Wednesday, November 10, 2010

AMA Flat Track: 2010 GN Champ Jake Johnson Reflects on His Championship Season with Zanotti Racing


Jake Johnson's #5 Zanotti Racing/Leo Vince/Arai/Tucker Rocky-sponsored Harley-Davidson XR750 sits inside the AMA tech area after a fine run home into fourth place at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile on August 28. Jersey Jake finished just off the podium at Indy, 3.057 seconds back from winner Bryan Smith on the #42 Werner Springsteen Monster Energy Kawasaki, in what was also Kawasaki's first win in AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Twins Series Racing.
Johnson's stellar year in the series saw him come out of the box at Daytona in the second of two races for the season opening rounds, to win at the new stadium. Johnson and the team won again at Springfield at the Memorial Day Weekend mile event, and wrapped up the season by winning the season-ender in Prescott Valley, AZ. Throughout the year, Johnson showed his ability to bring it home in every race, and the team never suffered a DNF throughout the year, laying claim to a program that saw consistency and bike-prep as the groundwork for a very worthy championship season. Johnson's only finish outside the top ten in 2010 was a 13th place finish at the Gas City short track round in June. He won the title outright by a margin of 20 points, 289-269, to runner-up Joe Kopp and the Latus H-D/Lloyd Brother Ducati team.
Team owner Dave Zanotti adds to the legacy his father started in the '70s, when Mario Zanotti teamed with a young up-and-comer by the name of Steve Eklund, and won the '79 AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship. With Dave and Jake adding to that great feat from 31 years ago, Zanotti Racing is the only father/son duo to have won the coveted #1 plate in AMA Flat Track competition after over 50 years of racing in the series. Johnson, the 2002 AMA Flat Track Rookie of the Year, also won the '06 and '08 AMA Flat Track Singles Championships while riding for the American Suzuki effort.

In what was a stellar year for fans and competitors alike, the 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship season saw new winners, new competition and new faces in the series to add to the great turn around that the series is seeing. But when the year was done and said, long-time competitor Jake Johnson and the Zanotti Racing team took home all of the honors while doing so with one of the legends of the sport, the Harley-Davidson XR750. With all of the 'new' in the series for this season, the final say-so went to a machine that has been competing in the series since the early '70s, showing everyone that the 'iron-clad' alloy XR isn't quite ready for the museum as of yet, restrictors or not!

Teaming together in the off-season last year, Jake Johnson and Zanotti Racing formed the perfect match to win the big marbles in AMA Flat Track Racing, and in doing so also showed how strong their team and rider were throughout the season by taking home 3 wins, only one finish on the year outside the top ten, and zero DNF's due to rider or mechanical failure. Talk about a near-dream season.

The great folks at and The Fast and have teamed up to bring us this great season ending video from the Yavapai Downs Mile in Prescott Valley, AZ., and we get a chance to see and hear from some of the racers during round 16 of the 2010 season. Jake Johnson takes some time to reflect on the season, and ultimately the #1 plate as he wins the race over Jared Mees, the defending AMA Flat Track Grand National Twins Champion, by a scant .004 seconds to go out on top and collect the 2010 AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship for himself and Zanotti Racing.

You can check out the season-ending highlights right here and hear Jersey Jake reflect on the run-up to the season ender, and the result of winning it all. Congrats again to Jake Johnson and Zanotti Racing for a great championship season. I can't wait for 2011!

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