Belfast Telegraph

Lee Johnston fit and raring to go for the Ulster Grand Prix


By Roy Harris

Lee Johnston has confirmed to race organisers that he is fit to compete in the MCE Ulster Grand Prix having recovered sufficiently from injuries sustained during a practice crash at the TT in June when he was airlifted to hospital with back, tail-bone and finger fractures.

The Hull-based rider originally from Maguiresbridge used the UGP as his goal for recovery and although he hasn't had any time on the bikes since the crash, he is coming with the intent to win at least one race.

Johnston, a three time UGP winner in 2015, said: "I always go racing to win and if I feel good and well as hopefully I am then I plan on trying to win a few races at the Ulster.

"You're wasting petrol, fuel, tyres and everything if you're not going with winning in mind. It might not happen, but you have to at least set that target, if you turn up thinking you're going to get a top five then you definitely won't win."

The 28-year old, who missed last year's UGP following a practice crash in which he broke a collar bone, continued: "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 hospital I made a plan in my head that this was what I wanted to do and that helped me in recovery - you need to aim for something. I've worked really hard to get to this point, everything from oxygen chambers to a guy coming to the house with a magnetic bed and all sorts.

"The break in my back has healed, but it's the nerve damage to deal with and that's going to be sore for months and months.

"I'll get a painkiller injection before the Ulster to calm it down a bit. I haven't ridden a bike yet, but I'm planning a test shortly.

"Apart from that I'm feeling good and back doing some light training.

"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 need to get bike sharp again and the only way to do that is get back on it."

Johnston will be riding East Coast Racing Superstock and Superbike machines and will join Bruce Anstey and Conor Cummins on Padgetts Motorcycles team for Supersport.

Noel Johnston, Clerk of the Course for the MCE UGP enthused: "The news that Lee has recovered well enough to compete is very welcome and adds to the overall strength of the entry. He was our 2015 Man of the Meeting and I know a lot of people will be glad to see him back and hopefully on winning form again."

Tickets for Bike Week which runs from the August 6-12, including the Dundrod 150, are available now on Ticketmaster.

Belfast Telegraph


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