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Lee Johnston announces bold return to short circuit racing after injury lay-off

Impact Images
Lee Johnston, Ashcourt Racing, Yamaha R6, 2022 North West 200, NW200, portrait [credit - Tim Keeton/Impact Images]

Lee Johnston has announced he will return to competitive action for the first time in ten months by mounting a bid for the Daytona 200.

The British rider has been out of action since May 2023 when he suffered a litany of serious injuries and spent several days in a coma following a crash at the North West 200.

While Johnston has already confirmed plans to return to both the NW200 and the Isle of Man TT this year, his entry into the Daytona 200 - America’s blue riband annual event - will act as his comeback event and first outing on short circuit.


With the event having reverted to using Supersport machinery in recent years, Johnston will ride a Suzuki GSX-R750 as part of Team Hammer.

“I’m so excited to get back racing after missing quite a lot of 2023, so the pre-season for me has started a lot earlier than usual and now with the news of Daytona finally being confirmed this has give me a big push both mentally and physically to be ready for March. 

“Daytona is a race that I have admired for a long time, with a mix of the high speed slipstream that we experience at road racing and then the infield section is more like short circuits so it’s the perfect blend to kick start my year to head back to Europe.

One of the first big two-wheel events to happen in 2024, the Daytona 200 - which utilises both the infield and part of the oval at the iconic Daytona Motor Speedway - takes place on 1-3 March.

Johnston will bid to become only the second British winner of the event since Chaz Davies triumphed back in 2008. Recent editions of the Daytona 200 have been won by Josh Herrin and Brandon Paasch on Ducati, Triumph and Yamaha machinery - Suzuki hasn’t won at Daytona since 2015.

It will mark the start of Johnston’s short circuit racing campaign during which he is expected to continue in the British Supersport Championship, though he is yet to confirm which machinery he will use. Johnston was leading the domestic intermediate class after two events prior to his NW200 smash.

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