Privateer Spotlight: Ross Johnson
2009 250 West Coast Lites Privateer
Birthday: October 12, 1987
Height: 6 ft
Weight: 160 lbs
Born in: Tenino, Washington
Bike: Honda CR 250 F
Mechanic: Andy Stevens
Trainer: Jay Whipple (also works with Josh Hill)
Career Achievements: 4th at 2008 World Mini Grand Prix, 7th at 2008 Loretta Lynns
Sponsors: MOM and DAD, South Sound Honda, J. Whipple MX Schools, MSR, Rockstar, Jardine, Scott, Crower, Devol, Hyper X, Fusion Graphics, Surflex
Ross Johnson is a 21 year old from a small town in Washington, with a population of 2000 people. He loves country music, although before a race he may put on some AFI. He says “It’s hard to get pumped up listening to Kenny Chesney!”
Like so many other riders he was surrounded by people who had a love for the sport, such as his Dad, who used to ride professionally, along with his older brother, who raced as well. Ross competed in his first race at the age of nine. He knew right away that racing motorcycles was always going to be a part of his life. He use to race right along side two stars of Supercross: Josh Hill #75 & Ryan Dungey #10.
But after a bad crash in the Canadian Arenacross series, he ended up in the hospital his Sophomore year of high school – he decided he was done. He just wanted to be “a normal kid.” Being the natural born athlete he is, he went on to play Football, Baseball, and Basketball for the rest of his high school career. A couple years after graduating High School, he decided to dust himself off and try MX again. He began working with trainer J. Whipple (who also trains Supercross racer Josh Hill).
Ross says, “It took some time to feel confident on a bike again. I owe just about everything to my parents. They get me to each race and support me 100%”
Ross will be racing the AMA Motocross outdoors this year as well.
Amanda: What are your thoughts as you ride past the factory teams in the pits?
I figured they worked hard and they earned it. And that’s definitely what I’m shooting for. I think every privateer wishes as they rode by those factory teams that they had 6-7 mechanics & crew standing around the bike asking them what they need. That sure would be nice! I really hope to be there one day!
Amanda: How was your very first Supercross at Anaheim January 3rd, 2009?
Well at practice, it didn’t really get to me, but after the first couple laps of my qualifier I looked over at my mechanic who had written on the pit board “You got IT!” I then realized what was going on. I seized up a bit and got nervous and didn’t end up riding very well. So that’s what I took back from A1 and that’s what I’ve been working on for this weekend in Phoenix.
Fees Ross has to Pay to Race:
$200 every entry fee each race
$250 AMA license
2 mechanic passes at $40
4 tickets at $40 a piece
(Not including, gas to drive to each race, and food)
(Photo Credit: Gerald Geronimo)