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Northern Irish star Lee Johnston set to make TT debut

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Exciting young Northern Ireland rider Lee Johnston will make his Mountain Circuit debut in June when he competes in the 2012 Isle of Man TT Races, fuelled by Monster Energy.

The former National Superstock 600cc Champion will contest the Dainese Superbike, Royal London 360 Superstock and PokerStars Senior TT races on a 1000cc Honda Fireblade for East Coast Racing. Moving to the 1000cc category for the first time in his career, Johnston’s appearance adds further spice to the entry list and reaffirms the status, and appeal, that the races hold once more.

Affectionately known as ‘The General’, the Maguiresbridge rider shot to stardom when he dominated the inaugural National Superstock 600cc Championship in 2008, finishing on the podium in 10 of the 12 rounds, also winning the race at Knockhill. He scored points in every round, never finishing lower than 7th, as he ran out eventual Champion by a commanding 41 points.

He made his real road-racing debut in 2008, contesting both of the Supersport races at the North West 200. Despite only being 19 at the time, Johnston made a major impression as he took 11th and 18th in the two races, defeating a number of more experienced riders including Adrian Archibald, Chris Palmer and Mats Nilsson.

On the back of winning the Superstock crown, Johnston moved up to the British Supersport 600cc Championship where he has ridden for the last three seasons. 2009 saw him finish 12th overall with three 5th place finishes for Raceways Yamaha and a year later he took 13th, aided by four top-ten finishes for Gearlink Kawasaki and Oxford TAG Triumph.

Last season saw him join East Coast Racing where he was teammate to TT winner Gary Johnson on Honda machinery and the season got off to a brilliant start with 4th and 6th at the opening round. He was a consistent top 8 finisher for the first two thirds of the season, taking four top-six finishes in total before the team withdrew from the championship.

He also made his return to the public roads where, despite the inclement weather, he took a superb 9th place in the solitary Supersport race held at the North West 200, just one tenth of a second behind Guy Martin.

Now 23, Johnston is eagerly looking forward to his TT debut in June and commented:
“I’ve already been over to the Isle of Man and done a good recce of the course with the rider liaison officers which has really whetted my appetite but I can’t wait to get on the track for real at the end of May. Coming from Northern Ireland, TT has always been on my radar and I’m delighted to be getting the chance to race on this iconic course.

”Paul Phillips, TT and Motorsport Manager, Isle of Man Government commented:
“Lee already has a proven road racing and circuits CV and he looks like he’s going to be a star on the Isle of Man for many years to come. It’s great to see another leading circuit rider committing to road racing and he typifies the breed of talented young riders that are now opting for the roads.”

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