ULSTER GP: Lee Johnston in Dundrod treble

Superstock race winner Lee Johnston (ECC/Burdens BMW) with runner-up Peter Hickman (Briggs BMW) and Michael Dunlop (MD Racing BMW)
Superstock race winner Lee Johnston (ECC/Burdens BMW) with runner-up Peter Hickman (Briggs BMW) and Michael Dunlop (MD Racing BMW)

Fermanagh’s Lee Johnston was in sensational form at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix with a sizzling hat-trick in the Superstock and Supersport races.

The 26-year-old smashed the lap records for both classes as he claimed his first victories at the legendary road race at the Dundrod course.

In glorious sunshine, Johnston opened his account in the Superstock race on the East Coast/Burdens BMW after a blistering race with Peter Hickman, who only made his UGP debut a year ago.

The pair went head to head throughout and although Michael Dunlop threatened in the second part of the race, the Ballymoney man dropped off and settled for a safe third at the end, six seconds behind.

Johnston managed to repel a determined challenge from Hickman on the final lap on his Briggs Equipment BMW and snatched the win on the line by 0.090 seconds, setting a new lap record at 132.793mph.

Behind the top three, William Dunlop (Tyco BMW) was a safe fourth ahead of Keith Amor (Rig Deluge BMW) and David Johnson (Ice Valley BMW) as BMW S1000RR machines took the first six places.

Ian Hutchinson was a retirement on the PBM Kawasaki while Ivan Lintin came off the RC Express Kawasaki and was taken to hospital as a precaution.

Meanwhile, Johnston completed a majestic double after an electric race with William Dunlop in the opening Supersport event.

The pair made a break for it at the front and Dunlop took the lead for the first time on the Chris Dowd/Ivan Curran Racing Yamaha on the penultimate lap with Johnston tucked in behind.

However, Johnston had an ace up his sleeve and pounced at Tournagrough in what proved to be a race-winning move on the final lap, albeit with the Triumph rider getting the verdict by a miniscule 0.039 seconds over a disappointed Dunlop.

Johnston also shattered the lap record for the Supersport class with a new benchmark of 128.913mph.

British Supersport star Glenn Irwin was a sensational third, coming out on top of a battle for the last place on the rostrum with Bruce Anstey (Valvoline Padgetts Honda) and Ian Hutchinson on the Team Traction Control Yamaha.

Mar-Train Yamaha’s Dean Harrison was running inside the top six when he slid off unhurt.

Northern Ireland man Johnston completed his treble with a win in the second Supersport race over Glenn Irwin and Ian Hutchinson.

The race was stopped due to a fatal crash on lap five, with the result taken from the end of lap three.

Earlier, Bruce Anstey won the feature Ulster Grand Prix Superbike race from Hutchinson, which was also red-flagged on the sixth lap.

The result was taken from the end of lap four, giving Anstey his 11th win at the event over an irate Hutchinson, who felt the race should have been declared void or counted back by a single lap, which would have given the English rider the victory.

Johnston was on the rostrum again in third on a memorable day for the Maguiresbridge man.

The Supertwins race was won by Derek McGee from Mullingar, who was celebrating his first international victory, while Sam Wilson and Christian Elkin were the respective winners of the Lightweight and Ultra-Lightweight races.

Big Louth man Hickman won his first international road race in the second Superbike event, held on wet roads.

Hickman narrowly held off Conor Cummins for the win with Michael Dunlop third.

Anstey and man of the meeting Johnston opted to sit out the final race.