Rick Johnson (born July 6, 1964 in El Cajon, California) is a motorcycle racer who has competed in AMA motocross and Supercross. During the 1980s, he won seven AMA national championships. He later switched to off-road racing. In 2010, he won the Pro 2WD Trophy Truck championship in the Traxxas TORC Series. In September 2012, he won the 4x4 world championship race at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway and later that day won the AMSOIL Cup pitting the two and four wheel drive trucks.
Johnson's father was an avid motorcyclist and he bought his son a mini-bike when he was 3 years old. When he turned 16 in 1980, he earned his pro license. He won his first national championship in 1984 for the Yamaha factory motocross team. For the 1986 season, he was offered a job with the Honda team by team manager and five time former world champion Roger De Coster. He battled his Honda team-mate David Bailey throughout the 1986 season, coming away with the 250 title and the Supercross crown. During this season Johnson and Bailey were part of one of the most epic battles in Supercross history at the Anaheim stadium. De Coster picked Johnson, Bailey and another Honda team-mate Johnny O'mara to represent the U.S.A in the Motocross des Nations in Maggiora, Italy. Team U.S.A. won with a clean sweep. Back home, he finished second to Bailey in the 500 class. Unfortunately, the rivalry was short-lived as just prior to the start of the 1987 season Bailey was paralyzed in a practice crash. Johnson would dominate the 1987 season, winning both the 250 and 500 crowns.
In 1987, Johnson also won what is considered one of Supercross history's greatest races in the Super Bowl Of Motocross at the L.A. Coliseum. After crashing in the first corner Johnson came back from near dead last to pass Jeff Ward and eventually privateer Guy Cooper on the penultimate lap to squeeze the win. He followed this performance by adding the 1988 Supercross and 500 titles to his name. Johnson started the 1989 season strongly but suffered a serious injury when he broke his wrist in a practice session. He would never fully recover from the injury. He soldiered on for a few more seasons but the injury proved too debilitating. He announced his retirement at the beginning of the 1991 season. At the time of his retirement from motocross racing at age 26, he was the all-time leader in Supercross victories. Johnson was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2012.
Career after motocross
Johnson went on to have success in off-road racing and stock car racing. He took wins in the famous Baja 1000 twice and was American Speed Association stock car series Rookie of the Year in 1999, driving for Herzog Racing as a teammate to unrelated El Cajon, CA off-road racer Jimmie Johnson. Johnson ran twelve races in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series from 1995 to 1997.
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Johnson founded the Traxxas TORC Series for the 2009 season. He sold the series after the season to the United States Auto Club (USAC) and he concentrated on being a driver. Ricky Johnson won the TORC Series Pro2wd Championship in 2010 after a season long battle with Rob MacCachren, the defending champ. This championship came down to the last race of the season at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway with Ricky securing a second place finish to win the championship.
In 2012, Johnson won the Pro 4x4 World Championship race on Sunday at Crandon's second race weekend. Later that day, he won the 2012 AMSOIL Cup pitting the Pro 4x4 and Pro 2 drivers against each other.
Johnson now lives in Southern California with his wife, Stephanie, and their children.
Johnson after winning a Traxxas TORC Series race in 2010
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ricky Johnson.|
- Rick Johnson at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame
- Greaves, Johnson, Currie Crowned 2010 TORC Series PRO Champs; Douglas Wins AMSOIL Cup (5 September 2010). Race Dezert http://www.race-dezert.com/home/greaves-johnson-currie-crowned-2010-torc-series-pro-champs-douglas-wins-amsoil-cup-10242.html
|url=missing title (help). Retrieved 7 September 2010.
- AMA motocross champions
- Motocross Action Every champ