Crowe and Johnson claim TT top-10 spots

Phil Crowe. Photo: Dave Kneen.
Phil Crowe. Photo: Dave Kneen.

Phil Crowe and Gary Johnson have both recorded top-10 finishes at the Isle of Man TT festival this week.

Market Rasen rider Crowe rode to a fantastic ninth place in the opening Superbike race and recorded his personal best lap of 129.95mph on the final lap.

Last year he became a force to be reckoned with in the big bike classes on his BMW 1000RR machine, and he was given a start number of 18th this week.

The riders set off at 10-second intervals at the start of the six-lap Superbike race on Saturday.

He made up time to 16th on the first 37.73-mile lap and, when he came in to refuel at the end of lap two, he was up to 12th place on time.

On lap four he made up time once again and was up into eighth place at his refueling stop, but on lap five he lost ground and as he started the final lap he was running in 11th place.

But he got his head down and passed Jamie Coward on time at Ballaugh and by the time he got to Ramsey for the final time he had overtaken Sam West to claim a fine ninth-place on the run across the mountain and down to the finish line at the Grandstand.

“It felt good and I was not hanging it out too much for a 129.95 lap,” Crowe said.

“Ninth place finish for me, but could easily have been seventh or maybe even sixth as we lost 20 seconds each pit stop then I had to pull it back over the next two laps.”

Crowe finished 19th in Monday’s four-lap Supersport race, also recording 16th in the Superstock later that afternoon.

After running in a strong sixth place on the RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki, Broughton rider Johnson was forced to retire on lap four at Sarah’s Cottage with a technical issue in the opening Superbike race.

Johnson has been there or thereabouts in practice week in every class and was looking good for a top-five finish in the six-lap Superbike race but it wasn’t to be.

Since making his debut in 2007, Johnson has established himself as one of the leading exponents around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course, taking wins in the 2011 and 2014 Supersport Races.

In total, he’s taken six podiums and his fastest lap of 130.945mph, set on a Kawasaki ZX-10R in 2016, makes him the 12th fastest rider of all time currently.

“With no data from previous years, it hasn’t been easy but the race was going well and I was in a comfortable sixth place,” said Johnson.

“But on lap three the bike didn’t quite feel right and through Glen Helen it was getting slower and making more noise, so I rolled off the throttle and pulled up at Sarah’s.

“It’s a real shame as we could have ended up in fifth with Dean (Harrison) retiring from the lead.”

Things got better for Johnson in Monday’s four-lap Supersport race as he held seventh throughout the race.

However, he did not finish the Superstock event later in the day.

Today (Wednesday) Crowe and Johnson will contest a second Supersport race at 10.45am, before both competing in Friday’s Superbike feature race, the Senior TT, over six grueling laps of the course at 12.45pm.