Johnson finally claims an Isle of Man victory
AFTER 13 long years of competing on the island, Ross Johnson from Woodhall Spa has finally made it onto the top step of the podium by winning the 2012 Lightweight Manx Grand Prix race by the narrowest of margins.
He rounded off his week’s racing on the Isle of Man by taking tenth in the junior race and a strong fourth place in the senior class on Friday.
In the lightweight class the Lincolnshire firefighter powered the 400cc Kawasaki through to second place in qualifying and once the four lap race got underway he soon moved into second on corrected time.
But when the race leader retired with a mechanical problem at the Bungalow, Ross was promoted up to take the lead with a 33 second advantage over Tim Sayers.
There was drama as Ross came into refuel at the end of lap two as the bike didn’t want to fire up and his mechanics had to push him right to the end of pit lane before it decided to strike up.
With a lot of time wasted in the pits the lead was reduced to 13–seconds, and by the time he started the final lap the time difference was just three seconds.
Ross had a real fight on his hands to maintain the lead around the 37.73–mile mountain road circuit and he was registered as the leader by two seconds at the final check point.
After crossing the finish line Ross had an anxious wait to see if Sayers, who had started the race from the back of the field, could make up the time and deny him the win.
Sayers crossed the finish line and was registered as 2.1 seconds adrift from Johnson.
Asked how he felt after hearing the news Ross said: “It was so nail biting waiting for Sayers to come through. I couldn’t believe it, I have been trying to win this class for the last 13 years,
“I have been on the podium a couple of times and thought it would never come to me. I am absolutely chuffed to bits.
“I have never had anyone putting a board out for me to tell me how I was doing but this time someone put a board out at the Gooseneck on the last lap which said P1 but 0 seconds ahead so I knew I would have to get my finger out to maintain my position.
“I must say a big thank you to whoever did that for me, but for that I don’t think I would have kept up the pace.”
He added: “I would like to say a big thank you to Roger Middleton who has built me a couple of engines this year and they are absolutely spot on, also Mark and Baggy, who did so well to get me going again after my pit stop.
“When it’s really hot it is a bit difficult and I was beginning to think it was not going to happen for me. But thankfully it struck up right at the last minute and away I went; fair play to my boys, it’s not easy pushing this thing – especially when you get to our age.”
With three top results from this year’s Manx GP, Ross hopes to return next year, finances permitting to see if he can do it all again.
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Weather for Horncastle
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 4 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North west