Lee Hardy Racing is delighted to announce that Gary Johnson will be competing on the Briggs Equipment Kawasaki at this year’s Macau Grand Prix, which takes place in the Far East colony on November 16-19.
Johnson, who had been due to ride his own Suzuki, will instead campaign the same Kawasaki ZX-10R that regular team member Jake Dixon took to sixth place overall in the 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship which included a memorable double victory at Knockhill.
The team will be making their return to the event for the first time since 2015 when Peter Hickman scored a superb victory on the Briggs Equipment BMW and Johnson will be riding in the same colours for this year’s meeting.
The Lincolnshire rider has tremendous pedigree at Macau having made his debut around the 3.8-mile Guia circuit in 2008. His best result to date came in 2013 when he finished in third place to join Ian Hutchinson and Michael Rutter on the podium. In addition, he has finished fourth on no less than three occasions, in 2009, 2012 and 2014 with three more top six finishes to his name.
The 36-year old was forced to retire from the race twelve months ago but has previously recorded excellent results on the Kawasaki ZX-10R on the roads and although the 2017 season hasn’t gone exactly as he would have liked, he will go into this year’s race as one of the favourites for honours once more.
Johnson recently completed a shakedown test at Donington Park and although it was hampered by the weather, he managed almost 25 laps where he was able to get the bike adjusted to his frame in terms of footpegs, handlebars and seat position. He also got to work with former British Champion Glen Richards who will be his crew chief at the Far East venue.
Gary Johnson: “Time constraints meant it was looking unlikely I’d be able to go to Macau with my own set-up so when Lee called, it was a no-brainer and easy to say yes. It’s a well proven bike and team in BSB and Jake ran consistently in the top ten all season, won races and made the Showdown so it’s a great opportunity for me. I’d obviously liked to have had more laps on the bike but the test we had at Donington was more than worthwhile as we were able to get the bike set up to suit me and iron out a few issues plus it was good to start working with Glen, someone who has a wealth of knowledge to tap into.”
“The likes of Peter (Hickman), Michael (Rutter), Martin (Jessopp) and Glenn (Irwin) will certainly be the men to beat given their previous form at Macau and the fact they’ve been riding well all season in the British Championships but with everything taken care of now in terms of the bike and the team, I can focus on my fitness for the next few weeks to ensure I’m as ready as I possibly can be once practice gets underway.”
Lee Hardy, Team Owner: “We’re delighted to welcome Gary to Lee Hardy Racing and whilst the deal has come together quite late, we’ve moved heaven and earth to give him a race winning package. The bike has been at the front of the BSB Championship all season and to help Gary with his quest to win his first Macau Grand Prix, the team have pulled out all the stops and as well as having Glen as crew chief, we’ve enlisted the services of Tim Seed to focus on the electronics.”
“2015 was the team’s second year at Macau and we were fortunate to win the event, something which Gary is more than capable so we’ll be looking for another podium from the 2017 race. I’d like to thank Briggs Equipment and Mother Hubbard’s for making it possible to have Gary on board. We also have a new sponsor for Macau in the shape of Lucas Machinery and I’d like to thank them also for their help and support.”
Practice for this year’s Macau Grand Prix gets underway on Thursday 16th November with the race taking place on Saturday 18th.