Lee Johnston confirmed for Macau Grand Prix return in November

Lee Johnston last raced at the Macau Grand Prix in 2017. Picture: Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press.
Lee Johnston last raced at the Macau Grand Prix in 2017. Picture: Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press.
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Lee Johnston will return to the Suncity Group 53rd Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix in November.

Johnston, who made his debut at the famous Chinese road race in 2012, missed the event last year but will make the trip to the Far East for the first time since 2017, when he finished in eighth place.

Fermanagh man Lee Johnston won the Gold Cup at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough for the first time at the weekend on the Ashcourt Racing Yamaha R6. Picture: Mark Walters.

Fermanagh man Lee Johnston won the Gold Cup at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough for the first time at the weekend on the Ashcourt Racing Yamaha R6. Picture: Mark Walters.

The Ashcourt Racing rider’s best result at Macau was fifth position in 2014 and the Fermanagh man is aiming to challenge for a maiden rostrum result at the event on his BMW S1000RR this year.

Prior to the Ulster Grand Prix in August, Johnston told the News Letter: “We’re thinking about going back to Macau this year and it would be nice to try and challenge for a win there as well, but being realistic – with the likes of Peter Hickman going – it would be a big task and even a podium would be mega.”

The 30-year-old from Maguiresbridge, who lives near Halifax in England, has now confirmed his appearance as he bids to round off a fantastic season in style.

After putting together his own team with new title sponsor the Ashcourt Group coming on board for 2019, Johnston won the first Supersport race at the North West 200 in May on his Yamaha R6.

He then clinched an emotional debut victory in the class at the Isle of Man TT and was narrowly denied a full set of major international victories at the Ulster Grand Prix, where he was edged out by Peter Hickman at Dundrod.

Johnston returned to winning ways on his Yamaha again at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough at the weekend, when he became only the third rider from Northern Ireland to win the prestigious Steve Henshaw Gold Cup.

Ryan Farquhar won the trophy in 2011, with Michael Dunlop following suit in 2013 at England’s only road race meeting.

First held in 1950, some of motorcycle racing’s biggest names have clinched the Gold Cup, including Geoff Duke, Giacomo Agostini, Phil Read, Barry Sheene and Carl Fogarty.

Johnston, who also won the first Supersport A race on Saturday, said: “It’s obviously a real pleasure to win the International Gold Cup and when you look at some of the riders who’ve won it before, I’m in some good company!

“I never realised only Ryan and Michael had won it before from Northern Ireland so to be just the third rider to win it is something to be proud of.

“Conditions were far from ideal but I managed to get the lead off the line and build up a bit of a gap which I was able to control after that,” he added.

“Despite the weather on Sunday, it was a very enjoyable meeting and it’s nice to end the domestic season with another International win so a big thanks to the entire Ashcourt Racing team for everything throughout 2019.”