In 1983, Johnny’s father bought him his very first motorcycle, an ITALJET 50. Motocross has always been an interest in his family and it was a natural progression for him to get involved in it too. He participated in his first race when he was only four years old. By the time he was 12 years old, he won his first race – the Minivert in Saint Die, France. He came second in the race after that. It was then that his talent drew attention and he was approached and asked to join the Hope French Team. He also became the Yamaha Motor France Rider.
In 1993, he collected prizes. He was the Minivert French Champion, the Cadet French Champion, the World Champion 80cc – all in one year. Encouraged to expand his horizons and hungry for success, he wanted to move on to 125cc. However, he was not yet 14 years old and was not allowed to race it in his home country. Yamaha managed to get him to race in Belgium. However, he could not quite master it and learnt his lesson with disappointments and wounds. He rode for KTM France in 1995 and it ended up being a great year as he finished third in the Junior Championship and made his first appearance in the Elite French Championship. He was finally Supercross French Champion in 1997, as well as winning three finals of Bercy, and he finished 22nd in the World Championship in 1998.
He went on to win many other prizes under the Yamaha brand and eventually made the switch to Enduro riding in 2005. His first race was an indoors race in Genova where he secured second place, proving that he indeed had the skills for it. A few weeks later and he was on his first podium at the Grand Prix in Sweden. By his third Grand Prix, he was the leader of the Championship. He fell on his bike during the Grand Prix in Italy, breaking three of his ribs and making him unable to compete for the title. However, he did secure fourth place. He had more frustration after this when he had mechanical problems and ended up in third place in the World Championship. His luck turned when he won the ISDE overall – one of only three French riders ever. He managed to secure the World Championship title in 2008 as well as the World Enduro Champion E2. In 2009 he won his second World title and his first French title. 2010 called for a new challenge when he moved to the E1 class with the 250 EXC-F.
Leatt Gear: GPX 6.5 Neck Brace.