Drew Kelly Obituary, Death – On the final turn of her final lap at Portland International Raceway on Sunday, a 24-year-old professional motorcycle racer tragically died. Kelly Johnson, a Sauvie Island resident and previous champion with a lap record at PIR, died instantaneously after crashing with a wall at roughly 3 p.m., according to Chris Page, president of the Oregon Motorcycle Road Racing Association.
Page described her as a “well-known personality in the race pits” with a “can-do” attitude. Her personality was contagious. Among her many talents, she has also performed the national anthem at athletic events. She’d sing the national anthem before racing, then dash to her pit and motorcycle.
Johnson raced in the Ultra Lightweight Superbike class on Sunday, wearing the number 303, according to the official website of the racing organization that staged the weekend’s events. The nearly 2-mile circuit spans 268 acres of Portland land, according to the raceway’s official website. Johnson set a new lap record for the Ultra Lightweight Superbike in July, according to the website, with a time of 1 minute and 21 seconds.
She competed in approximately twenty-five races on Saturday and Sunday. According to an online race recap, “Johnson ripped out an impressive timed lap of 01:22.559.” At Portland International Raceway, her average lap time was 01:24.128, a substantial increase over her previous career average of 01:27.550. She finished second in the Clubman Season Championship and first in the Ninja 250 Cup that year, according to the organization’s website.
Page stated that the track was dry throughout her race and that she took all precautions. He claimed that a nearby ambulance came to her side in a matter of seconds but was unable to save her life. Several racers who were close to her at the time of the incident, according to Page, stated that they had not collided with her.
He indicated that cars routinely travel at speeds ranging from 70 to 80 miles per hour around the turn where she crashed. Organizers canceled the rest of Sunday’s races, according to Page. He claims that the last fatality at a group meeting occurred over 26 years ago. Since the club began hosting races at PIR in the early 1970s, he had not heard of any other fatalities involving members of the group.