Johnny Campbell will be one of three riders heading Honda’s assault on the South American Dakar Rally after two potential teammates were eliminated by injury.
The ten-time Baja 1000 winner had previously been announced as part of the five-rider team, along with Portuguese Helder Rodrigues, Argentine Javier Pizzolito, Brazilian Felipe Zanol, and Brit Sam Sunderland. But both Zanol and Sunder were injured in pre-Dakar testing in the Mojave Desert earlier this month, putting them out of the Team HRC assault on the January Dakar Rally. The three-rider team will now consist of Campbell, Rodrigues, and Pizzolito.
The January race is Honda’s first serious assault on the Dakar Rally for Honda’s CRF450 Rally, which was unveiled at the Cologne Show earlier this year. Challenging the supremacy of KTM is a tall order, with the Austrian factory victorious in the previous 11 races. The last of Honda’s five victories in the Paris-Dakar Rally, the precursor to the Dakar Rally, came in 1989.