Top road racer Lee Johnston will take up a new challenge in 2017 after East Coast Racing's decision to cease its racing activities indefinitely.

The Northern Ireland rider has enjoyed plenty of success with the East Yorkshire-based outfit over the past few years, winning the Superstock race at the North West 200 last year and clinching a hat-trick in the Supersport and Superstock events at the Ulster Grand Prix.

Johnston, who also claimed a coveted podium at the TT last year on the East Coast Racing BMW, was hampered by injury this season and was ruled out of the Ulster Grand Prix and Classic TT after breaking his collarbone following a crash during practice at Dundrod.

The 27-year-old is close to East Coast Construction boss Phil Reed but Johnston has been forced to seek a new team for 2017 and has already received a number of offers.

A statement issued by East Coast Racing on Tuesday said: "After seven years of involvement in motorcycle sponsorship, with memorable results at all the major international road races, East Coast Racing will take a break from competition.

"Due to business and personal commitments, Phil Reed of East Coast Construction will cease to run a privateer racing team with immediate effect.

"Phil has supported a number of riders over the past seven years with success, both with Gary Johnson at the TT in 2011 and more recently with Lee Johnston at the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix under the East Coast Racing banner.

"Phil will continue to support Lee on a personal level next season wherever he may decide his future lies.

On behalf of everyone at East Coast Construction and East Coast Racing, we would like to thank our staff and associated sponsors for their dedication and support over recent years. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did."