Gary Johnson to ride through pain barrier at North West 200

Gary Johnson will ride through the pain barrier as the international road racing season begins EMN-190513-114642002
Gary Johnson will ride through the pain barrier as the international road racing season begins EMN-190513-114642002

Gary Johnson endured a torrid time at Oulton Park when he became involved in a crash in free practice.

Johnson, from Broughton, near Brigg, was using the track time to get some extra practice in on the Lee Hardy Racing Kawasaki before the international road racing season which kicks off this week in Northern Ireland.

Having completed the first free practice session of the Pirelli Superstock 1000 championship round without incident, it all went wrong for the Lincolnshire rider at the start of the second session.

Following another experienced rider, Michael Rutter was forced to slam on his brakes when a rider ahead lost control of his machine.

Rutter managed to stop, but hit the back of the other rider and Johnson had nowhere to go and hit the back of Rutter’s bike, becoming tangled in the back wheel.

With the bike still running, the tyre caused severe friction burns to Johnson’s leg.

“I tried my best to avoid the collision, but it was impossible,” he explained.

“I passed out with the pain caused by the tyre rubbing against my leg and also banged my spine when I fell.

“I was taken to hospital where my spine was checked, but thankfully the tests came back all clear, but I have multiple severe burns to the inside of my leg which may need skin grafts.”

Johnson then attended the plastics unit at Hull Royal Infirmary who said they would not do anything for at least a week as the wound needed time to settle.

By then Johnson will be in Northern Ireland for the North West 200 races before heading straight over to the Isle of Man TT.

“I have everything in place so that at the end of each practice session and race I will get the wounds redressed to make sure I don’t pick up an infection,” he added.

“It’s a matter of dancing with the devil as I really need to be able to race at both meetings.

“It’s not an ideal situation, but I will do my best and see how it goes.”

Johnson rides in the Supersport, Superstock and Superbike races at the North West 200 for Lee Hardy Racing on the RAF Regulars and Reserves machines.

Practice is scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday, and racing on Thursday from 5pm to 9pm, and Saturday from 9.15am to 7pm.