Gary Johnson and the RAF Regular & Reserve team had a mixed day of racing at the Isle of Man TT Races on Monday with the Lincolnshire rider finishing a good seventh in the morning’s Supersport race but retiring from the afternoon’s Superstock race whilst running inside the top eight once more.
With good conditions all around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course, the 4-lap Supersport race got proceedings underway at 10.50am and an opening lap of 125.375mph on the 675cc Triumph saw Gary slot into seventh on the leaderboard. A near identical lap of 125.239mph second time around allowed him to maintain his position.
A good pit stop and third lap by Gary saw him close to within six seconds of sixth placed Lee Johnston and although he overhauled the Northern Irishman on the fourth and final lap, Josh Brookes moved ahead of Gary and he crossed the line at the end of 150.92 miles of racing in seventh place for his first silver replica and top ten finish of the week.
Less than two hours later, Gary was back out on the startline for the four-lap Superstock race where he lined up on the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki ZX-10R and a good opening lap of 129.862mph, just a whisker outside the magical 130mph mark, put him into eighth place despite having to ease his pace through a couple of the sectors.
Just 4.8s covered the fourth to eighth placed riders and Gary was hopeful of moving up the order and by Ramsey Hairpin second time around, he’d climbed up to seventh place. However, just when a 130mph+ lap looked on the cards, he was forced to retire at Hillberry after running out of fuel, a disappointing end to a race that promised plenty.
Lee Hardy, Team Owner: “It’s been a frustrating day today and whilst we’re naturally pleased to have taken our first finish of the week with seventh in the Supersport race, it was disappointing to go out of the Superstock race when another good result looked on the cards. The tank was big enough to handle the two laps so it may have been an air lock that caused the issue although we won’t know for definite until we get the bike back and go through everything.”
“A 130-131mph looked a good possibility as Gary was riding well and it was only an issue near Handley’s on the opening lap, when he ran over something in the road, that caused him to be back in eighth. He eased back for a few miles as he wasn’t sure if he’d got a front wheel puncture but he got back into his rhythm and was well in contention for a top six finish. Gary’s been riding well and should be sitting here now with three top eight finishes to his name but that’s the way the TT goes some times so we’ll keep working hard and look to ensure Gary’s week ends with two good finishes.”
Gary will be back in action on Wednesday with the second Supersport race taking place at 10.45am.