Lee Johnston, one of Northern Ireland’s world class road racers, is competing in his second consecutive full season in the British Supersport Championship. With just four races to go, he’s currently lying in third place.
In any 'normal' pre Covid year, some of the top road racers always participate in a few British Championship rounds before the start of the International roads season in mid May to sharpen them up and provide some additional track time for bike set up. But with the pandemic wiping out the International roads calendar for the past two years, our posse of top roads specialists have focussed on a full season in the British Championship and its support races: Dean Harrison in BSB, John McGuinness in the Ducati TriOptions Cup and Lee in British Supersport. Even Conor Cummins has fitted in a few Superstock races in between ensuring the residents of the Isle of Man remain caffine fuelled.
With nine International road race wins plus multiple Scarborough victories, Lee's one of the Country’s finest Supersport road racers. But he's also a class act on circuits. Before he switched to closed roads, he won the British Superstock 600 Championship in 2007 and still regularly instructs on track days at Jamie Whitham’s Track Training school.
Lee on board the Ashcourt Racing Yamaha R6 at the NW200
The British Superbike Championship and its support events is the most competitive domestic motorcycle series in the world and inevitably, the competition’s fierce across all classes. Currently leading the Supersport class is Jack Kennedy from Dublin. He’s a double British Supersport champion with his eyes firmly set on a third title. His consistency again this year has been mega: thirteen podiums from fourteen race finishes – with five wins, five seconds and three thirds. And he’s been taken out twice and had a mechanical DNF whilst leading a race. Australian Ben Currie, now lying in second place overall, has twice been a runner up and third place finisher in the Supersport Championship.
Lee’s got off to a great start this season with three podiums over the first two rounds – Oulton Park (3rd) and Knockhill (2nd & 3rd). He bagged another 2nd at Thruxton (round 4) but unfortunately didn’t finish in the second race. Another DNF followed at Donington along with a 5th. But he came back strongly over the next two rounds with two wins (Silverstone and Snetterton) and a second place also at Silverstone to take his podium finishes so far to seven. The Silverstone win represented a real season high point being his first victory in the British Supersport Championship.
He entered this past weekend’s round at Oulton Park lying in 4th only 16 points behind the (then) leader Ben Currie, twelve points behind Jack Kennedy and just one point behind Bradley Perie in 3rd. After a hard fought 12 lap sprint race on Saturday where he finished in 4th, he was incredibly unlucky in Sunday’s fourteen lap feature race. On lap 10, whilst lying in second behind Kennedy, the safety car was deployed just before Lee moved into the lead. Race Control deemed the pass to have been made under safety car conditions and imposed a three second penalty. The same thing happened to Ben Currie who had taken the chequered flag only to find that he had been also penalised by three seconds and relegated to 4th. Lee was therefore the fifth Supersport machine across the line but now lies in overall third – 38 points behind Kennedy, 25 behind Currie and two ahead of Bradley Perie
Next up is the penultimate round at Donington Park (October 1st-3rd). So there are still 100 points to play for but there are going to be a handful of highly determined racers 'banging bars' to grab them!
Go on Lee - stick it on the top step!
Lee in 2019 on his way to a 4th NW200 win.
📸. Jamie Morris & Diego Mola