Motorcycling: Gary Johnson denied Donington Park treble by mechanical issue

Gary Johnsons first major target of the season will come at the North West 200 in Northern Ireland EMN-170330-094811002
Gary Johnsons first major target of the season will come at the North West 200 in Northern Ireland EMN-170330-094811002

International road racer Gary Johnson came up trumps at Donington Park, winning two of his three races with Thundersport GB in the 600 Sportsman Elite class.

The Broughton rider took advantage of the track time to test his GTR Triumph machine as part of his preparations for the road racing season, beginning with the North West 200 races in Northern Ireland in May.

Prior to that he was at the launch of the Isle of Man TT races in Douglas which was streamed throughout the world via the TT website.

In warm and sunny conditions, Johnson (36) eased his way to pole position in qualifying and took a decisive lights-to-flag win, more than four seconds ahead of William White in Saturday’s first race.

The victory secured pole position for race two the next morning where he led the field around the first few laps before being overtaken by Kawasaki rider Max Wadsworth on lap four of 12.

But he got his head down and gradually reeled him back in to snatch the lead at Redgate corner on lap eight.

From then on he gradually extended his race lead to cross the finish line more than three seconds ahead of Wadsworth for his second win of the weekend.

Starting the final race from pole, Johnson encountered a problem with the clutch on the warm-up lap.

He decided to start the race to see if it cleared, but it didn’t and he pulled into the pits to retire at the end of the lap.

He said: “I have had a good couple of races here at Donington, but the clutch let me down in the final race and denied me the hat-trick.

“But that’s how it goes; after all I was testing the bike ready for this year’s high-profile road races and at least the fault has shown up here and not at the TT.”