Ulster GP: Johnson drafted in as replacement for Johnston

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Gary Johnson has been drafted in as an eleventh hour replacement for the injured Lee Johnston at this week’s Ulster Grand Prix.

Johnston fell from his 250cc Honda in a wet opening Lightweight/UltraLightweight practice session on Wednesday, suffering a broken collarbone meaning he’ll miss the remainder of the week’s action. 

With everything set and ready to go, the East Coast Construction Burdens BMW team have called in Gary Johnson, who wasn’t originally set to ride at the end, as a last minute replacement. Johnson flew in overnight, arriving at Dundrod at 11pm last night.  


“Circumstances aren’t what anybody wants,” he told MCN. “Lee is a real good friend and I’m one of his biggest supporters, so to find out he’s had an off and hurt himself isn’t great, but hey it’s a collarbone and we’ve all been there. He’ll come back stronger.”

Johnson isn’t without experience of the ECC BMW having taken his first TT victory with the squad on a Honda five years ago.  

“I rode with these guys in 2011, had my first TT win with them and they are a great team and I’ve worked with every one of the mechanics at some point. I’m chuffed with that; the Triumph is a brilliant 600.”

“2013 was last time I was here at the Ulster so it’s been a few years but the track is still the same. I’d liked to have been going out in dry weather but it is what it is. The team runs different tyres to what I normally run, I’m usually on Metzelers but they run Dunlop, so there are a few little variations but I’m looking forward to it. 

“We’ve a bit of a mountain to climb but I’m an experienced rider, I’m not going to push myself and build up slowly. If I can qualify on the first five rows and get a good start and a good slipstream I think I can make a race of it. I don’t expect to be winning stuff, I just want to build up nice and steady and towards the end of the races I’d like to be running in the front group.”

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing