Earlier this year, Joy Lewis and her friends attended Johnny Lewis' (no relation) JL10 Dirt Track School in Florida and wrote this report for us.
Above: Johnny and his son Maxsen, Joy, Shelby, Tammi
This spring I had the chance to spend a weekend with Johnny Lewis, his beautiful family and a couple friends at the Marion County Speedway in Florida. The training originally came up as a girl camp through @caferacerxxx but after being bombarded with interest my group was bumped to a later weekend. To be honest the draw for me wasn’t that it was catered to girls – whatever that means – I ride and race with mostly boys, so as far as I can tell the only perk to a girls-only camp is that we can all slumber party in the same hotel room and no one’s spouse gets pissy.
The three of us attending had various levels of experience and Johnny was able to identify immediately what our individual areas of focus needed to be. Having raced flat track for only a year in a handful of races on a shitty bike, I had a lot to learn and a few habits to break.
Mr JL10, Johnny Lewis
After covering body positioning, braking, and the cadence of corners, we started the bikes and hopped on the mini-track Johnny had made in the parking lot. To make things more crowded we were joined by the ridiculously talented and rad Oliver Brindley #24, who rallied around on a mini bike pushing our elbows up and our knees in. It seemed to only take that first session of laps for Johnny to have each of us figured out but rather than give us the answers, he makes you self-evaluate and come to whatever you’re doing wrong on your own. We spent most of day one running solo drills where we would ride one corner over and over and after every round we had to tell Johnny what we did wrong – he gave us tips for fixing it and it was onto the next. Every so often we’d stop to do donuts on the mini bike or some ridiculous exercise and then jump back into a drill and without fail something would click. Obviously the guy is good at what he does but what I was most impressed with was Johnny’s ability to completely break down flat tracking into bite-sized pieces and then figure out which we were choking on.
Tammi getting the 'look through the corner' chat
Day two we spent a good chunk of the day taking turns ‘racing’ against Johnny and Oliver. I learned that one of my weaknesses was chasing whoever was in front of me – apparently a common mistake racers make and one that rarely gets you to the top of the podium.
Our day concluded on the big track with two-up hot laps on Johnny’s race bike (so maybe there were perks to being a girl because I can’t imagine many grown men sitting front seat holding onto a crossbar going sideways into a corner.)
Shelby figuring out weight transfer during direction change
I was lucky to go home to a month of back-to-back races where I could put it all together. I definitely had Johnny in my head while racing, reminding me to find my own line. All the time spent on that makeshift track focusing on weight transfer through corners paid off on the real track and I was able to feel more in control of the bike during the slide. all of this to say my time at Johnny’s was game-changing – and while I still refuse to ride a modern bike, I’m getting around a bit better on my shit bike.
A month later on my shit bike with everything clicking - photo: Scott Toepfer
Click to find out more about the 10 Training