AFTER 13 long years of competing on the Isle of Man Ross Johnson has finally made it onto the top step of the podium by winning the 2012 Lightweight Manx Grand Prix race by the narrowest of margins.
He rounded off his week’s racing on the Isle of Man by taking 10th in the Junior Race and a strong fourth place in the Senior class on Friday.
In the lightweight class the Lincolnshire firefighter from Woodhall Spa powered the 400cc Kawasaki through to second place in qualifying and once the four lap race got underway he soon moved into second on corrected time.
When the race leader retired with a mechanical problem Ross was promoted up to take the lead with a 33 second advantage over Tim Sayers. There was drama as he came in to refuel at the end of lap two as the bike didn’t want to fire up and his mechanics had to push him to the end of pit lane before it decided to strike up. That reduced his lead to 13 seconds and by the time he started the final lap the time difference was just three seconds.
Ross had a real fight on his hands to maintain the lead around the 37.73-mile mountain road circuit but held on to win by by two seconds.
He said: “It was nail biting waiting for Sayers to come through. I couldn’t believe it, I have been trying to win this class for the last 13 years,
“I have been on the podium a couple of times and thought it would never come to me. I am absolutely chuffed to bits.
“I have never had anyone putting a board out for me to tell me how I was doing but this time someone put a board out at the Gooseneck on the last lap which said P1 but 0 seconds ahead so I knew I would have to get my finger out to maintain my position. I must say a big thank you to whoever did that for me, but for that I don’t think I would have kept up the pace.”
Ross added: “I would like to say a big thank you to Roger Middleton who has built me a couple of engines this year and they are absolutely spot on, also Mark and Baggy who did so well to get me going again after my pit stop.”
With three top results from this year’s Manx GP Ross hopes to return next year.