Johnson first came to the attention of many in 2004 when, as a raw novice, he dominated club racing in the UK and finished a remarkable 2nd in that season’s highly competitive 600cc MRO National Championship. He immediately progressed to the British Supersport Championship in 2005, regularly finishing inside the top 15, and with no DNFs he deservedly won the British Supersport Cup.
A terrible back injury sustained in pre-season testing ruined his 2006 season but he bounced back in style in 2007, moving to the British Superstock series and also making his debut on the roads. He immediately impressed with a brilliant tenth place at the North West 200 and followed this up with some stunning rides at the TT. Indeed, he was nothing short of a revelation as he ended race week with three top 20 finishes, 12th in the Superstock race the highlight, and a lap of just under 123mph, the third fastest newcomer of all time. After his TT success, Gary then went to the Ulster Grand Prix where he again made the established guard sit up and take note with a fastest lap in excess of 126mph, the second quickest lap ever recorded by a debutante.
It came as no surprise when he was snapped up by the Uel Duncan Racing team for 2008 and Gary indicated the shape of things to come with three top six finishes on his Cookstown 100 road race debut. He headed to the North West 200 in confident mood and sixth in the two Superbike races were the undoubted highlights but with top eight finishes in his other three races, he defeated not only a number of ‘factory’ riders but also riders who had vastly more experience of the high speed circuit.