7. Ricky Johnson
1986 & 1988 AMA 250cc (Premier Class) Supercross Champion
Premier-Class Wins: 28
Most Premier-Class Wins in a Season: 7 (1987, 1988)
One of a handful of legendary racers to come out of the “El Cajon Zone,” following in the footsteps of El Cajon, California’s original trend-setting champ, Broc Glover, Ricky Johnson was at one time the “winningest” supercross racer of all time.
Winning his 28th supercross main event in the aforementioned 1989 Miami sand race, it seemed “RJ” was just getting the ball rolling. Over the previous three seasons since switching from Yamaha to Honda, he had managed to win 20 250cc Supercross main events and two championships. In fact, it could be argued the only reason he didn’t manage to three-peat between 1986 and 1988 was because of a huge fall Johnson suffered at round one in Anaheim, knocking himself unconscious and forcing him out of the race. He ended up losing the title to fellow El Cajon Zone native Jeff Ward.
And then in 1989, Johnson started his AMA Supercross title defense with five wins in a row, and then a second place at round six behind teammate Jeff Stanton. Two weeks later, at the first AMA National MX of the year at Gatorback Cycle Park in Florida, RJ was landed on in practice, badly breaking his right wrist. Although he ended up returning to action late in 1989, and even won the same Gatorback MX National in 1990, the limited movement in his throttle wrist eventually led to his retirement, officially in 1991.
It’s hard to know how long Johnson would’ve dominated without the stroke of luck at Gatorback in 1989, but as it is, he’s still easily one of the greatest in history. He’s also arguably the second most popular supercross racer in the history of the sport.