Gary Johnson he’s the rider
GJ won a TT last year on a Triumph and then suffered a severe crash a couple of days later that turned his dream year on the Island into a nightmare. But he’s back and strong and is a serious podium man in 2015.
IR: As we’re going into the 2015 TT, how’s things looking for you – especially considering that last year finished with you badly beaten up and in hospital following a race crash. GJ: It’s been good, we’ve been doing a lot of work on the bikes over winter.
I had that crash last year at the TT and to be honest with you any crash at the TT is bad. What happened though did happen at one of the slower bits, thank God, and it’s taken a lot for me to recover from it but we are there now and we’ve been testing the Kawasaki out in Spain and things have been very well on it. So things are looking good.
The thing that everyone really knew about was that I had a broken shoulder, but what people don’t know is that I broke five vertebraes in my spine, and part of where my spine was broke was where the nerves were that control the mechanics of my right arm.
So I spent two and half months with an armthat I couldn’t really do anything with, I just put it in my pocket. And at that point I was really worried, like would it get better or could I even get competitive again on a motorcycle?
It was what every racer’s nightmare is. I was caught out with the weather. It was a bit greasy and it came down to probably an instant, split second decision I made that was wrong and it ultimately cost me last year’s remaining TT.
So, I had a good chiropractor and I saw some good people and physios and that and they bashed us around a bit and after three months my arm started working again.
IR: So, you’ve got a strong team behind you but this is pretty unusual for you at the TT isn’t it? GJ: Signing with Mark and the Kawasaki boys is the first time I’ve signed with a big team and been the sole focus for them, you know I’ve always run my own ship a bit with some great loyal sponsors and I’ve had some good bikes but it puts a lot of stress on you while you’re doing stuff.
The TT is stressful enough without having to run around organising everything for everybody and the team performed well before but this is a new venture, they’re building the bikes and I just have to turn up with my leathers and do the professional rider thing. So, hopefully that’s going to relieve the tension at the TT, relax and be able to focus more.
The bike feels good and if it rides well around the TT – because you never know how any bike’s going to go around that place until you’re actually on the circuit and fingers crossed it’s good and stress-free in practice week. Hopefully come Race Week I can start off like last year but avoid an accident.
I showed in practice last year that we were strong on the Triumph and we were strong on the Kawasaki stocker, we struggled on my Superbike a little bit to get it to handle as well as we wanted but we had strong lap times. If we can start off anything like we did last year I physically feel better in my mind with the circuit and I’mconfidentI’m confident that we’ve got the same bikes and machinery and better this year so, if we can get an incident-free practice week and roll into Race Week calm and collected then hopefully we can pick some trophies up.
Gary has appeared as a disco-dancing farmer in Emmerdale and as a cop in the film, Keeping Mum, with