‘I won­der how some driv­ers get out of bed in the morn­ings’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - David Johnson, Nor­ton star

Q1 What are you rid­ing right now?

A 1980s vin­tage Har­ley-david­son FXR with a Screamin’ Ea­gle en­gine back home in Aus­tralia that I use to cruise to the beach and to set off car alarms! I’ve also got a Tri­umph Day­tona 675 and an old Tri­umph T120 650 Bonneville that I’ve been try­ing to re­store for the last four years but still isn’t fin­ished.

Q2 Which liv­ing mo­tor­cy­clist do you most ad­mire?

Mick Doohan and John Mcguin­ness. Doohan was the hero when I was younger so I al­ways looked up to him and I look up to Mcguin­ness mas­sively be­cause of what I do now – he’s just had such a great ca­reer at the TT.

Q3 What’s your worst habit?

I sleep too much. I can sleep right up to five min­utes be­fore a race – just like Bruce An­stey. I’m half Kiwi so maybe that’s got some­thing to do with it. It never af­fects me on the bike though.

Q4 If you could have one su­per­power, what would it be?

I’d like to be able to freeze time and rewind it to re­live great mo­ments.

Q5 What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone on a bike?

The teleme­try on my Smith’s BMW S1000RR Su­per­bike showed 206mph on the drop from Creg-ny-baa to Bran­dish at the TT a cou­ple of years ago. That’s a much faster stretch than the Sulby Straight, where they set the of­fi­cial speed traps. You’re ac­tu­ally rolling off at the point where they mea­sure top speeds on Sulby Straight.

Q6 When were you last scared?

Com­ing into Don­ing­ton Hall in the pitch dark one night (Nor­ton has its HQ in the hall and Johnson stays there – ed) it felt like some­one tapped me on the shoul­der. I al­most had a heart at­tack! I swear that place is haunted.

Q7 How many miles have you done in the last year?

Not a lot. I do ride in Aus­tralia but it’s just cruis­ing around or nip­ping down to the beach, never very far.

Q8 What’s the high­est mileage you’ve cov­ered in one day?

On a bike, only about 250 miles. On an aero­plane, over 10,000 miles!

Q9 What irritates you most when you’re out rid­ing?

Driv­ers who can’t drive! I see some

peo­ple on the road and won­der how they man­aged to get them­selves out of bed in the morn­ing – they’re use­less.

Q10 You’ve got two weeks off – where are you go­ing?

First I’d fly some­where warm and then just ride to a beach and pitch up there for two weeks!

Q11 Got one pearl of wis­dom for new rid­ers?

Do a few track­days and learn your lim­its be­fore you find them on the roads by rid­ing too hard.

Q12 Ever fallen off in a car park (or some­where equally em­bar­rass­ing?)

I once got about three me­tres onto a track and then high­sided. I was barely even out of the pits. It was at Mcna­mara Park in Aus­tralia and I was 17 and rac­ing a 125. I was giv­ing it loads of revs as I came out onto the cir­cuit then dumped the clutch and it spat me straight off.

Q13 Do you have one in­dis­pens­able item of kit?

When I’m rac­ing I al­ways wear a lucky neck­lace that my mum gave me. And at the start of ev­ery sea­son I al­ways get some lucky undies and lucky socks. In fact, this year I’ve ac­tu­ally bought seven pairs with the days of the week writ­ten on them be­cause peo­ple said I was a smelly b*****d for al­ways wear­ing the same pair of pants and socks.

Q14 Which four peo­ple would you in­vite on a Sun­day blast?

BSB racer Billy Mccon­nell, be­cause he’s a bit of a loose unit. He rides pretty funny on the road too. My dad, Mur­ray, be­cause he’s got a col­lec­tion of clas­sic bikes. Mick Doohan so we can talk s**t, and Aus­tralian ac­tor Eric Bana. I’ve met him a few times and he’s a funny guy.

Q15 Do you have a tool you couldn’t live without?

My shifter. You Brits call it an ad­justable span­ner. You can’t go rac­ing without a shifter.

Q16 Do you ad­just sus­pen­sion?

Yeah, no prob­lem.

Q17 If you could have one of your old bike back, which would it be?

My Honda CB125 piece of s**t that I first started rac­ing on. I’m try­ing to buy it back. I know who’s got it and they know I want it so they’ll prob­a­bly charge me top dol­lar. I’ve al­ready got my 125 GP bike, which was my sec­ond race bike.

Q18 Which bike would you never buy?

One of the new Royal En­fields. I like the old-school ones but not the new ones.

Q19 Which road (or track) would you build on your desert is­land?

It would be a mix­ture of Phillip Is­land, the Sach­sen­ring and Thrux­ton.

Q20 If you ruled the world, what new law would you pass?

No speed lim­its on any roads!

‘Some­one tapped me on the shoul­der – that place is haunted’

If you’re look­ing to in­sure a bike, visit Mc­n­com­ and you can quickly com­pare prices from 43 top mo­tor­cy­cle in­surance brands. The writer of the best let­ter each week pub­lished in the Let­ters pages will re­ceive a free retrode­sign MCN T-shirt.

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