2014 350cc Classic TT – MV Agusta Earns 1st Win Since 1972

2014 350cc Classic TT - MV Agusta Takes 1st Win Since 1972
MV Agusta's Lee Johnson

2014 350cc Classic TT Results

Following a day-delay due to rain on the Mountain Course, the Okells 350cc Classic TT race finally got underway Tuesday at the Isle of Man.

But due to damp patches and strong winds on the 37.73-mile Mountain Course, the race was shortened to three laps. Regardless of the conditions, Black Eagle Racing’s Lee Johnson was not affected.

The Northern Ireland man rode his MV Agusta to the win, giving the Italian manufacturer its first win since 1972. That year, Giacomo Agostini doubled during the Isle of Man TT.

Following the race, he told Manx Radio that his bike was misfiring on the opening lap, and he actually considered retiring. But his bike cleared up, and he began chasing down the leaders.

Johnson took the win by 45 seconds ahead of Davies Motorsport Honda rider Alan Oversby. Taking the final podium was FCL Racing/Martin Bullock Aermacchi’s Roy Richardson.

Following is the official recap:

Clerk of the Course Phil Taubman advised riders of strong winds and damp patches ahead of today’s rescheduled Okells 350cc Classic TT Race, held over from Monday following rain on the Mountain Course, but conditions were generally described as excellent.

Northern Ireland rider Jamie Hamilton, riding the Rutter Honda, was first away from Glencrutchery Road shortly after the scheduled start at 12:03 p.m. He was followed by Saturday’s Bennetts 500cc race winner Ian Lougher on the Geoff Bates prepared Drixon Honda that Chris Palmer rode to victory in last year’s race.

Lougher was ahead of Hamilton by the first checkpoint but William Dunlop was the fastest to Glen Helen on the opening lap from Davies Motorsport teammate Alan Oversby, who made a stunning start from 14th on the grid to be only 0.09 of a second behind Dunlop. Oversby was the fastest qualifier, with an unofficial lap record of 102.707, which he set in Tuesday’s qualifying session.

Roy Richardson on the FCL Racing /Martin Bullock Aermacchi was third by the first checkpoint with Lougher and Lee Johnson, riding the Black Eagle Racing MV completed the top five.

Oversby moved ahead of Dunlop by Ballaugh, but only by 0.25 of a second. Dunlop, was first back to the Grandstand and smashed Palmer’s old lap record, clocking 103.045mph on the opening lap but it was short-lived with Oversby posting an opening lap 103.624 (21:50.781) to lead by 7 seconds. Lee Johnson (102.859) and Roy Richardson (101.889) were also inside the old lap record on the opening lap.

Early retirements on the opening lap included Chris McGahan at Union Mills and Mark Herbertson while Connor Behan was also stopped at Douglas Road Corner, eventually retiring at Parliament Square. Michael Dunlop retired in the pits at lap one when running 11th and James Hillier retired at Governors with a broken chain.

Lee Johnson was on a charge on the MV on the second lap and moved into second place behind Oversby at Glen Helen, and by Ramsey had reduced the deficit to only 2.3 seconds. Johnson hit the front, leading by only 0.5 seconds at the Bungalow and, despite Manx Radio’s Roy Moore speculating that Johnson would pit for fuel at the end of the second lap, the Northern Ireland rider went straight through the Grandstand, obliterating the lap record in the process with a lap of 105.239 (21:30.66).

With Dunlop reported as retiring at Douglas Road Corner on the last lap, Roy Richardson moved into the top three but all eyes were on the front as Johnson completed the victory with a final lap of 104.331 and an overall race time of 1:05.13.084 (104.134).

Johnston later revealed to Manx Radio’s Chris in the winner’s enclosure that the bike had been misfiring on the opening lap and he considered retiring but with the bike clearing he was able to chase down the leaders.

Tom Jackson, on the T20 Suzuki, was awarded the ‘Phil Read’ Classic TT Trophy as the first 250cc machine, finishing in 20th, while Roy Richardson took the ‘Geoff Duke’ trophy as the highest placed single cylinder 350 machine in the race. Phil McGurk, in 7th place, was the first privateer while Doug Snow was the first P1 (single cylinder) privateer in 8th.

Tony Tuttle was reported as off at Waterworks but was OK and was taken back to the Grandstand in a course car.

Photos by Wayne Freestone