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Snowmobile rider Johan Forsberg – The Swedish sledneck

Welcome to the world of backcountry snowmobiling, where thrill-seeking riders attempt to defy the laws of gravity by performing audacious jumps and stunts. As the world’s leading ignition and sensor specialist, NGK SPARK PLUG is passionate about its broad range of coverage for vehicles of all shapes and sizes, which naturally includes snowmobiling. With the winter sports season well under way, let’s take a look at one of the sport’s brightest talents.

Meet Johan Forsberg, the 37-year-old snowmobile rider for the FXR Backcountry Team and NGK SPARK PLUG brand ambassador. Born and raised in Kalix, a small town in northern Sweden, Johan has been involved in winter sports as far back as he can remember. At 15, he got his very first snowmobile. “It was an old Yamaha 440. At the beginning, I used it mainly as transportation to the local ski slope,” he informs.

Slednecks

His view on snowmobiling all changed, however, upon viewing ‘Slednecks 1’, a 1998 film by Jason Moriarty featuring death-defying snowmobile stunts performed to a soundtrack of rock music. Just like the position many of the snowmobiles in the movie ended up in, Johan’s world was turned upside. “Slednecks 1 changed the way I looked at snowmobiles,” he confirms.

Considering the extreme nature of some of the stunts carried out in the movie, it, as one would expect, starts off with a ‘don’t try this at home’-type disclaimer. For Johan and his friends, however, this warning fell on deaf ears as they set about “replicating the jumps and stunts” they had watched! Thus, began a passion for snowmobiling that has stayed with him to this day. “The feeling of freedom that you get when you are far out in the backcountry exploring new areas is unsurpassed.”

The eldest of three siblings from a sports-obsessed family, Johan has played a wide variety of different sports which include soccer, floorball, motocross (MX), snowboarding and skateboarding. “Unfortunately, I had to choose between ball sports and extreme sports four years ago because I couldn’t find the time to do both,” he tells. “Now, I get to ride my snowmobile around 100 days a year, from mid-November till the end of June and I ride MX as part of my off-season training because it helps me to keep the bar feeling.”

Concentrating fully on snowmobiling has allowed Johan to reach the upper echelons on the sport. “I have been to the USA and Canada multiple times and have been out riding with some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Levi Lavallee and Chris Brown. The highlight, however, was getting the chance to sled and hangout with my childhood hero and star of the Sledneck movies, Chris Burandt,” he enthuses.

The evolution of snowmobiling

Involved in the sport for more than two decades, Johan has witnessed the technology continuously progress and is very impressed with the most modern types of snowmobiles. “The snowmobiles available today are at the forefront of technology and are really good straight out of the box. When I started riding, the snowmobiles were low and wide and made for fast runs on a lake or a trail. Nowadays, they are high and narrow and made for untracked deep snow,” he tells.

Be it snowmobiling, MX or regular on the road driving, Johan is passionate about attaining the optimum performance from his vehicle. This is why he relies on NGK SPARK PLUG. “I use NGK spark plugs on all my motorised vehicles because they, simply, are the best plugs in the business and one of the key components that you can’t be without,” he says.

Although Sweden didn’t undergo any lockdown like many of its European neighbours did, the coronavirus has still managed to majorly interrupt Johan’s plans over the past year. “It’s been harder to do preseason training due to the pandemic. I was also planning to travel to Canada in April to do a photoshoot for FXR but that unfortunately got cancelled as well.”

Johan, like many others, is hoping that 2021 will see the world return to some semblance of normalcy, allowing him to be able to travel abroad again, as well as to train uninterrupted. He also hopes that his snow-related activities make a mark at home. “Aside from being able to ride snowmobiles as long as I can and work out in order to remain in good shape, I will also try to pass on my passion to my daughter Alice,” he tells.

“At NGK SPARK PLUG, we are delighted to be collaborating with a snowmobiler like Johan Forsberg,” says Nicole Rößler, Head of Regional Communications & Aftermarket MarCom EMEA at NGK SPARK PLUG EUROPE GmbH. “We are passionate about developing the optimum ignition technology to fit the needs of every fuel powered engine, which is why snowmobiling, with its extreme conditions, plays such a vital role for us. With his enduring passion for snowmobiling and MX, Johan is an obvious fit for a company like ours.”

NGK SPARK PLUG wishes Johan Forsberg continuing success in his career.

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