Gary Johnson won a somewhat controversial, and confusing, second Supersport race on Thursday when he came home 8.4s clear of fellow Honda rider John McGuinness. A red flag was displayed incorrectly at Ramsey Hairpin on the second lap with five of the higher numbers stopping but the race carried on although third placed Guy Martin later revealed both he and Keith Amor saw a flag at Union Mills as they started their third lap. However, Johnson was already 15s clear at that point and he took a thoroughly deserved debut TT win.
The East Coast Racing Honda rider led from start to finish and as early as Glen Helen he was three seconds clear of McGuinness, a lead he’d amazingly trebled by the time the riders swept through Ramsey Hairpin. An opening lap of 125.587mph gave the Lincolnshire rider a gap of almost ten seconds but the battle for second was extremely close, McGuinness, Martin, Donald, Bruce Anstey and Dan Kneen separated by just six seconds. Race favourite Michael Dunlop was already out though, the Street Sweep Yamaha rider having stopped at Ballacraine although he later proceeded after making lengthy adjustments.
On lap two, Johnson was continuing to extend his lead and he went quicker still on his second circuit, a lap of 125.892mph sending him 15 seconds clear of McGuinness with Donald the man on the move, the Australian relegating Martin to fourth. Kneen was also moving up the leaderboard, the Marks Bloom Yamaha man overhauling Anstey for fifth.
As the leaders made their pit stops, news from Ramsey Hairpin came through that the red flag was being shown with a number of riders stopping but there was no word from race control of any issue and the race at the front continued, the riders eventually getting going and being credited the time. McGuinness and Johnson were pressing ahead but Martin had now dropped time, later revealed to be due to having seen a red flag as he swept through Union Mills. Indeed, at Glen Helen, the order was Johnson, Donald, McGuinness, Martin and Kneen, Johnson’s lead now standing at 10.9s, four ahead of McGuinness with Martin now 8s further back in fourth.
Going into the final lap and Johnson was maintaining an 11s advantage over Donald who was now edging away from McGuinness who was continuing to circulate on his own at the head of the field. Donald nibbled away at Johnson’s lead throughout the lap but his Honda expired at Signpost, less than 2 miles from home and McGuinness was able to move up to second with Martin, Amor and Anstey all promoted up the order to third, fourth and fifth. There was double heartbreak for the Wilson Craig Honda team with William Dunlop dropping out of eighth in the closing stages, his engine also having expired.
Conor Cummins, Ben Wylie, Roy Richardson, James Hillier and Mark Buckley completed the top ten although there could well still be repercussions with the Relentless Suzuki team clearly not happy with their Martin having slowed due to the red flag.