Classic TT: Lee Johnston dominates 350cc race on Mountain

Lee Johnston
Lee Johnston

Fermanagh’s Lee Johnston claimed his maiden win on the Mountain Course with victory in the Okell’s 350cc Classic TT on Tuesday.

Johnston blasted the lap record on the Black Eagle Racing MV Agusta with a stunning 105.239mph speed on his second lap as he went on to take the spoils by 45 seconds from Alan Oversby (Davies Motorsport Honda).

The three-lap race had been postponed from Monday due to bad weather conditions on the Isle of Man, but dry roads and bright sunshine greeted riders and spectators on Tuesday, although high winds were reported on the Mountain.

Ulsterman William Dunlop had been in contention for the lead on the opening lap with team-mate Oversby, but was shunted back to third by the hard-charging Johnston at Glen Helen on lap two.

The 25-year-old had a seven-second deficit to overhaul, but Johnston was rapidly closing on Oversby and took the lead by the time they reached the Bungalow.

Boosted by his record lap, Johnston held an advantage of 3.8 seconds at the start of the final lap and continued to streak away at the front, winning in the end by 45 seconds to stamp his authority on the race on the iconic Italian machine.

Oversby clinched the runner-up spot ahead of Roy Richardson, although Dunlop was ruled out at Douglas Road Corner in Kirk Michael with machine trouble on the final lap while lying third.

Ian Lougher, who won the 500cc Classic TT on Saturday, Ballyclare’s Jamie Hamilton and Chris Swallow rounded out the top six.

Johnston took over the ride on the MV Agusta as a replacement for Dean Harrison, who was injured in a crash at the Ulster Grand Prix.

He later revealed that the bike had been misfiring on the opening lap and he considered retiring before the issue corrected itself.

Tom Jackson, on the T20 Suzuki, was awarded the Phil Read Classic TT Trophy as the first 250cc machine home, finishing in 20th, while Roy Richardson took the Geoff Duke trophy as the highest placed single cylinder 350 machine in the race.

Tony Tuttle was reported as off at Waterworks but escaped unhurt and was taken back to the Grandstand in a course car.

Michael Dunlop, Connor Behan, James Hillier and Dan Cooper, were among the retirements in the race.