Lee Johnston the new ‘General’ of Dundrod

Lee Johnston was the Man of the Meeting at last weekend’s Ulster Grand Prix after winning three races.

Johnston – who is known as General Lee – took victories in the Superstock class as well as both Supersport races, his first wins at the Ulster Grand Prix.

Bruce Anstey had taken the win in the Dundrod 150 Superbike race after battling with Guy Martin, who crashed out and was forced to withdraw from the remainder of the event. The fan favourite sustained a number of fractures including to his hand and several vertebrae.

First up on the order on Saturday – which started off a clear and dry day – was the Superstock race. Keith Amor was promoted to pole position but lost out at the start. It was Johnston who went on to win but not without a close battle with Peter Hickman who had taken the early lead. The race ran to the line and the pair were separated by just 0.090s with Michael Dunlop finishing in third place. He finished ten seconds clear of brother William with Amor rounding out the top five.

Next up was the Supersport race and it was another close fought affair. William Dunlop lead for most of the race but was pipped to the line by on form man Johnston. Their gap was just three hundredths of a second with Glenn Irwin in third on his second visit to the Dundrod circuit.  Anstey narrowly missed out on a podium while Ian Hutchinson finished in fifth place after a disappointing retirement in the opening race of the day. Following the Supersport machines it was time for the combined Ultra Lightweight and Lightweight classes. Sam Wilson was the victor in the Lightweight class finishing ahead of Neil Kernohan and James Cowton. Paul Owen was fourth with Michal Dokoupil in fifth place. Christian Elkin was the clear winner in the Ultra Lightweight class. The Moto 3 rider had had an accident on Thursday during a Supertwin practice session but was soon back in action. He was nearly half a minute clear of Connor Behan who finished second, with Nigel Moore in third.

There was controversy in the first Superbike race as it was red flagged on the sixth lap. Due to the rules, which specify that if a race is red flagged then it will be counted back to the last fully completed lap, Anstey was declared the winner despite Hutchinson leading on the road. He later revealed that he had been racing a strategic race – making sure he was leading at two thirds race distance should the race be red flagged. The PBM team planned to appeal the result but it stood with Anstey as the winner with Hutchinson second and Johnston third. Hickman, Conor Cummins and William Dunlop completed the top six.

The second Supersport race was also red flagged due to a fatal accident involving Scottish rider Andy Lawson. Johnston took the victory with Irwin second and Hutchinson third. Dean Harrison took fourth place with William Dunlop fifth and Anstey sixth. Following a lengthy delay as the race directors consulted with Andy Lawson’s family – who wished for the event to continue – the Supertwin class got out on track, albeit in tricky conditions as the rain had set in. Derek McGee held off Cowton throughout the four lap race with Dan Cooper taking his first International podium in third. He and Irwin had circulated closely on track but it was Cooper who was ahead when it counted – as they crossed the line.

It was a depleted grid for the seventh and final race of the day – the second Superbike race. It was another close fought affair as Cummins worked his way through the top five to finish just two hundredths of a second off Hickman. It was Hickman’s first International victory. Michael Dunlop finished off a fairly anonymous day with a third place finish. Amor took fourth ahead of Russ Mountford and Dan Kneen.

Man of the Meeting Johnston was just one of the riders who chose to sit the race out – the list also included Anstey. Horst Saiger was awarded the Best Newcomer award. Next up on the road racing calendar is Faugheen this weekend.

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