After missing Loretta’s last year due to an unfortunate injury during practice, Kade Johnson returned to action at The Motoplayground Race at Ponca City fired up and ready to earn some redemption. The Utah native competed on his YZ65 for the last time in Ponca City and went out on top in the 65cc (10-11) class, ending his campaign on the smaller bike in fine form. The Yamaha rider began to pick up speed in the various 85cc classes that he had entered, working his way onto the overall podium in both supercross and motocross at Mini Os last November. At the 2020 Daytona RCSX, things got off to a rough start for Johnson as he was run over by another bike in a vicious crash, suffering a pretty severe gouge on his rear end. Despite the advisory of the doctor, he decided to push through the pain and race both Daytona and Spring A Ding Ding with ten stitches in his butt and he had some pretty impressive results given the circumstances. The Texan has been mixing up his training between Tapt House and Quick’s Moto Ranch lately, but he’s currently taken advantage of the coronavirus pandemic in order to try out the homeschool/living at training facility lifestyle for the very first time. We had a quick conversation with Kade to see what he’s been doing for the last couple of months, the adjustment to doing schoolwork from home, and what the future holds.
You had a pretty gnarly injury at the Daytona RCSX and still pushed through and raced the rest of the weekend and most of Spring A Ding Ding. How's your recovery been with that?
Well, I had ten stitches and I cased a jump. My ankle went really far back and got strained to a point where I couldn't hit the bigger jumps and land aggressively. I'd kind of have to float over jumps. Since COVID-19, we spent like four-ish weeks off just healing and taking a break from motocross for a second so we could hit it back strong and I'm not lousyin' around everywhere I go, so I'll be excited to ride.
How was it for you pushing through those injuries and racing? If we're not mistaken, the stitches were on your butt so that couldn't have been too easy while riding either.
Yeah, it's like you wanna push through it as bad as you can and every time you get focused in or something, then something hurts and you'll slow down and let up a little bit. Then you tell yourself to go and you're goin' nowhere and yeah, it kind of sucked having them in my butt 'cause every time I'd sit down I'd feel a shot of pain. I couldn't go as fast as I wanted to in the corners; it was a pretty big incision, so...
Yeah, you can't give your opponents any advantages this year in the 85cc class. It was stacked at Spring A Ding Ding this year.
For sure. The track this year was super rough which didn't really help with my injuries at all and the stacked class made it hard to compete. You don't expect to go there every time and think "that one person is gonna win," it's different every race you go to. It's real.
What do you typically think about the track layout down there at Underground?
Yeah, it's one of my top five favorites. The track gets really rough really quickly just because of the way the design is. There are some rough sections, flowy sections, technical sections and there are also some big booters that are pretty fun. It's a great mix.
What did you do during your downtime of healing up from your injury and then the lockdown?
Well, I couldn't really do anything that was super, super fun 'cause I still had the injuries and stuff so I couldn't go tubing or jet skiing or anything like that. I really just kind of kicked back, did school every day, and just lived the normal person life of someone during COVID, not going to school and stuff. We fished a lot like three hours a day 'cause we live on the lake.
How has all of this affected your schooling?
It's actually one of the things that is actually really good timing. We were kind of considering homeschool before this COVID-19 thing and the whole homeschool thing is kind of testing me while still staying in public school, you know what I mean?
We noticed the gogglesfordocs.com link in your bio on Instagram, what's that all about?
It's a really great organization for people sending their used goggles for doctors to be able to use them because there's such a shortage of personal protective equipment. So a lot of places have been doing this and sending out goggles. It's surprising how many healthcare providers need extra equipment, so that's what it's all about.
What's the riding situation been like for you recently?
I've been training recently at Quick's Moto Ranch and it's right next to Underground (the Spring A Ding Ding track) so it gets rough just like that. They change it up every day and in some spots, it's like the Spring A Ding Ding track and in some spots, it's like Southwick, and then there's lots of clay, too. It's a mixture of different things and there's a fair share of booters, nice technical sections and corners, so I love it!
Have you been taking it easy on your training recently since you don't know exactly what race you're getting ready for?
I've been training a little bit harder 'cause we have Loretta's in three months now. Right about this time, I'd usually start training for Loretta's so I'm pretty much back to the normal schedule, training hard for Loretta's.
MX Sports announced the Super Regional format for this year. What're your thoughts on how those are going to pan out?
It's for sure going to be a lot different, but I'm kind of excited for the Super Regionals 'cause they're something different compared to your average Regional. They're probably going to be a lot more stacked and you'll get to see the speed of your competitors a little bit early. I think it's gonna be great!
What're your plans for Loretta's this year and have you discussed with the team what you'll be doing heading into 2021?
I think it's both of the 85cc (10-12) classes for this year. I'm going to continue racing the 85 and stuff, but I'm going to start riding the supermini a lot more often. I'll just practice on the supermini so once I get back on the 85 I'll feel like it's a slower machine and I'll be able to throw it around a lot harder.