In 1982 Ricky Johnson went into the 250 class after earning 7th overall and Rookie of the Year honors the year before in the 125 class. The 1982 outdoor season-opener was at Hangtown.THE EVENT: “I went to the national, it was a very stacked field with Donny Hansen, Broc Glover, I mean if you go into the record books there were a lot of good guys there. So I went to Hangtown thinking it would be awesome if I could get into the top 5, you know, because I was Rookie of the Year the year before on the 125, I was 17 years old, riding the 250 class, on a bike that I think nobody thought I was gong to do that good on. And I won the first moto. When I came off the track I asked, ‘Did everybody fall in the first turn?’ and they said, “No, you actually just kicked their ass.” So I was kind of surprised. And then in the second moto, this was going to be my first overall win, I didn’t want to screw it up; Warren Reid got the holeshot, he was going really fast as well and I got into second. I forget now who got second in the first moto but I knew I had the overall, I didn’t want to do anything stupid, because the second moto, which I think this [photo] is, it started to dry out, so it just got sticky, so you want to make sure that you don’t tuck a front wheel or something like that. So I was able to pull off a win and damn near pull off a championship that year on a bike that everyone said was thebiggest pile of s%$# in history… It was raining coming up to it, tech [inspection] was [everyone] walking around with umbrellas; we knew it was going to be muddy. You always question if it rains too hard are they going to cancel the race but we knew it was a national so more than likely they weren’t going to cancel it. So I just prepared myself for battle. Growing up in Southern California, I didn’t get a lot of rain, I didn’t race in the mud a lot, but I always seemed to do well in the mud because I think I went at it with ‘I don’t care.’ I mean, I cared how I did, a lot, but I didn’t let the mud worry me, I just made sure I could survive. I knew I could survive if I could see, and if I could hang on to the handlebars I could do good. So I did my work and got ready to go and had a great day.”
THE BIKE: “I went to that race on a production Yamaha. A lot of people had said that that was the worst production bike Yamaha had ever built but I was comfortable on it. It cornered second to none. You could get in a corner and rail turns like nobody’s business. It was just heavy, it was long, it swapped, but it was predictable. I knew what it was going to do and when it was going to do it… [All season long we] pretty much left the bike like it was. We ran an Ohlins rear shock, which helped a ton. We had a couple problems at the end of the season. At the Road Atlanta I had a pretty big point lead and then going into the second moto I broke a shock spring and it coiled withinitself, so I finished tenth or 11th with my bike sacked out in the back, and that’s what allowed Donnie Hansen to gain the ground, and then I made the big mistake in Colorado, and Donnie won the championship. …Yes, that was the broken wheel incident.”TODAY: “Right now I’ve been having a great run in the trucks. I’ve been racing for Red Bull for the past four years, in 2010 I was the Pro 2 TORCS series champion and 2011 Pro 4 champion so I’m running that red number one plate in the TORCS series, racing for Menzies Motorsports and Red Bull and defending that title. So watch it on Speed… The best way to catch me is to look me up on Facebook. It’s hard to answer everything but I do read posts on my Facebook page and if you want to follow me you can get all the photos on Instagram, and through www.supercross.com.