Even though 2020 has presented an entirely new set of challenges for nearly everyone, that hasn't stopped Johnny Lewis and MotoAnatomy from not only making the best of it, but thriving in it!
After a handshake agreement with Royal Enfield in late 2019 to help them test, design, and race their first ever Flat Track specific race bike, he headed to India to test their Slide School concept at the annual Rider Mania event in Goa. The event was a huge hit and eventually helped urge Royal Enfield to build on the concept of Slide School and launch it as a full fledged program. While Royal Enfield was working out the details of this, Johnny traveled to the UK to see and ride the concept race bike for the first time. After an initial breakdown, Johnny buckled down with the engineers of Royal Enfield to go over the what exactly he would need to not only go racing, but also be competitive.
As engine parts and chassis were being designed and produced, Johnny headed back to India in March to take part in a larger media event with journalists galore to officially launch Slide School. As the Slide School launch wrapped up, the Covid 19 Pandemic that has taken over 2020 begins to be more prominent and Johnny ends up stuck in India for a brief period of time. By the time Johnny was able to get back to the States, Royal Enfield had shipped over a concept chassis and stock engine to have their bike on display during Daytona. Naturally, everything was shipped in pieces and arrived the night before Daytona and by the time Johnny got everything assembled and ready to display throughout bike week, Daytona was canceled due to Covid 19.
With production no longer happening at Royal Enfield due to the pandemic, Johnny was left with a stock engine and no time frame on when a race engine would arrive. In order to get some real testing and development in, Johnny was able to get a 750 kit from S&S Cycles and drop into the concept bike so he could test and develop a race bike that at least developed over 60 horsepower. Johnny continued to test and provide feedback throughout the middle of 2020, but quickly found a ceiling on the current engine and chassis in the concept bike. He received an updated chassis in late May and finally received the first race engine from Royal Enfield in late July. The motor went to the dyno for the first time in August and more refinement and testing took place through the remainder of the month.
While there was still a ton of work to do, the concept bike was somewhat ready to race and while they were still receiving newly designed parts and new engines regularly from Royal Enfield, Johnny and his crew chose to go racing in Williamsburg, PA in mid September with the mindset of 'race development.' Just two days before the race, Johnny and his MotoAnatomy crew received the newly updated chassis and race motor at JFK International Airport...meaning they had less than two days to build the bike and get to the track! While it was all hands on deck, his crew got it done. Check out the below video on what their weekend was like racing the concept bike for the first time in Williamsburg!
Johnny and his team would continue to race and develop the bike for the next several rounds of the Flat Track series before making history for Royal Enfield. Johnny took the concept race bike to victory at the rescheduled Daytona Short Track Production Twins Main, giving Royal Enfield their first ever professional victory in racing ever! For a race season that was originally supposed to be a 'developmental' year that had also been derailed by Covid 19, saying what Johnny, his crew and Royal Enfield did is a huge accomplishment would be the understatement of 2020. Looking back at the 2020 race season, Johnny stated "This season was most likely the hardest thing I have ever done mentally, but if you know me, I love a challenge and I hardly ever give up if I know it's worth fighting for. Every step along the way was worth it and I would do it again."
Even in the middle of a full blown race season where Johnny is building, developing and testing a race bike from nothing, Johnny clearly felt that he wasn't busy enough busy enough. Continuing to work with Royal Enfield, Johnny was instrumental in launching the Slide School Program here in the States. With the first school taking place in August, Johnny has since hosted 12 sessions with over 110 total riders, with more than 60% of them being new to dirt entirely. Just another huge achievement for Johnny and MotoAnatomy in 2020.
While 2020 was a unique year with all sort of new challenges, it's clearly only the beginning for Johnny Lewis and MotoAnatomy. We are honored to have been a part of his incredible year and can't wait for what's to come!
Photo Credits - Royal Enfield
Written by Johnny Lewis and Jackson Halsmer