Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Johnston out to kickstart his campaign at Dundrod


By Roy Harris

By his own admission, it has been quite a low-key season for Lee Johnston.

After joining 16-time TT winner Ian Hutchinson to form 2018's Honda Racing team late last year, the Fermanagh rider put in a strong performance at the North West 200 with three podium finishes but failed to replicate this success at the subsequent Isle of Man TT.

Commenting on his recent run of form and his hopes for next month's Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod, Johnston said: "It's no secret that we struggled at the TT. We had a few mechanical problems and, although the results weren't disastrous, it wasn't where we wanted to be.

"We definitely enjoyed a good North West and I am keen to bring us back to that form at Dundrod. The point of racing is to win, so my mindset when I approach a race like the Ulster is always about a first on that podium."

After making his first podium at the Dundrod 150 in 2012, and clinching the Man of the Meeting award in 2015, Johnston is keen to build on previous successes.

He said: "I've had big results in Dundrod in the past and it is without doubt my favourite circuit. I love the flowing nature and natural form of the track, and when you find a good rhythm on it, it makes for really enjoyable racing.

"I think the Supersport class may provide us with our best chance of a win. Obviously it's a Padgett's bike so it is a proven package with Bruce Anstey clocking up a lot of race wins on it.

"The Superstock bike just isn't fast enough for this circuit, but if we get everything right on the day with the Superbike we will be in definite contention for a win."

Welcoming an enthusiastic Johnston back for the 2018 meeting, Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston commented: "I know Lee is keen to redeem himself after a lacklustre TT and I am looking forward to seeing him in action over both race days.

"He put in a strong performance at both Supersport races last year, placing third in both, and as a fan favourite the whole of Dundrod will be cheering him on for a win."

Meanwhile, UGP organisers have announced three motorbike convoys to take place during the August 5-11 Bike Week, starting from different locations but all ending with a lap of the world-famous Dundrod circuit on Tuesday, August 7.

Building on the success of their involvement in the event for the past two years, the renowned Dromara Destroyers will again lead a ride out from the Village Square in Dromara, and have asked anyone who wishes to join them to be there for 7pm before leaving at 7.30pm.

The second ride out will be for scooters and Vespas and will leave from Scooter Specialist NI on Great Victoria Street in Belfast at 7.30pm.

The third ride out will be for Harley Davidsons and will leave from their showroom in the Kilbegs Business Park in Antrim.

Noel Johnston added: "The Dromara Destroyers - Brian Reid, Ian McGregor, Raymond McCullough and Trevor Steele -were a force to be reckoned with in their halcyon days and it's fantastic to have them on board again this year.

"The numbers participating in the convoy have increased year on year and I have no doubt we will see even more riders on the 20-mile stretch between Dromara and Dundrod.

"Last year we introduced a ride out of scooters from Belfast, and the addition of a convoy of Harley Davidsons from Antrim this year demonstrates the popularity of this Bike Week event."

For more information and a full schedule of UGP Bike Week events, visit the official website at

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