Johnston keen to bounce back with NW200 winning ways
He's the joker of the pack, but Fermanagh's Lee Johnston is ready to hit back after a difficult 2016, both personally and professionally, and rediscover the form that has brought about three career wins at the Vauxhall International North West 200.
Now with Jackson Racing, the Maguiresbridge rider will be hoping that their stable of Hondas can put him back on that coveted Coast Road top step in May.
The 28-year-old tested the team's Ten Kate-built Fireblade and his CBR600RR Supersport machines at the official Honda test in Monteblanco last week, and said: "The new bike felt good and on paper it should be competitive, but we just need to see how it goes on tarmac now."
Johnston will have his first international outing on the 2016-specification Fireblade at Portrush and will be hoping for better luck than he enjoyed last season when an early season crash at the Scarborough Spring Cup left him injured and out of sorts.
"I know what a bad year feels like and I don't want to feel it again," he lamented.
But with a Superstock and two Supertwin race victories under his belt around the Triangle circuit, Johnston is one of the men being tipped for success in 2017, despite his switch from BMW to Honda machinery this season.
"There is no reason why I can't win this year," said Johnston.