Premium Fuel Magazine met Jonathan Landwer earlier this year, practicing at a Roebling Rd Track Day where he was definitely one of the dominant riders on the track. Jonathan’s story starts out not unlike many of us who ride, or others that we ride with. He was the speed deamon on the streets with a sport bike that was way too fast. There was trouble along the way, but Jonathan was fortunate enough not to have the same tragic fate many others have met doing the same activities. Jonathan had a wake up call, but instead of walking away from the bike scene and closing that chapter forever, he took it and spun it 180 degrees and turned his experience into something positive. Today Jonathan has created a unique Christian ministry where he has the opportunity to mentor other riders both on the track and through the Bible.
PFM: What was your first bike?
J.L: My first bike was a Honda QA50. I rode that little trail bike through the corn fields and forest preserves of Palatine, Illinois NW of Chicago in the early 80’s.
PFM: How old were you?
J.L: 10, 11, and 12
PFM: How did you get into racing?
J.L: I started riding hard in the North Georgia Mountains, up to North Carolina and back in a day. After 3-4 years of speeding on public roadways, and numerous infractions, I outgrew the street and began doing track days. After a year of track days, many Control Riders and Instructors encouraged me to begin taking it to the next level. I began to record lap times and frequent many tracks around the SE. I found myself at an intersection of CCS and WERA, club level Amateur Racing…a rookie.
PFM: How did you get the idea to turn racing into a ministry?
J.L: I took a decade or so off of riding motorcycles. Although I had a basic skill of riding dirt and street bikes, in 2007 my next bike was a Hayabusa. This rocket was my first fuel injected sport bike. I got myself into more than a handful of wrecks and speeding tickets, including a couple suspensions of my GADL (Georgia Drivers License). I got so frustrated with myself one day I prayed to God for forgiveness, and gave the Hayabusa up. Man this was my dream bike, but I couldn’t control myself on it. I finally got to a place where I gave it to God and told Him I didn’t even want the bike anymore. Over the next few months I met The Knee Benders, a Christian Motorcyclists Association Fast Lane (primarily Sport bikes) chapter. These guys actually cared enough about me to help me not only learn how to ride safely in the North Georgia Mountains, but they opened up the Bible to show me how to find guidance and instruction which helped me to gain a better understanding of who I was in the eyes of God. I started as a Lead Rider in the Knee Benders and am currently serving as the President for over two years now. CMA and the Knee Benders has a lot to do with saving souls on the highways and byways. I see that opportunity at the Racetrack and have begun the process of incorporating a Non-Profit business entitled, Racing For The Son, with the purpose of sharing the love of Jesus Christ at the racetracks.
PFM: What is “Racing for the Son”?
J.L: The Purposes of this Organization are to lead potential motorcycle racers into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, by helping to guide and sponsor by introducing them to race tracks, encouraging and coaching their spor tbike racing career using Biblical principles. To provide people an alternative to racing motorcycles on the public roadways. And to take the word of God from the Bible to the Racing community, by providing a devotional church service on the Sunday’s of race weekend, fellowship opportunities, and providing helpful services during racing events. This allows us to reach a large group of people that do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
I used to be the guy who saw a man professing the love of Christ, and make fun of him. So I can relate to those who may read this think the same. As much as I don’t want to come across as a Bible-thumper or holy-roller, the truth is everyone needs a Savior. Some try to fill the void with money, women, or motorcycles. The truth is, nothing can fill that void except a relationship with Jesus…nothing.
PFM: How many riders are a part of Racing For The Son?
J.L: Right now there’s just me brother, ha ha, I do have support of all my CMA (Christian Motorcyclists Association) family. So at local events we get the Knee Benders and family out and have had as many as 20+ come out at a single track day. This Racing For The Son Ministry is in it’s infancy stage, so I’m trusting God that He will provide the ministry team when the time is right.
PFM: How many events (races, track days, and other) do you participate in a year, how far do you travel?
J.L: Last year I raced over 30 sprint races and finished with 11 Podiums in the SE Regional Amateur Division with Championship Cup Series. I went to at least 25 additional Track days with NESBA, STT, X-ACT. Virginia International Raceway to Carolina Motorsports Park to Palm Beach International. I went to Gingerman (MI) and Blackhawk Farms (IL) with my race bike in the truck October of 2012, but a crazy cold front came in and left me watching riders crash due to cold tires. But this gave me time to build relationships. This year I plan to get to a few I haven’t been to like NOLA and Homestead.
PFM: As president of knee benders, and founder of Racing for the Son, where would you like to see these organizations go in the future?
J.L. I’d personally like to see those involved whether serving or being served, growing their relationship with God, showing them the way..just as the Knee Benders did for me when I needed direction. The bottom line to me is ultimately saving the lost, the motorcycles are just an exciting component that keeps the attention of the newcomer.
Be sure to like his Facebook Page
And for information about the Christian Motorcyclists Association and The Knee Benders CLICK HERE
Photographs provided by Jonathan Landwer from various sources.