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Rick Johnson’s Scrapbook P3 | Fox Feature


Presented by Fox Racing

Seven-time Motocross and Supercross Champion Ricky Johnson is not only a legend in our sport, but he also remains one of the. coolest and most down-to-earth guys on two wheels. During RJ’s heyday in the 1980s, the internet, and social media were the stuff science fiction movies were made of, so behind-the-scenes stories were few and far between. Having had Johnson on the SML Show previously, we know that he’s got a virtually endless supply of memories from his racing days, so we asked him to share some insight with us about this photo of him on the cover of the Fox Racing catalog, posing with a bird!

“I trusted Pete Fox completely and when he had an idea for something that would look cool I always went along with whatever he had in mind. This is a true story, no bullshit! Pete wanted to shoot in some alleyway with brick buildings. It was in some little town close to San Jose, and Pete liked the brick look and so on and so forth, so we went there to shoot. Pete also brought along a bicycle for me to shoot with, and then he had me out on a spiked wristband thing to kind of jazz it up and add a little flavor to it. Next thing you know, this freaking bird just walks up. Just literally comes walking down this alley and starts pecking at my foot! I’m like, “Who’s bird is this?” No one knew!

“So I put my finger down, and the bird hops on my finger and lets me pick it up! It was obviously someone’s pet that had gotten away because it seemed to tame. We just had breakfast so I actually had a toothpick in my mouth still…it wasn’t a prop. Anyway, I picked it up and I said, “Oh, check this out,” then held it close to my mouth, and then the bird would start biting on my toothpick. So they just started shooting it. And next thing you know, here’s me in an alley with a bird, on the cover of a Fox catalog!
“It doesn’t make any sense at all, but it was honestly so organic the way it all came together. (Laughs) I wasn’t a big bird guy but I wanted to take that thing home though. I forget what happened with the bird if it flew off or somebody lost it.
“Looking at this photo, I think it’s cool how that gear still looks awesome by today’s standards.  That was the thing…Pete did more bold stuff because there wasn’t the ability to do all these micro colors and all this crazy stuff like current times. Now you look back at what Fox is doing with all the big colored panels again and it’s simple but cool. I love the big panel across the back that has their name in black and the jerseys that look like they have a bib on and stuff like that. It looks a lot better and the logos pop better. I just don’t like real busy shit. Like I hated the Thor Fast Boyz and Cyborg shit I had to wear later in my career, but that was never with Fox!
“Working with Pete Fox back then was an adventure. The majority of the crazy ideas were his and they always worked out. Everyone says all these ads and shoots were iconic and I was lucky to work with those guys.
“Like when Pete said, “Go sit naked on a rock with a boot.” I was like, “Okay.” Then they say I had to shave legs real clean and even my ass cheeks too. “We want it really clean,” they said because they had to put makeup on my butt so it was not white and it matched my legs. 

“It was a great time in motocross.”

Donn Maeda

Donn Maeda is a 30-year veteran in moto-journalism, having worked at Cycle News and Dirt Rider before launching MXracer Magazine and TransWorld Motocross Magazine. Maeda is the Editor-In-Chief at Swapmoto Live and you can catch him on a dirt bike or in the saddle of a mountain bike on most days.

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