Lee Johnston confirms Isle of Man TT return in 2024

​Lee Johnston will return to racing in 2024, after missing much of 2023 due to injuries sustained at the North West 200 road race

Lee Johnston, Ashcourt Racing 2024

Lee Johnston is set to return to racing action in 2024, with both road racing and short circuit competition on the card for the Northern Irishman.

Johnston will be back in action with his familiar Ashcourt Racing team in 2024, having been forced to miss much of 2023 after sustaining life threatening injuries at last year’s North West 200 race, an event which is also in Johnston’s plan for the upcoming season.

Perhaps, though, the Isle of Man TT is the event which is the headline for Johnston, especially as the winner of the 2019 Supersport TT Race 1. The middleweight class is still a part of Johnston’s schedule, and he is set to race the Supertwin and Superbike classes, too.

On his confirmed Isle of Man TT return, Johnston said: “It’s never good to miss a year at the TT, but even more so when the weather was as good as it was last year. The amount of track time and the sheer number of laps completed saw the game move on considerably. You’ve got to do [over] 130mph now to win a Supersport race which is unreal.

“I’m being realistic about it. This will be somewhat of a rebuilding year but I can’t wait to get back on my bike at the TT. Obviously I want to do as well as possible, particularly in the Supersport and Supertwin Races, but I want to enjoy it as well.

“I’d say I’m at about 80% fitness right now. That’s amazing considering where I was and I’m feeling really good. Of course, some days are worse than others but I’m feeling positive and am going to try and win some races in 2024.”

“After the injuries I received last year, many people assumed I’d be quitting but it’s not for them to say that as they don’t know what racing means to me, and one thing I learnt from watching from the sofa last year is that I’m not done with racing yet. There’s a lot of life and a lot of races in me yet.”

Johnston’s TT return will see him change motorcycle in two of the three categories he will compete in. While he will remain with the Aprilia RS 660 in the Supertwin class, he will switch from Yamaha to an unconfirmed manufacturer in Supersport, and from BMW to Honda in Superbike. Combined with Johnston’s year out, it presents a challenging prospect for the 2024 TT.

“I’ve got to let the two weeks come to me and not get frustrated,” Johnston said. “Everyone else will be quicker than me at the beginning of the fortnight as I’ve obviously missed a lot of track time, not just at the TT but everywhere else too, and we haven’t got any data to go on with the Hondas or the Supersport bike.

“We’ll be behind the eight-ball a bit to begin with but that’s why we’ll be testing as much as possible before the TT gets underway. Racers aren’t known for their patience but I’m old enough to know there’s nothing to gain by getting frustrated. We’ll work our way methodically through the process and set realistic goals. Anything else will be a bonus.”

As well as a return to the TT, Johnston will go back to the North West 200 and has his eyes on a campaign in the British Supersport Championship, too, if he can acquire sufficient funding. “I definitely want to try and do the full British Championship if I can. Financially, we’re not quite there yet and still need some backing to make it happen, but I want to do it for sure. 2021 and 2022 went well and so did the beginning of last year, so I want to challenge for the title again.”

The 2024 British Supersport Championship will start at the opening BSB round of 2024 at the Circuito de Navarra in Spain. The 2024 North West 200 is scheduled for 6-11 May, a couple of weeks before the TT fortnight kicks off on 27 May.

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