Belfast Telegraph

Lee Johnston is aiming for treble glory at Ulster Grand Prix

 

By Roy Harris

Lee Johnston will arrive at Dundrod for the Ulster Grand Prix chasing a hat-trick of international road race wins in the Supersport class.

Johnston has already won at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT on his Ashcourt Racing Yamaha YZF-R6.

The Maguiresbridge ace, who is now based in Hull, is confident of tasting more success.

"It's been a good year so far," he said. "People say I've turned a corner, but I haven't been riding any harder. It is just all the little things that are coming together and making the difference."

Johnston was speaking as Northern Ireland's leading taxi company, fonaCAB, were announced as title sponsors for the 2019 Ulster Grand Prix from August 5-10.

fonaCAB-supported rider Johnston joined Managing Director William McCausland and Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston to make the announcement at the Dundrod circuit yesterday.

"As a lifelong road racing fan and veteran of many visits to Bike Week, I'm delighted we will be the title sponsors of the 2019 fonaCAB Ulster Grand Prix," Mr McCausland said.

"Having sat at Wheeler's Corner and Quarry Bends enjoying the racing over many years, I know first-hand the quality of both the course and the competitors and of what's involved in putting together such a prestigious event, one which we are proud to put our name to.

"The fonaCAB brand is becoming synonymous with bike racing in Northern Ireland and our support of the Ulster Grand Prix follows our successful title sponsorship of the 2019 North West 200 and of the Tyco BMW team."

The Belfast company also provide backing for a growing list of competitors, with Johnston and Paul Jordan carrying the company brand at the Ulster Grand Prix, while fonaCAB also sponsor Glenn Irwin, Jeremy McWilliams, Scott Swann, Simon Reid and Gerard Kinghan on the international stage.

Clerk of the Course Johnston said: "We are delighted to have fonaCAB on board as title sponsors for Ulster Grand Prix Bike Week in 2019. It has provided a big boost just as we are laying our final plans for all the action to begin.

"William McCausland is a road racing fan and his enthusiasm for the sport is obvious and infectious.

"As an international road race meeting that attracts global attention, the Ulster Grand Prix will provide a major platform to showcase the fonaCAB brand."

Lee Johnston's recent winning streak ended a lean period for the 30-year-old following a series of injuries in recent seasons.

"It took time to get over those and I wasn't in the right frame of mind," he explained.

"At times I didn't feel like riding at all."

After a difficult season with the Honda Racing Team in 2018, Johnston chose to run his own team under the Ashcourt Racing banner this year and it has given him a new lease of life.

"I never really got on with the Superbike last year," he said. "Organising my own team means I am hands-on in every little thing. That's a great motivator and has given me a new racing interest."

Johnston has also focused on the British Supersport Championship in an attempt to sharpen his skills for the roads and rejoins the BSB scene following the TT at Knockhill this weekend.

He said: "I really want to win a British Supersport race this year.

"I've beaten Jack (Kennedy) and Alastair (Seeley) before and want to do it again."

At Dundrod, Johnston competes on Ashcourt Racing Superbike and Superstock BMWs and Supersport Yamaha YZF-R6, while in Supertwin he will compete on a KMR prepared Kawasaki, with the two Supersport races his main focus.

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