Honda XR650-mounted Steve Hengeveld and Johnny Campbell raced in conditions that ranged from fog and 50-degree temperatures on the Baja coast to scorching sun and heat near the century mark inland to win the 35th Tecate SCORE Baja 500, May 31. The team also took overall honors, finishing the race in 9:33:48 with a speed average of 47.36 mph. Testament to the ruggedness of the course, both the overall four-wheel and motorcycle tandems normally average over 60 mph.
Former motorcycle Baja winner Larry Roeseler teamed with Troy Herbst to be the first four-wheel vehicle to cross the finish line, finishing approximately 20 minutes behind Hengeveld and Campbell.
In winning, Campbell earned his fourth overall crown and Hengeveld became the first rider to capture four consecutive overall motorcycle championships. With five career class wins, Hengeveld, who won in 1999 and 2000 with Jonah Street before winning the last two years with Campbell, was tied at three straight overall motorcycle wins with Roeseler (1975, 1976 and 1977) and Paul Krause (1994, 1995, 1996).
A surprising second overall in the motorcycle race was the Class 30 (for riders over 30 years old) winning team of Ricardo Malo and Greg Bringle.
Picking up their fourth straight class wins in the race on Honda XR650R motorcycles were Richard Jackson and Jim O’Neal. Jackson won Class 50 for riders over 50 years old, tying Roeseler for the most class wins on a motorcycle with 11.
O’Neal’s win in Class 40 (for riders over 40) was bittersweet, as he sustained a serious injury while pre-running Tuesday for the second straight year. Breaking his right collarbone in addition to other internal injuries, O’Neal, the 56-year-old noted apparel manufacturer from Chatsworth, California, started the race and rode only a few feet before turning his bike over to one of his three co-riders. SCORE rules require that to receive points for a race, the driver/rider of record must either start or finish the race.
CLASS 21 (126cc to 250cc): 1. Joe Desrosiers, San Marcos, Calif./Ray Sult, Encinitas, Calif., Yamaha YZ250, 11:03:34 (40.95mph); 2. Eddie Zeller, Coronado, Calif./Mike Martin, Garden Grove, Calif., Yamaha YZ250, 11:14:30; 3. Rick Moniot, Santa Barbara, Calif./Mike McCarthy, Los Angeles, Calif., Yamaha WR250, 11:45:22 (3 Starters, 3 Finishers).
CLASS 22 (250cc or more): 1. Steve Hengeveld, Oak Hills, Calif./Johnny Campbell, San Clemente, Calif., Honda XR650R, 9:33:48 (47.36mph, FIRST OVERALL MOTORCYCLE); 2. Chris Blais, Stanton, Calif./Chuck Dempsey, Van Nuys, Calif./Beau Hayden, Calif., Honda XR650R, 9:58:58 (THIRD OVERALL MOTORCYCLE); 3. Philip Zeiger/Fred Willert, San Diego, Honda XR650R, 10:04:06 (FOURTH OVERALL MOTORCYCLE); 4. Syd Schneider, Fallbrook, Calif./Gustavo Uribe, Tijuana, Mexico, Honda XR650R, 11:42:22; 5. Jose Meza, Fresno, Calif./David Torres, Tijuana, Mexico, Honda XR650R, 12:50:31; 6. Gerardo Miramontes/Adir Miramontes, San Ysidro, Calif., Suzuki DRZ400, 13:50:44; 7. Dustin Dziver/Erik Floen, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, KTM 525EXC, 13:57:18 (9 Starters, 7 Finishers).
CLASS 30 (Riders over 30 years old): 1. Ricardo Malo, Mexicali, Mexico/Greg Bringle, Holtville, Calif., Honda XR650R, 9:58:29 (45.41mph, SECOND OVERALL MOTORCYCLE); 2. Sergio Vega, Ensenada, Mexico/Gerardo Rojas, Vicente Guerrero, Mexico, Honda XR650R, 10:15:04 (FIFTH OVERALL MOTORCYCLE); 3. Jim Ferguson, San Francisco/Todd Johnson, Chandler, Ariz., Honda XR650R, 10:36:29; 4. Shaun Hanson, Murrieta, Calif./Brad Yeckley, Yucca Valley, Calif., Honda XR650R, 12:02:58; 5. Roberto Zapata, National City, Calif./Oscar Garcia, San Diego, 12:15:04; 6. Joshua Lynn/Stuart Gildred, Santa Barbara, Calif., Honda XR650R, 12:26:30; 7. Jose Espinoza,Tijuana, Mexico/Norman Assali, Chula Vista, Calif., Honda XR650R, 14:26:33 (7 Starters, 7 Finishers).
CLASS 40 (Riders over 40 years old): 1. Jim O’Neal, Chatsworth, Calif./Tim Withers, Pepeekeo, Hawaii/Jeff Kaplan, Thousand Oaks, Calif./Jon Ortner, Honda XR650R, 10:36:45 (42.68mph); 2. Sam Dempsey/Gene Dempsey, Lake Balboa, Calif., Honda XR650R, 11:11:18; 3. Dave Simpson, Redlands, Calif./Dan Closson, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha WR426F. 12:12:59; 4. Leonel Vallejo/Gilberto Gallardo, Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, KTM 525EXC, 12:24:38; 5. Jack Burger/Gaylon Nuester, Solana Beach, Calif., Honda XR650R, 13:14:28 (6 Starters, 5 Finishers).
CLASS 50 (Riders over 50 years old): 1. Richard Jackson, Acton, Calif./Bob Wadlow, Arcadia, Calif., Honda XR650R, 11:48:53 (38.34mph); 2. Eizaburo Karasawa/Susumu Ishii, Japan, Honda CRF450R, 11:57:39 (2 Starters, 2 Finishers).
OVERALL SPT MOTORCYCLE: 1. John Kuhlken, San Diego/James Bartnick, Carlsbad, Calif./Mike Boyd, Fallbrook, Calif./Tim Filer, Carlsbad, Calif., Honda XR650R, 11:06:28 (40.78mph) (21 Starters, 13 Finishers).