Honda’s Johnny Campbell scored the 19th overall win for the red riders with a victory in the 2008 Baja 1000.
Robby Bell, Kendall Norman and Johnny Campbell teamed up to ride the No. 1x Johnny Campbell Racing Honda CRF450R to the overall and Class 22 victory Friday night in the 41st Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race.
With the top 4-wheel vehicles expected to finish very late Friday night, and as racing continues through Saturday evening, Bell/Norman/Campbell rode hard and fast over a tight, technical, body-bruising 631.35-mile course to give American Honda a record 19th overall win in the granddaddy of all desert races. The trio tapped the rugged desert course, completing their victory march in 12 hours, 29 minutes and 10 seconds, averaging 50.56 miles per hour.
With Bell riding the start, Norman the second section, Bell back again for the third and Campbell the final sprint to the finish line, easily outdistancing the second of three JCR teams in the race–Caleb Gosselaar, Juniper Hills, Calif./Timmy Weigand, Santa Clarita, Calif./Quinn Cody, Buellton, Calif../Tim Morton, Escondido, Calif., who finished in 12:55:35 on their Honda CRF450X, 26 minutes and 25 seconds behind their championship teammates.
While Bell, Sun City, Calif., won his second overall title in the SCORE Baja 1000 and Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif., his third, Campbell, San Clemente, Calif. added to his SCORE Baja Racing legacy by winning a race-record 11th overall motorcycle title. With the win, he broke the 10-10 tie he had with Larry Roeseler, Irvine, Calif., who currently is leading the SCORE Trophy-Truck and overall 4-Wheel vehicles race after the first 491.03 miles.
Roeseler, who is going for his race-record 13th overall race win in this event (he has also won two 4-wheel titles), is sharing the driving duties in the No. 8 Ford F-150 with team owner Roger Norman, of Reno, Nev. Three-quarters of the way through the race they are leading Las Vegas’ B.J. Baldwin, who is driving solo in the No. 97 Chevy Silverado, by just 4 minutes, 30 seconds.
Enthusiastic crowds estimated at nearly 300,000 stretched out along the race route. Roeseler has captured the last four unlimited Class 1 titles in the SCORE Baja 1000 in addition to his overall SCORE Baja 1000 titles.
NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner/driver and three-time SCORE Baja 1000 winner Robby Gordon had a tough start to his 2008 SCORE Baja 1000 run when his Chevy Silverado flipped at mile eight, just outside Ensenada. Gordon’s crew was able to repair the truck, but the Charlotte, N.C. driver was well off Roeseler’s leading pace.
With 347 starters competing to compete in 28 Pro and 7 Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs, the granddaddy of all desert races, the event is the finale of the five-race 2008 SCORE Desert Series. The starting field, coming from 39 U.S. States and 24 countries, was a record for a “loop” race in the SCORE Baja 1000, bettering the 1977 mark of 346.
The course will remain open until 7:21 p.m. on Saturday as nearly 150 racers are excepted to finish within the 31-hour time limit in the elapsed-time race. The finish line is located on Boulevard Costero in front of the Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in the heart of Ensenada.
Since 1967, the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 has been run over the mysterious Baja California peninsula. Because of the economics and logistics involved, some years it is a peninsula run while most years it is a loop race, starting and finishing in Ensenada. This is the 34th year it has started and the 19th year it has finished in Ensenada.