Northern Ireland’s Lee Johnston gave the Padgetts Racing team their third Lightweight Classic TT victory in a row when he won Saturday afternoon’s four-lap race on his RS250 Honda after overcoming the stern challenge of fellow countryman Adam McLean with Ian Lougher rounding out the podium in third.
McLean (Binch Racing Yamaha) led through Glen Helen on the opening lap but only just, his lead over Lougher (Laylaw Racing Yamaha) only nine tenths of a second with Johnston in third but five seconds further back. Dean Harrison, Michael Sweeney and Joey Thompson completed the top six but Dan Cooper was an early retirement having stopped at Crosby Crossroads.
By Ramsey, McLean, who had now overhauled Harrison on the road, had extended his lead and he was now 3.9s clear of Lougher but he was coming under extreme pressure from Johnston with less than half a second covering the pair. Harrison, Sweeney and Thompson still occupied fourth to sixth.
At the end of the first 37.73 miles, McLean led by 4.1s after an opening lap of 116.329mph and it was Johnston who was now in second after lapping at 115.915mph to go 3.3s clear of Lougher. Harrison, having his first 250cc race, was in a comfortable fourth but David Johnson was out having retired at Casey’s.
McLean still led through Glen Helen on lap two but Johnston had brought the gap down to less than one second, 0.892s to be precise, as Lougher lost more ground in third, the veteran Welshman now 10.9s behind McLean. Harrison was now only six seconds clear of Sweeney but eighth placed Davy Morgan was another retirement, this time at Ballacraine.
There was change as the riders jumped Ballaugh Bridge for the second time though and Johnston hit the front for the first time having gone 1.8s clear of fellow Ulsterman McLean with Lougher maintaining the 10.9s gap in third and ready to pounce should either of the front two hit trouble.
Johnston’s second lap of 117.463mph saw him maintain his lead over McLean at half race distance but it was still only 1.7s as Lougher lost time over the Mountain although he was holding onto a safe third. Harrison was equally comfortable in fourth and it was now Gary Vines in fifth as Sweeney went out at Hillberry. However, Vines retired at the pits with Thompson promoted back up the order to fifth.
The battle at the head of the field was getting as close as it could get at Glen Helen on lap three with Johnston’s advantage a miniscule 0.131s but Lougher had dropped over forty seconds to McLean on the nine mile run from the Grandstand.
By Ramsey Johnston had surged some 7.3s clear and by the time he got to the Grandstand to start his final lap, he’d increased the margin further to 9.2s. Lougher was some 58s behind McLean in third but over forty seconds clear of team-mate Harrison as Thompson continued to hold onto fifth with Paul Owen now in sixth.
Johnston wasn’t to be denied his second Classic TT win, and first in the Lightweight class, and he took the chequered flag from McLean by a commanding 29.2s after a final lap of 117.919mph, the fastest of the race, with Lougher taking yet another Mountain Course podium in third.
Harrison made it a good day for Laylaw Racing with fourth as Thompson again showed his road racing credentials in a good fifth ahead of Rikki McGovern. Tom Snow, Stephen Ault, Adrian Morris and James Ford completed the top ten.
Dunlop Lightweight Classic TT results
1 13 Lee Johnston Honda / Padgetts Motorcycles.com 01:18:14.170 115.742 Silver
2 3 Adam McLean Yamaha / Binch Racing 01:18:43.439 115.025 Silver
3 5 Ian Lougher Yamaha / Laylaw Racing 01:19:26.347 113.989 Silver
4 2 Dean Harrison Yamaha / Laylaw Racing 01:20:46.187 112.111 Silver
5 11 Joey Thompson Honda / John Chapman Racing 01:22:10.189 110.201 Bronze
6 18 Rikki McGovern Honda / McGill Honda Racing 01:26:12.528 105.038
7 23 Tom Snow Yamaha / FCL Racing 01:27:48.951 103.116
8 41 Stephen Ault Yamaha / Amy, Jason, Dave & Sue Crutche 01:27:59.110 102.917
9 34 Adrian Morris Yamaha / Adrian Morris Racing 01:28:15.368 102.601
10 52 James Ford Honda. / Dymag Wheels / Rainford Models 01:29:18.377 101.395
11 47 Simon Hunt Yamaha / Dennis Trollope, Jez Newbury, Ia 01:29:25.141 101.267
12 40 Neal Champion Yamaha / Frasers of Gloucester 01:31:43.764 98.716
13 57 David Glover Yamaha / CMJ 01:32:04.869 98.339
14 53 Andrew Cowie Kawasaki / Neil Wood Painting & Decoratin 01:32:24.072 97.999
15 8 Chris Moore Yamaha / Outhwaite Plant/ Silverstar Servic 01:33:25.917 96.918
16 29 David Madsen-Mygdal Honda / RJP Racing 01:33:54.402 96.428
17 54 Andrew Davies Spondon / Allspeed Exhausts / PJME.co.uk 01:34:55.212 95.398
18 48 Colin Croft Yamaha / Croft Electrical Contractors 01:36:10.471 94.154
19 56 Jamie O'Brien Yamaha / Jenar Racing 01:13:07.453 92.875
20 50 James Tye Yamaha / System One Signs 01:13:26.871 92.466
21 49 Mark Woods Yamaha / IMS Ltd 01:14:15.055 91.466