1 Yamaha, with Derek McGee (NW Racing BMW), Jamie Coward (RC Express Kawasaki) and Tyco BMW’s Ian Hutchinson filling the remaining spots on row two.
Roads close today at 10am for practice and qualifying ahead of today’s Ulster Grand Prix, followed by a five-race programme for the Plant Lubrication NI Dundrod 150 Road Races.
Dean Campbell will start on pole position for the opening race, the Dundrod 150 National, over five laps.
With Johnston out, the pole position slot in the Lightweight class will be taken over by Neil Kernohan on the Logan Racing 250cc Honda.
Christian Elkin, Derek McGee, Adam McLean and Sam Wilson are on the front row of the Ultra Lightweight (125GP/Moto3) grid. Gary Dunlop is eighth on his Dundrod debut, a favourite of his late father Joey,
But the most anticipated race is the Topaz Dundrod 150 Superbike encounter.
It will be interesting to see if Cookstown B.E Racing’s Sheils can make the best of his pole position spot and take a podium.
It will be a big ask with the Dunlop brothers and Ian Hutchinson breathing down his neck but Sheils will give it his best shot.
Wednesday Qualifying Times for Dundrod 150 Races: Dundrod 150 Qualifying: 1st D. Sheils 117.195mph, 2nd 116.935, 3rd M. Dunlop 116.352.
Supertwin: 1st D. McGee 108.107mph, 2nd D. Cooper 106.851, 3rd M. Sweeney 105.956.
UGP Supersport: 1st M. Dunlop 117.782mph, B. Anstey 117.115, 3rd D. McGee 116.322.