Lee Johnston claimed a second placed finish at the Isle of Man TT, but came away “devastated” after he had to pull out of the last two races of the week with a eye problem that affected his vision.

The Maguiresbridge rider claimed a surprise second place in the Supertwin race to give Aprilia their best ever TT result and Lee his sixth TT podium. Lee had also secured a fourth placed finish in the first Supersport race earlier in the week, but he was unable to his tally as he pulled out of both the Supersport and Senior TT.

“Five miles in I knew I couldn’t see again properly,” Lee admitted to Radio TT following his withdrawal from the second Supersport race of the week. “It’s absolutely heart breaking to be honest. You put all this effort in and you feel you have let people down by not doing your job, so it’s hard to swallow.

“The guys all made me promise before I went out if it wasn’t any better I would have to come in. We are quite close in this team and that was the rule that was set down. I’m absolutely devastated to be honest.

“It is sore. It is massively frustrating. I am going to go back and see some eye specialists and see if we can figure it out sooner rather than later and get on top of it hopefully.

“We didn’t come here to finish fifth or sixth, and I don’t mean that in a arrogant way, but we were trying to be on the podium and that was impossible with what I could see. And you’re not enjoying it. I had two or three little scares. Nothing major but enough to go ‘What am I trying to do here?’ It just wasn’t working.”

Lee had narrowly missed out on a podium position in the first Supersport race but he made up for that on Wednesday’s Supertwin event, claiming second place behind runaway winner Peter Hickman.

Johnston had qualified in fourth place and it looked as though he would struggle to improve on that starting position as Hickman, Michael Dunlop and Jamie Coward raced clear. With Johnston’s bike unable to match the top speed of his rivals he appeared to be settling for another fourth place finish, but retirements for both Dunlop and Coward elevated him to the second step of the podium.

Johnston acknowledged before TT week that a victory for his Ashcourt Racing team was most likely to come in the Supersport class and he went into Thursday’s race as one of the favourites, but his eye problems were soon evident.

At the end of the first lap in the two lap race he was trailing back in ninth spot, and he opted to retire as he passed the grandstand. The condition continued to afflict the Fermanagh man, and he made the upsetting decision not to start the Senior TT on Saturday and bring his TT week to a premature end.