In the world of motorsports you don’t get much more close quarters battling than the Wild, Wild World of Arenacross. “Microwave Supercross,” someone once called it. Like NASCAR’s short track ‘Bull Ring’ races, but without doors. You gotta have a bit of a mean streak to win, like Tyler Bowers, which makes Monster Energy’s longtime AX racer Chad Johnson almost an enigma in the sport. Lanky & lean – and not at all very mean – Johnson’s won multiple AMA Arenacross premier class championships (back-to-back in 2005-’06 and 2007-’08) based smart, fluid and consistently fast performances, along with the ability to stay healthy through the barnstorming Arenacross grinder that runs double nights on consecutive weekends throughout the first quarter. And he’s done this consistently over the past decade despite being a notoriously poor starter. “Arenacross is always tight - the only passing going on is when you really put it in there, make a good block pass,” he says. “So you’ve really got to be aggressive if you’re not getting good starts – and I’ve never been famous for my good starts.” A Wisconsin native who can also throw down on a snowboard pretty well, Johnson’s an action sports icon in mid-market U.S. towns ranging from Des Moines, Iowa, to Albany, N.Y. and anywhere else the Monster Energy-friendly AMA Arenacross tour makes its stop.
The former multi-time Arenacross champ was on the overall podium again in the premier AX class, placing 3rd overall in 2012 with 338 points in the grueling ten-round series.