Johnny Campbell and Kendall Norman pushed to the front early and maintained a slight cushion to the finish to win the TSCO Vegas to Reno, round four of Best in the Desert’s Silver State Series, August 24. Their time for the 559 miles between Jonnie and Dayton, Nevada, was nine hours, 24 minutes and two seconds.
In doing so, they led an American Honda 1-2, as Robbie Bell and Steve Hengeveld came back from a crash to chase down Red Bull KTM’s Quinn Cody and David Pearson in the final miles, finishing third physically but second on corrected time by almost a minute, 9:29:15 to 9:30:12.
“KTM and Steve’s team, they put the pressure on all day,” Campbell said. “We had to keep moving, but I’ve won this race by a margin 31 seconds before [and] a margin of 41 seconds before.” In other words, a couple minutes in hand felt quite comfortable, relatively speaking, for the winning team.
This marked the fourth overall Vegas to Reno victory for Campbell and the first for Norman, who rode a Precision Concepts/Dunlop/Honda Pro Oils CRF450X.
Cody and Pearson gave the BlaisRacingServices.com/Sidi/KTM Hard Equipment 690 Baja works bike its U.S. race debut with a few new parts and refinement since its Baja 500 world introduction two months ago. They managed to stay within a couple minutes physically of the leaders all day, while keeping Bell and Hengeveld at bay. It made for an exciting day in the Open Pro and overall competition.
Even more exciting was the next three to come across the line. Anthony Modica and Jason Trubey were fourth physically, followed by the Matt Eddy/Max Eddy Jr. team and Luke Dodson/Zach Dodson duo. After calculating their different start times, though, the Dodson brothers earned the class win and fourth overall bike on their Sunquest/FMF/Six Six One CRF450X, followed by the Eddys and Modica/Trubey.
The race was marred by the death of Brandon Smith, 19, of Hesperia, California. Despite fellow racer Gene Lane’s administration of CPR, Smith succumbed to his crash-related injuries.