INDIAN TRAIL — On Friday, June 25, Darion Johnson will perform a death defying feat where he will attempt to do the world’s first body flip on a full-sized performance bike.
How does one dare-devil practice for a stunt that would set a new record?
Johnson has been a motocross athlete most of his life. He practices stunts he has completed in the past. This will help him attempt the big stunt on Friday.
Johnson said in motocross, it’s all about muscle memory to prevent overthinking about what movement comes next. “Practice and preparation with other stunts — you might not be able to practice this big stunt but other things have given you preparation and muscle memory to be able to tackle that.”
“You have to have faith in yourself from the other things you’ve done and leading up to that so it’s not too much thinking,” Johnson explained.
He will be riding a state of the art performance bike which is valued at $10,000 — a 2022 Honda CRF 450 R. The bike came from Iron Horse Motorcycles in Monroe. Maintenance on that bike specifically can be as much as $2,000. The gear alone is $1,000. In the context of high-end racing, the engine is changed out after every practice.
A lot of risk assessment has been done in preparation for the stunt. Johnson said he’s not worried about injuring the performance bike or himself.
Johnson will be wearing protective gear with the exception of a neck brace. Usually, he would wear a brace when competing; however, he needs full mobility of his neck in order to circle his body around the bike.
“The stunt that I am performing — I actually have to let go of the back of the motorcycle and throw myself in a 360 degree rotation and then grab the motorcycle again and get back on it, but in order for me to see where I’m grabbing the motorcycle at my neck has to get to where it can twist as much as possible,” Johnson said.
Being a spiritual person, Johnson said he feels at peace about the stunt and how it could turn out. “Even in the midst of craziness there’s this sense of calmness that I don’t think I would have if I wasn’t tapped in spiritually,” he said. “I feel like as long as I keep in touch with that everything is going to go according to plan…”
More motocross schools are being built so athletes can practice, but Johnson said there’s no real “textbook” for the sport and it’s mostly about relying on intuition and personal style. There are professional motocross athletes who are able to give lessons, but they are also competing.
Motocross sports taught Johnson two life lessons — to face his fears and chase after his dreams.
“I grew up racing but something about just trying kind of death defying stunts — that’s how life is... You wake up not being able to do something and then go to sleep being able to do something that is the essence of life to me. It inspired me to really perform a world’s-first stunt,” Johnson said.
For most of his life, Johnson competed in motocross sports. The adrenaline rush he feels when racing is what drives his motivation to race.
“I think the thing that keeps me going back to motocross is different from a lot of things because anytime that there is a sport built off of doing something you’re not necessarily supposed to — to me that’s amazing. That’s the evolution of human athleticism,” Johnson said.
As a young child, Johnson watched motocross sports on television and said he “just got hooked” from an early age. It was the first sport he watched on television.
“When I grew up, my dad didn’t put a ball in front of me. He put a motorcycle in front of me and it just took off from there,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s mom has been supportive of her son’s interest in a high-risk sport, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t worry about his safety. She had to learn to trust her son’s confidence in his abilities. Today, she is one of his biggest fans.
“… Over time, I think she started seeing that if I had confidence in what it was I was doing then it was going to turn out fine,” Johnson said.
There will be a private event the day of the stunt and it will be broadcasted for people to watch from home.
Johnson has an entertainment company called DTE, which stands for Dream Try Evolve. The company is filming a show called “Dream Team” that follows a small group of people who host extravagant events, he explained.
The first spectacle on the show will be Johnson’s stunt. The event is estimated to draw in between 500 to 700 attendees. In addition to the stunt, there will be artists showcasing their work.