Lee Johnston suffered a broken back, tailbone and finger after a high speed crash at the Isle of Man TT races on Saturday.

The Maguiresbridge rider came off his Supersport bike during practice and had to be airlifted to hospital, where he later tweeted that he “broke back coccyx and finger.”

The bike left a trail of burning fuel as Lee was thrown from the machine on the Greeba Castle section of the famous course.

The 28 year old was immediately taken to Noble’s Hospital on the island, before being transferred to Liverpool the following day.

Injury had disrupted Lee’s season last year, but on the back of two podium finishes at the North West 200 he came into the TT event fully fit and in confident mood.

His main aim for the season was to grab his first win around the world famous Manx mountain course, and he was in impressive form before his accident.

The 28 year old had gone sixth fastest in the Superstock practice on Friday on board his BMW, but he turned up the pace on Saturday to post a qualifying lap time six seconds quicker than anyone else.

Just days before the season’s biggest event Lee had split from Jackson Racing, and after much speculation in the pit lane he then revealed that he was set to race with Padgett’s Honda in place of the injured John McGuinness.

It seemed that that switch was about to pay dividends as he took the number 1 bike to the top of the timesheets, but there was to be no happy ending for the Fermanagh man.

He was scheduled to ride a BMW in the Superbike and Superstock classes and was competing for Ryan Farquhar’s KMR team in the Lightweight class for Supertwins, but his accident brought a sudden end to his hopes of TT glory for another year.