GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Brody Johnson

Tuesday Toolbox: Brody Johnson

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 | 2:40 PM
Tuesday, March 19, 2019 | 2:40 PM

Brody Johnson earned his first-ever amateur overall as well as his first win in the 250 A class at The General GNCC. The sixteen-year-old from Landrum, South Carolina, grew up racing the series and earned three titles during his time on minibikes. His goal for this year is to win the 250 A title, and hopes to eventually follow in the footsteps of his older brother (Jonathan Johnson), who competes in the XC2 class.

Brody Johnson took home his first 250 A class win of the season at The General GNCC.
Brody Johnson took home his first 250 A class win of the season at The General GNCC. Ken Hill Your name sounds pretty familiar … how long have you been racing the GNCC series?

Brody Johnson: My first GNCC was in 2011, but I didn’t start competing for a championship until the next year in 2012. That was the year I ran the 65cc (7-9) class and was able to win my first GNCC championship!

Winning a title in the first year you ran the series is pretty cool! Did you win other championships while you were on little bikes?

Yes. In 2014 I won the 85cc (7-11) championship and then in 2015 I won the Supermini (12-13) championship. Unfortunately, from 2016 up until last year I was plagued with injuries and not able to compete in the full number of races each season. Last year was especially tough, I won 7 of the 9 races I was able to compete in – but was still one point short of winning 4-Stroke A Lites.

What were some of your injuries, and how did you keep your head up while you were recovering?

I broke my leg in 2016 and the rest were all wrist injuries. Just trying to remember that they were only minor setbacks and a part of our sport that everyone has to deal with helped me keep my head up as much as possible in that situation. Although it was hard watching the races from the sidelines, being around racing also helped me to stay positive.

Johnson earned the Top Amateur honors after finishing 22nd overall this past Sunday. 
Johnson earned the Top Amateur honors after finishing 22nd overall this past Sunday.  Ken Hill

How did you get started racing?

My dad is the one who got me started when I was about 4 years old. My older brother had already been riding and racing. Watching him is what got me really interested in racing. Right now, he’s running the XC2 class and we try to ride and train together as much as we can. With him being older and faster I think training with him helps me out a lot.

Do you hope to eventually progress into the pro ranks like he has?

Yes. My main goal for this year is to win 250 A. Once I win an Amateur overall, I plan on moving up to XC2. Really, when I move up depends on how everything works out and how I’m doing at the end of the year.

Would you consider racing XC3, or are you really only interested in XC2?

I’ve never really thought about it much. I did love the 125 when I raced it in 200A, but I feel like it would be hard to go back to a 125 now after riding the 250s. But who knows, with the right opportunity it could definitely be possible.

Johnson earned fourth at round one in Florida.
Johnson earned fourth at round one in Florida. Ken Hill

Now, getting into the primary reason for this interview, congrats on winning your first Amateur Overall last weekend! How do you feel about it?

Thank you! It feels awesome to be able to get my first 250 A win and my first amateur overall all in one, especially since it’s been a goal of mine since last year. I had been close to the podium a couple of times, but to finally get it done is a big boost of confidence for the upcoming races!

Can you describe how your race went?

The race went really well. My Kawasaki fires up really fast, so I was able to get a great start, going into the woods in second place. I moved into the lead pretty quickly and started to catch the Open A class. I made my way through most of them by the end of the first lap. I began to get a good flow going for the rest of the race. I tried to ride hard and get a gap on the rest of my class, but that didn’t last long. I went down on the second lap, and before I knew it Bryce Koster and Chase Hayes had caught me. We ran wheel to wheel for the rest of the race, swapping positions several times each lap. I started to pull away a little heading into the last lap, but I fell over again and then everyone was right back on me. But I was able to ride mistake free the rest of that lap and take the win!

Sounds like it was a tough battle! What do you consider your biggest strength and weakness on the bike?

I would say one of my biggest strengths is being able to pick good lines and make good passes on the first lap. One of my biggest weaknesses is being in the shape I need to be in to push hard for the whole race. Three hours is a long time! But I’ve been working on my fitness and it’s really improved!

Johnson currently sits second in the points standings for the 2019 250 A class.
Johnson currently sits second in the points standings for the 2019 250 A class. Ken Hill

What are some of the things that you’ve done to improve your fitness?

I try to work out and ride as much as I can during the week. Although nothing is better than time on the bike, I think road biking and rowing have both helped me out a lot.

Now for the tough question – what is one interesting, non-motorsports related thing about you?

That is a hard one, considering racing is about all I do! But I like to do anything outdoors related, like hunting and fishing.

And who would you like to thank?

I want to thank God for keeping me safe, my mom and dad for all that they do to get me to the races, Team Green, Bryan Easler Toyota, Atlas Cycles, FXR, Kenda, IMS Tanks, Stickman Graphics, Pro Motion Suspension, Shoei Helmets, Gaerne, Precision Racing Products, G2, Scott Goggles and everyone else that helps me throughout the year!