Johnson flying high for RAF team at Isle of Man
PUBLISHED: 13:18 13 June 2018
With two DNFs on the big bikes, the RAF Regular and Reserves team from RAF Marham came back fighting for the second Supersport race run in glorious Isle of Man weather in front of thousands of fans lining the 37¾-mile Mountain Course.
Piling on the power was two-time TT winner Gary Johnson, who rode the 675cc Triumph brilliantly with a first lap of 124.566mph.
On a bike that was down on the top speed of the race leaders, Johnson maintained a blistering pace over the four laps as he chased down Josh Brookes while coming under fire himself from Derek McGee and James Cowton.
The pit stop played a crucial part in the race as he dropped from eighth place to ninth as McGee made up time.
But McGee went out on the fourth lap and Johnson held off Cowton to take eighth position and his second silver replica of the week. There was a win for Dean Harrison, with former RAF Team rider Peter Hickman finishing second and James Hillier third.
In the blue riband Senior six-lap race, Johnson started in 13th place, but the team were eager to put the Superbike DNF behind them and Johnson was in scintillating form with a lap of 129.763mph, moving him up to seventh place ahead of Sam West and Michael Rutter.
With pit stops every two laps, times went down but he was soon up to sixth and – apt for the RAF team – he was flying.
With a slick pit stop and no machine problems this time, Johnson exited the pits to start his last lap and it was textbook stuff as he crossed the line to record his fastest ever lap of 130.057mph, joining the small elite band of riders who have achieved this mark to take sixth place and his third silver replica. At the front it had been a six-lap battle between Dean Harrison and Hickman with Harrison leading by 0.060 of a second at the end of the fifth lap.
But Hickman dug deep and took the lead at the Bungalow on the last lap and posted a final time of 135.452mph, shattering the absolute lap record to win by more than four seconds. Harrison was second and Manxman Conor Cummins a popular third.
Hickman is now officially the fastest road racer in the world.