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BAJA’S TWO-WHEEL HEROES SCORE’s Greatest Motorcycle Racers Of All Time Part VI – Jack Johnson By Larry Saavedra If off-road motorcycle racers had a hero, most would call out Jack Johnson as the man. Over his SCORE Baja racing career alone, Johnson has won four SCORE Baja 1000 Championships and many SCORE Baja 1000 class wins.  Johnson began racing from a young age, but it wasn’t until a turning point in the late 1970s that changed his future. He was a young man riding for both Husqvarna and Yamaha when he was teamed with Off-Road Hall of Fame inductee, Larry Roeseler. Johnson and Roeseler won three consecutive SCORE Baja 1000 Championships (1978, ‘79 and ‘80). Then, Johnson returned to the SCORE Baja 1000 in 1982, this time riding for Honda, and won another SCORE Baja 1000 Championship with then teammate Al Baker. To many in the off-road motorcycle racing community, Johnson was considered a natural-born motorcycle racer from the beginning. Although, in his humble approach, he claims the winning ways came from hard work. “I started riding motorcycles at eight years old, thanks to my dad,” said Johnson. “When I turned 18, I started to win races. I raced the SCORE Baja 1000 in 1975 with KTM, but didn’t do well. Then in 1976, I got picked up by Husky (Husqvarna) and then I started to really enjoy it.”  Several years passed before Johnson got his first SCORE Baja 1000 win. “It began when I was asked to ride with Larry Roeseler,” said Johnson. “We made a pretty good team and were very competitive, but Roeseler was exceptional.” It was after winning his third SCORE Baja 1000 Championship that Johnson went on to solo the SCORE Baja 500 in 1979. Winning one of the first SCORE Baja 500 Ironman trophies really got him pumped up about racing the desert. “It was definitely a tough race to do that,” said Johnson. I think no one was crazy enough to think about it at the time. The Ironman trophy is a special one to have.” In 1982, he rode with Baker and together won another SCORE Baja 1000 Championship, far exceeding what many thought was possible at the time. Johnson would continue to compete at the highest levels of desert racing, and he even made the leap into buggies and trucks, racing with the Spencer Low of Team Nissan. Johnson continued to campaign race cars until the mid-1990s and didn’t return to motorcycle racing until the early 2000s. “I returned to motorcycles with AMA Hall of Fame Inductee Chris Haines,” said Johnson. “It was in an age-bracket class in the SCORE Baja 1000 and we won many events until leaving racing in 2007.” With an incredible career spanning several decades and inspiring many motorcycle racers who followed in his footsteps, Jack Johnson has proven he is one of Baja’s greatest two-wheel racers of all time. SJ

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