Rider Spotlight: Johnny Lewis
NEWS December 15, 2011
Photo by Dave Hoenig
AMAPro: How's your off-season going?
JL: I’ve been doing anything and everything I can to stay busy. Other than helping my dad, and doing marketing for companies, I recently started my own news channel (link at bottom of article). My wife Alysha and I did pictures for Santa at an event recently. Also, I’ve been training an amateur racer, as he wants to turn pro. Finally, I’m trying to secure sponsorship for Ride Academy and my racing efforts for next year.
AMAPro: So where are you from?
JL: I’m from Coatesville, Penn.
AMAPro:Pennsylvania... We're guessing you'll be doing some ice riding then?
JL: I’m always busy doing other things, but I’m going to try and do the opening round of the indoor ice racing series in Redding, PA, since it’s only a little ways away from my house. I’m probably going to go to that. I might go up to Canada, and do some riding up there as well. That’s where my wife’s from.
AMAPro: What was your first motorcycle?
JL: Yamaha PW50. The first time I rode it, I crashed into a fence… even with training wheels. My wife, Alysha has a VHS to DVD converter, so we’re thinking about taking some of the tapes and get my early riding on DVD when I get some time this winter.
AMAPro: How did you get into motorcycle racing?
JL: My dad always rode; he never raced or anything. He got me on the PW50, and then got me into a local race, which turned out to being a motocross race. We thought the next race we were going to was another motocross race, but turned out to be a TT flat track race. That’s where we met Jared Mees and others. So I kind of got into flat track racing on accident. It’s been going well since then.
AMAPro: Do you ride on the street?
JL: Negative. I don’t even have my streetbike license. I don’t even like riding my bicycle on the road. I don’t trust people enough. I have to watch out for people on horse & buggies where I live in Pennsylvania. My sister and Jake Johnson live on the same road as me.
AMAPro: Out of all the bikes you’ve ridden, which one stood out the most?
JL: I really like the Kawasaki flat track bike that we built. It’s a lot of fun. Back when I rode for Factory KTM Supermoto, I really liked the bike I rode for them. It was pretty much a dirt bike with close to 70 horsepower.
AMAPro: Tell us about Ride Academy..
JL: Mike Hacker started Ride Academy. He’s a multi-time race winner and is very involved in our sport. He’s been a coach to riders like Jake Johnson, and you see how well Jake has done. He wanted to give back and help more riders improve their skills, so he got a couple bikes, and uses the same area where he trains to put the school together. We started having people call us to do the school in different locations, so we’ve been conducting the school in different locations like Georgia, New York, Virginia and Michigan. It’s cool, because the first day we cover the basics, but then graduate them to bikes. We push them to bring their big bikes so we can help set their bikes up and get them race ready.
AMAPro: What’s your favorite racetrack?
JL: The last time I was at the Springfield Mile, it was really fun because I was in the lead draft and going back and forth with riders like Chris Carr. As the racing progressed, the track changed which changed the way I looked at it. I think I respected it more after that.
AMAPro: What draws you to the sport? The thrill, competition or the speed?
JL: Obviously, I think the speed. In motocross, you don’t go as fast. As I continued to race, winning became the best part about it!
AMAPro: What’s a typical day like for you?
JL: During race season, we travel with dogs now, so the first thing we do is let the dogs out. I don’t have a schedule really, but I do what needs to be done.
AMAPro: What are your expectations going into next year?
JW: I haven’t really thought about that yet. I’ve been improving over the years, so I’d like to finish in the top five in the championship. I got three second-place finishes this past year, so I do want to win a race! I think the ultimate goal is to win a race. I’m not 100% sure if I’ll be doing the full schedule next season, so I’m kind of taking it race by race.
AMAPro: Who's your racing hero?
JL: I have a couple like Ricky Graham. Will Davis is another one. Growing up I was #21 like Will Davis. He was probably one of the nicest guys I met at a young age, and with him having the same number as me, I looked up to him. When he passed away, it was crushing to lose a hero like him.
Link to Johnny Lewis' news channel: http://vimeo.com/33384359
What's your take?
Has it started snowing where you live? If so, does that mean your riding season's over?