Jo Shimoda is poised to become the first Japanese rider ever to truly succeed in Monster Energy AMA Supercross
WORDS: ERIC JOHNSON
PHOTOS: ALIGN MEDIA
El Niño had been wreaking havoc on Southern California for a solid month. It was January 2005, and from morning into day, day into night, a parade of weather systems had been spitting down on Angel Stadium in Anaheim. It turned what was supposed to be the “perfect storm,” the star-packed opening round of the 2005 AMA/THQ Supercross Series, into a full-on mudder. Later that night, Louisiana-born Kevin Windham would use his bayou-shaped mud skills to win, beating all of the pre-race favorites: Ricky Carmichael, Chad Reed, James Stewart, Jeremy McGrath. Turns out that it rains a lot in Japan, too, and Motosport Outlet Honda’s Akira Narita slipped across the finish line third in the 125 West Region opener—the one and only podium finish for a Japanese rider in AMA Supercross history—until January of 2021. That’s when another Japanese flyer, 18-year-old Jo Shimoda, reached the 250SX podium for the first time, at Indianapolis 1. Seven days later, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider did it again at Indy 3. What made Shimoda’s podium finishes even more impressive than Narita’s historic effort 16 years ago is the fact that Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis has a roof: Shimoda did it on a dry supercross track.
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4 time Motocross & Supercross Champion