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Black Eagle Racing’s Lee Johnston wins the Okells 350cc Classic TT on an MV Agusta
Okells 350cc Classic TT Race
on the Isle of Man in 2014
Black Eagle Racing’s Lee Johnston took the honours in the Okells 350cc Classic TT on an MV Agusta, giving the marque its first win on the Mountain Course since Giacomo Agostini did the double on one in 1972. The race had also been rescheduled from the previous day due to bad weather and was shortened from four laps to three. This time, Jamie Hamilton, on the Rutter Honda led the pack away. But it was Ian Lougher on the Drixon honda who led at the first checkpoint. That lead was soon overturned by a flying William Dunlop, ahead of Davies Motorsport team mate Alan Oversby by just 0.9 sec. Oversby took the lead at the end of lap one. Behind him, pint-sized Northern Irishman Johnston was on a charge, moving up to second place at Glen Helen. At the start of the lap, Johnston powered through to start his third and final circulation, smashing the record with a 105.239mph lap Dunlop later retired from third place making way for Roy Richardson to move into the top three on the FCL Racing/Martin Bullock Aermacchi, while up front Johnston won with an overall race time of 1.05:13:084 hours. Oversby finished second ahead of Richardson.
JUST LIKE MIKE AND AGO
There was a moment during the 350cc race that summed up the joy of the 2014 Classic TT. “It’s seven-cylinder heaven!” the Manx Radio commentator at Ramsey gushed before being drowned out by the gurgle of Alan Oversby’s Honda Four and Lee Johnston’s MV triple swinging into the hairpin on over-run.
The noise emanating from the battle for the lead sounded identical to the famous Mike Hailwood v Giacomo Agostini contest of 1967, which took place in the Senior TT, purists will know. I know this, not because I was there in the Sixties, but because I’ve got the wonderful Sound Stories CDs of classic TT races, sold by Duke Marketing.
That’s the fun of the classic scene: it’s a snapshot of yesterday, presentated today. And the 350 race was won not by a grizzled vet, but by a 25 year old on modern machinery, Lee Johnston.
Young riders are flocking to the classic scene because it’s vibrant, the variety of machinery is huge, and it’s less tense than the over-pressured modern scene. The engineering skills of the builders of the winning Mv and the second-placed Honda also impressed.
Mark Kay’s little Black Eagle Racing team - it’s just him, his son Mitchell, 21, and 73 year old dad, Dave - made a meticulous copy of the Agostini’s 1967 triple. Well it’s one thing to replicate a classic, but entirely another then to invite a young guy who has never ridden a classic bike before to wring its neckin a three-lap race on the bike-breaking Mountain circuit. “He was revving it to 13,000 rpm all the way,” Mark confirmed. That’s about what Ago would have been using back in the day.
Want a replica of the TT winner? Get it from MV Meccanica Verghera Ltd, the Kay’s business in the Midlands. (Price subject to negotiation and specification)
For further reports on the IOM Classic TT August 2014, please Click here
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Isle of Man Classic TT win August 2014
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Black Eagle Racing’s Lee Johnston took the honours in the Okells 350cc Classic TT on an MV Agusta