Isle of Man TT: Gary Johhson vows to return stronger after frustrating week

Johnson was undone by a lack of preparation time with his new machine EMN-171206-164732002
Johnson was undone by a lack of preparation time with his new machine EMN-171206-164732002

Gary Johnson didn’t have the best of times at this year’s Isle of Man TT races as he struggled to get to grips with a new bike.

Johnson, from Broughton, near Brigg, received the bike just a week before the TT, leaving him facing a race against time to get the bike prepared for racing.

The lack of time on development and then a shortage of practice because of bad weather left Johnson on the back foot.

Poor weather played havoc with the TT timetable with riders hardly turning a wheel in practice, and forcing organisers to put racing back a day and allow riders to use Saturday as a full day of practice.

Johnson qualified well in all four classes, seventh in the Lightweight and Supersport, and 15th in the Superbike and Superstock.

He had been running well in the opening Superbike race in 12th over the first two laps, but was then forced out with a slight mechanical issue at Sulby on lap three.

Riding the Triumph 675R in Monday’s Supersport race, Johnson had a good ride and completed the four-lap affair in sixth.

“We had a good run out in the Supersport race,” he said. “The Triumph was superb throughout the race and we had a really good, fast pitstop.

“The conditions out on track weren’t ideal with some damp patches in areas, but we are happy with a sixth place.”

On Wednesday Gary was to start his 50th TT race with the Superstock event, but after only five laps of practice.

With a strong side wind blowing as the race began and with the bike not running as well as he would have liked, Johnson retired at the end of the first lap.

Hoping for better luck in the four-lap Lightweight race later in the day, Gary was riding well and completed the first lap in 11th.

He moved through to eighth on time at Ramsey on lap two, but his luck ran out on the Mountain Mile and he retired at the Bungalow.

The second Supersport race was cancelled altogether on Thursday because of heavy rain, leaving just the blue riband six-lap Senior TT race on Friday which he finished in 16th place.

Gary said: “We made some more changes and development to the electronics, but late delivery and a lack of track time meant we had to run with standard ECU so the Suzuki is just not quite ready for the TT.

“It’s really just teething problems, but we will be able to develop the bike further now and it will be much better next year.”