Baja 1000 Preview

Kit Palmer | October 26, 2001

Honda’s off-road champion Johnny Campbell is close to becoming the first off-road racer to win five consecutive Baja 1000 titles in a row. The mild-mannered San Clemente, California, native is currently tied with Larry Roeseler with four wins back-to-back, and his sights are set on capturing this year’s 2001 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 off-road race.

“I’m trying not to think about it,” Campbell said. “The pressure is there, but I’m treating this race just like I would any other. My teammate and I are preparing for a great race, and that is all we can ask for.”

Campbell’s teammate is three-time Baja 1000 winner Tim Staab. Staab is also excited about this year’s Baja 1000 course layout and feels that this race suits his style well.

“It’s great,” Staab said. “This year’s course will be rougher and more technical then we’ve seen in a while. Both seem to suit my riding style fine. I’m looking forward to the desert whoops in San Felipe, and I also will be ready for the tight, twisty sections of Mike’s Sky Ranch.”

To compensate for the increase in race-course intensity, the Honda XR650R that Campbell and Stabb will ride has been modified to handle the rigors of the new race-course layout.

“We are giving the XR650R more horsepower,” Campbell said. “We will also fit the bike with ‘works-type’ Showa suspension to better handle the rougher sections.”

Campbell isn’t the only one planning on smashing records. American Honda is currently tied with Husqvarna for the most manufacturer’s wins in the Baja 1000. If Honda wins this year’s event, it will become the first manufacturer to win 12 Baja 1000 championships.

Honda Baja Championships

1. 1968 Larry Berquist/Gary Preston

2. 1975 Al Baker/Gene Cannady

3. 1982 Al Baker/Jack Johnson

4. 1984 Chuck Miller/Randy Morales

5. 1985 Randy Morales/Derrick Paiement

6. 1986 Bruce Ogilvie/Chuck Miller

7. 1987 Dan Ashcraft/Bruce Ogilvie

8. 1997 Johnny Campbell/Tim Staab

9. 1998 Johnny Campbell/Jimmy Lewis

10. 1999 Johnny Campbell/Tim Staab

11. 2000 Johnny Campbell/Tim Staab/Craig Smith/Steve Hengeveld

Kit Palmer | Off-Road EditorKit Palmer started his career at Cycle News in 1984 and he’s been testing dirt and streetbikes every since – plus covering any event that uses some form of a knobby tire. He’s also our resident motorcycle mileage man with a commute of 120 miles a day.