Widely known under the ‘Ajay’ sobriquet, Johnson won 16 major titles during a decorated road racing career, a majority of that time spent with Team Honda alongside Tasmanian Malcolm Campbell.
Johnson, the father of 2002 Australian Supersport champion Shannon, was also a teammate of arch-rival Rob Phillis at Milledge Yamaha in 1979 when they campaigned TZ grand prix machines.
Some of the Superbike and production racing battles between Johnson, Campbell and the Suzuki-mounted Phillis in the early 1980s were fierce — both on and off the track. In particular, Ajay was a juggernaut around Bathurst, seemingly devoid of fear and with an insatiable will to win.
Ajay was cut from a different cloth than most. When he attended Phillis’ wedding in 1983, the gift to his newly married nemesis was a few sticks of gelignite! Guess those weren’t on the gift registry at Myer…
Johnson also won the 1980 Castrol 6 Hour alongside Wayne Gardner.
After he retired from road racing, Ajay managed Honda’s all-conquering junior motocross team for 15 years before calling it a day at the end of the 2008 season.
More recently, there were reports that Ajay was planning a comeback in the historic racing ranks, where he would have been reunited with Phillis and Campbell.
Alas, it didn’t happen, and he’s now departed, but certainly not forgotten. A true legend. RIP Ajay. “