Lee Johnston gets first TT win in Supersport race
"I don't know what I'm more happy about, catching Peter or the win." - Lee Johnston
Monster Energy Supersport TT Races tend to be exciting affairs and Monday evening’s edition was not an exception.
Right from the start there were just fractions between the leaders at Glen Helen.
James Hillier had the advantage as they passed Dave Christian in the Manx Radio TT commentary box for the first time, but he was just 1.367 seconds ahead of Lee Johnston. Johnston in turn had just 1.221 in hand from Gary Johnson.
Dean Harrison, Jamie Coward and Michael Dunlop took up the next three spots on the leaderboard but just 1.5 seconds covered all three. Peter Hickman in seventh position was on 0.105 seconds down on Dunlop and Cummins was a further 0.759 seconds back on Hickman.
By Ballaugh on lap one Hickman had put on a spurt and gathered in Dunlop but the top eight remained otherwise as at Glen Helen.
Johnston had the lead by the Bungalow, just 1.278 seconds ahead of Hillier, and Peter Hickman had edged into third 2.473 seconds in front of Gary Johnson.
Lee’s advantage at the start of the second lap of four was out to 1.989 seconds over James Hillier after the descent from the Mountain, completing his first lap at an average of 126.03mph.
Peter Hickman held on to his third place, eking out the lead on Gary Johnson to 3.181 seconds.
At Glen Helen there was a change in the third-fourth-fifth place battle as Harrison got ahead of Gary Johnson, although Hickman had pulled closer to second-placed Hillier trailing the Kawasaki man by only half a second.
Lee Johnson’s lead was slashed from 3.944 at Glen Helen on lap 2 to just 0.656 seconds at Ballaugh Bridge, the gap back to Hickman growing commensurately to 3.887 seconds as Hillier.
With pit stops at the end of the second lap position on the road and on the leaderboard was critical. Beginning the run up the Mountain from Ramsey the order remained Lee Johnston, James Hillier, Peter Hickman, Dean Harrison and Michael Dunlop (who passed Gary Johnson at Glen Helen), Johnson and Conor Cummins. With only 20 seconds covering the top seven a slip in the pits – by rider or team - could prove devastating.
As it proved pitstops didn’t even enter into the equation, with weather proving the decisive factor. As the leading pack charged down to Cronk-ny-mona deteriorating weather led to the decision to put the chequered flag out at half race distance.
The result was Lee Johnston’s first TT win, with Hillier in second and Hickman taking third.
The eventual time difference between the leaders was 3.641 seconds for Johnston over Hillier, with Hickman 1.326 seconds behind Hillier.