A Few Questions With John Wood: Driver/Owner of Team Johnny Killmore

Q: Where did the name “Johnny Killmore come from?

A: “Johnny Killmore is a nickname I accidentally applied to myself. I was playing a video game at age 15 and kept dying. I had to come up with a new name and eventually ran out of ways to spell my name and just put “Johnny Killmore” because, well, this character was going to get killed to. He lived on and got high score. When friends saw it later, they started using it to describe my alter-ego. I am sometimes very quiet and sometimes I’m extremely wild, so it just made sense. Hey, we were all 15 years old; don’t try to make sense of it.”

Q: How did you find out about sidecar racing?

A: “I was in the Marines moonlighting at a motorcycle shop when the Isle of Man DVD (probably VHS back then) came on and I was completely blown away by the sidecars. I wanted to do it, but I never would have guessed they did it in the US. Once I ran into the SRA-West [Sidecar Racers Association- West] folks I knew I had to try it, and it snowballed from there.”

Q: Speaking of the SRA-West, tell us more about your involvement..

A: “Well I was just a racer for the first few years but at the time people wanted to race at more venues… more tracks. I thought someone should do something about it, then I realized. ‘hey, I’m someone,’ and I started contacting other clubs. Now I’m the Vice-President of the SRA-West. It’s a pain in the ass really; I handle a lot of the scheduling and communications with host clubs, and I answer a lot of questions from fellow racers. Fortunately the mundane stuff and paperwork is usually handled by the president. I just wanna race, but the sport isn’t going to go anywhere if people aren’t working to preserve it. I’d like to see it back to it’s 1970‘s heyday when we were invited to the national level races.”

Q: It sounds like a lot of work.

A: “Oh no doubt. I’m already the mechanic, detailer, marketing, manager, driver of the team van to and from events… I mean, I never thought I’d be taking social media marketing classes to try and be a better racer.”

Q: What makes you keep doing it then?

A: “I don’t really know anymore. I’ve had the biggest case of burn out for like two years now. I hate all the hours of work it takes just to haul ass for 15 minutes on some race track in the middle of nowhere. I suppose it’s mainly Gina. She has the bug. She wants to get better and push us to new heights… it’s what I was like a few years ago. Seeing her passion just gives me fuel. Besides, compared to other forms of racing, I really dig sidecars. There is no rulebook. You can’t take a class or read a book or even ask the other fast teams; their set up is differrent than yours. Plus, having the passenger. I mean, you have to seriously work together and, damnit, I can remember going 120mph through a turn with the thing in a huge slide, and I was watching butterflies in the outfield floating on the breeze. It’s like total zen, slow-motion craziness. I don’t get that anywhere else. My brain is going a million miles an hour and it makes me screw things up and lose concentration all the time, but when I’m on the bike that’s the speed your brain needs to work at, so I’m relaxed. It’s comforting.

Q: It sounds like a blast. Good luck to you on the rest of the season.

A: “Thanks”

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