Gary Johnson and the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team finished their 2018 Isle of Man TT Races campaign on a high note on Friday with the 37-year old taking a fine sixth place in the closing six-lap Senior race.
With good conditions all around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course, the race got underway at 12.45pm and the Lincolnshire rider made a good start to what would prove to be a record-breaking race with a lap of 129.763mph on the Kawasaki ZX-10R seeing him occupy seventh place.
Second time around and Gary remained in seventh place after a lap of 128.628mph and a good pit stop by the team saw him maintain the position although by half distance, he was less than a second behind sixth placed rider Sam West.
At the end of lap four, two thirds race distance, Gary moved ahead of West after a lap of 128.854mph and although he couldn’t move further up the leaderboard, his sixth and final lap of 130.057mph proved to be his quickest of the week and meant he finished in sixth place.
It was also his best finish of the week and with seventh and eighth in the two Supersport races, Gary and the team ended TT2018 with three top eight finishes. Peter Hickman eventually won the race by two seconds from Dean Harrison.
Gary Johnson: “I’m happy enough with sixth place and although I’m struggling a little bit to do the lap times I know I’m capable of, it’s a solid result in the Senior TT, which is always the pinnacle of race week. I wasn’t sure if we’d get to the end at one stage as I was hearing a few noises from the bike and I’m still trying to get a comfortable feeling with the engine management system so it was nice to complete a six-lap race.”
“Peter (Hickman) caught and passed me and I was able to stick we him for a few miles, which was pleasing given the pace he was on and sixth place gives us something to build on. The team have been brilliant all fortnight and I can’t thank them enough so it would nice if we can keep working together and have the continuity to come back in 2019 and build upon what we’ve achieved.”
Lee Hardy, Team Owner: “I’m very pleased with today’s result and sixth in the Senior is a great way to finish this year’s TT, both for Gary and the team especially as we know how hard everyone’s been trying this week. The pit stops went well with no mistakes and everyone stayed calm and Gary rode a fantastic race, never being lower than eighth, and eventually finishing sixth. He did 130mph+ at the end which is what he’s wanted to do all week and I’m very pleased with his effort’s all fortnight as I have been by the hard work of the team all fortnight.”
The team now turn their attention back to Jake Dixon and the MCE British Superbike Championship with round four taking place at Snetterton on June 15-17.