AURORA, Ill., (Sept. 26, 2006) – Defending Toyota AMA Arenacross Series champion Chad Johnson made it official today – announcing that he’s re-signed with Junior Jackson Racing and will race Suzuki RMZ450s in the 2006-07 Toyota AMA Arenacross Series.
Joining Johnson this year in contesting the AMA Arenacross class will be a formidable teammate, former US Open champion Greg Schnell, along with Lites class specialist Ryan Poulter.
“Chad’s already been testing the Suzukis for four weeks and Greg’s down in Australia racing their supercross series, so they’ll be ready to go here for the Des Moines opener for sure,” said Jackson. “And Ryan will definitely contest the AMA Arenacross Lites class podium, especially with what he’ll learn from Chad and Greg throughout the season.”
Johnson, 23, has known Jackson since he began racing at age 10. The two have remained friends throughout the years and came together midway through the 2004-05 arenacross season when Johnson was with the Shogun Racing Team. Jackson helped lead Johnson to a third-place finish that year, and the following year the two would combine on a thrilling overall title, topping Brock Sellards in the final race to win the overall by one point, 417-416 – the closest overall finish in the history of the sport.
For Schnell, 31, this year is expected to be a breakthrough season on the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series tour for the Californian.
“Last year Greg was about 75-percent the whole season,” said Jackson. “He got hurt at the US Open and never could quite get two consistent nights of riding put together. Once he’s tested the bikes and is all prepared, he’ll be a championship contender.”
Asked if having potentially the top two racers in the series would present any problems, Jackson smiled and said, “We all have a lot of confidence in each other and will work hard to get to that point. If it comes down to the end and gets to a situation where both Chad and Greg are battling for the title, I have confidence that both will handle things professionally.”
The third member of Junior Jackson Racing, 21-year-old Ryan Poulter, will be racing the AMA Arenacross Lites class on a RMZ250. Poulter made a number of main events last year and Jackson, who has been friends with Poulter nearly as long as Johnson, said the young racer could be considered a podium threat right away.
“Ryan’s a longtime friend and I think he’s got a great deal of potential – especially when you surround him with guys like Chad and Greg,” said Jackson. “He rides with tremendous speed, so it’s just a matter of him putting things together, which is why Chad and Greg will help out.”
Based out of Prophetstown, Ill., Junior Jackson Racing’s Chad Johnson will open the 2006-07 competition season at the upcoming Rockstar Energy Drink US Open in Vegas (Oct. 13-14). The full team will be ready to go for the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series opener at Des Moines’ Well Fargo Arena, Nov. 3-5. For more information on Junior Jackson Racing, check out their website at www.juniorjacksonracing.com.
Tickets are available online at www.arenacross.com, www.ticketmaster.com, www.tickets.com. For more information on the Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series log on to www.arenacross.com.