Lee Johnston being treated for ‘rare blood disease’ as TT winner vows to race on in 2021

Isle of Man TT winner Lee Johnston has confirmed he intends to race as planned this year after revealing he is being treated for a ‘rare blood disease’.

Sunday, 4th April 2021, 3:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 2:01 pm
Lee Johnston celebrates his Supersport win at the Isle of Man TT in 2019.

The Fermanagh man, who claimed his maiden TT success in the Supersport class in 2019, has been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis.

Johnston made the announcement on his YouTube vlog and said he will be required to ‘take injections for the rest of my life’ after being diagnosed ‘with a rare blood disease’.

The Ashcourt Racing rider, who finished fifth in last year’s British Supersport Championship, sealing four rostrum finishes, said: “We only really made a decision in the last few weeks that I’m going to race this year. I’m feeling a lot better and I’m back training.

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“I’ve got all the right medication now but I was in quite severe pain for a period of time. I’m lucky enough that the doctors found it pretty quickly. I’ve got to take injections for the rest of my life but we are hoping his is going to be the way forward,” added the 32-year-old.

“I’m just going to play it by ear and see how it goes. Hopefully we can get it under control properly and stay positive going forward.

“We don’t really know how pain-free I’m going to be or how much of the sport I can do or what the situation is.”

Johnston is a multiple winner at the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix. He has also won the Gold Cup at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough, for the past two years.

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is defined on the NHS website as ‘a long-term condition in which the spine and other areas of the body become inflamed’.

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