Rider Profile: Dave Johnson
With 2014 Pro Male title winner Dave Johnson confirming he'll be back in 2015 to defend his title, we profile the rise and rise of the amateur turned pro BMXer from Stevenage.
Round 1 Stevenage
It was an unexpected start to Dave Johnson’s winning StreetVelodrome season. He turned up at round 1 in his home town of Stevenage not knowing what to expect, having been convinced of giving it a go by his best mate.
Dave managed to top the amateur qualifying times and was selected to race for the London Cycling Campaign team. After winning his first heat he went on to score the first catch of the Series against a fellow amateur rider. This set up a semi final clash with his LCC pro rider teammate and Commonwealth games double gold medallist Craig Maclean.
Craig beat the young local bmxer, but only by a fraction of a second. However, Dave went on to win his bronze medal race, adding to both his and his team’s all important medal tally.
Round 2 Ealing
Such was his pace in Stevenage, thanks to his ‘no braking’ style, Dave was invited to join the LCC team again at round 2 in Ealing, as their designated pro rider due to Craig Maclean’s absence due to his Glasgow 2014 training schedule. Dave went on to win gold for the team in their home event, sending them to the top of the medal table.
Round 3 Harewood House
As Craig was back in the saddle for round 3, Dave was relegated to being a spectator at Harewood House.
Round 4 Stockton
He was back in force for round 4 in Stockton where he only just managed to beat local 16 year old talented rider Tom Pidcock. The win was Dave’s hardest fought of the Series so far and secured LCC an overall lead going into round 5.
Dave meets a young fan in Stockton
Round 5 Paisley
With the shortest and fastest track of the year Paisley offered the riders the chance to score more ‘catches’ as the competition reached the penultimate round. Dave didn’t disappoint with a catch scored against Scottish commonwealth games mountain biker Rab Wardel. Dave went on to win his 3rd gold medal of the Series with a win against local amateur rider Jack Ravenscroft.
With Craig returning to the LCC team after winning double gold medals at the Glasgow 2014 games, Dave was without a ride for the SuperFinal. However Team Maddog’s Ross Edgar was out due to injury so Dave substituted for the ex Olympic track star.
It wasn’t a bad decision as Dave won his semi final against mountain biker Lee Gratton lining up the show down of the Series. The race for gold and outright victory in the Pro Men’s title against Craig Maclean.
During the Series Dave, or ‘Mad Dave’ as he became known, had won many fans. He was featured in a full page spread in London’s Metro newspaper as a preview to the SuperFinal and was a guest at the London Cycling Awards where he met LCC supporter and Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine. Dave was surely becoming the star find of the 2014 UK StreetVelodrome Series.
However Craig Maclean was also having a stellar year with double gold at Glasgow. Craig had beaten Dave previously in Stevenage, but Dave had got quicker and quicker all Series whilst Craig had been away due to his Commonweatlh Games commitments. Craig had the power advantage, but Dave had his ‘no braking’ technique mastered by this late stage in the Series.
It was a close tussle with Craig taking the early lead. But the bmxer from Stevenage came through, out riding his Olympic and Commonwealth games opponent, and winning the Pro Men’s title. He also helped Team Maddog to secure the overall victory by topping the team medal table.