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UGP: Johnson confirmed for Dundrod showpiece
6 August 2012
Lincolsnhire's Gary Johnson hopes to secure Honda machinery for the Supersport and Superstock races at Saturday's McKinstry Skip Hire 90th anniversary Ulster Grand Prix.
The 30-year-old will join Dundrod outright lap record holder Bruce Anstey on a Clive Padgett-supplied Honda Fireblade for the superbike class, but has yet to tie down a ride in the remaining feature races on Saturday's programme.
Johnson is contracted to Honda this season and was originally a provisional entry at the Ulster Grand Prix due to his role in the Honda TT Legends Endurance World Championship team.
However, he was omitted from the team for the next round of the series at Oschersleben in Germany, which clashes with the 'Prix' this weekend.
Honda TT Legends riders John McGuinness and Cameron Donald will both miss the Dundrod showdown as a result of the date clash, with National Superstock competitor Jason O'Halloran replacing Johnson in the Legends set-up for the German round of the championship.
Donald competed at both the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT for Ulster team owner Wilson Craig, who told the Belfast News Letter no deal had been struck to provide English star Johnson with Donald's spare machines for the Ulster Grand Prix.
Instead, the Co Londonderry businessman is content to 'put a big effort' into regular rider William Dunlop, who goes to Dundrod as one of the main favourites.
“Gary had been in touch with me on Friday about riding my bikes, but only William's bikes are ready to race and I'm content to put a big effort behind William,” Craig said.
“I told Gary if he was really stuck we could give him a Superstock bike, but at the moment William is my only rider for the Ulster Grand Prix.
“I'd imagine Gary will get bikes sorted out with Padgetts.”
Ulster Grand Prix Clerk of the Course, Noel Johnston, said he was delighted Johnson had been confirmed for the final major international road race of the season.
“It's great to have Gary back at Dundrod and he'll ride a Superbike for Clive Padgett.
“He's still trying to get bikes sorted for the Supersport and Superstock races and I'm confident he'll have something in place one way or the other,” said Johnston.
“Gary is a top rider and he'll be one of the big contenders at this year's Ulster Grand Prix.
“We're all set and ready to go from an organisational point of view and we're looking forward to some more fantastic action at Dundrod.”
Johnson made it onto the rostrum in third place in the Superstock race at last year's Ulster GP.
He also finished fourth and sixth in the Superbike races and fifth in the Supersport class.
The Broughton man joins a quality international line-up that includes Ulster's Michael Dunlop – a hat-trick winner at the UGP in 2011 – plus his brother William on the Craig Honda machines and Tyco Suzuki duo Guy Martin and Conor Cummins.
Evergreen Kiwi Bruce Anstey showed at the TT that he remains as competitive as ever and the popular New Zealander will be aiming for a repeat of his Superbike success at Dundrod 12 months ago on Clive Padgett's Fireblade.
KMR Kawasaki's Ryan Farquhar will sit out the 600cc class but is a definite starter in the Supertwin 650 races.
The 36-year-old has yet to decide whether or not to compete in the Superbike and Superstock races.