Bell, Norman Top Baja 500

Kit Palmer | June 5, 2006

The following is a release from SCORE –

The two factory Honda teams captured the top two overall motorcycle positions and Class 22 win at the 38th running of the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, June 3. Riding a Honda CRF450X, Robby Bell, Murrieta, Calif., and his teammate Kendall Norman, Santa Barbara, Calif., completed the course in 8:59:04, averaging 47.22mph.

Second overall and in Class 22 was the American Honda team of Steve Hengeveld, Oak Hills, Calif., and Mike Childress, Wrightwood, Calif., in 9:09:20, on a Honda XR650R.

In a remarkable and unprecedented finish in SCORE racing, Class 30 riders Brian Pinard and Ron Wilson tied for the class win and third overall among motorcycles in an identical time of 9:45:10. Pinard, Murrieta, Calif. and teammates Taber Murphy, Wenatchee, Wash., and Jonah Street, Ellensburg, Wash., rode a Honda XR650R, while Wilson, Encinitas, Calif. and teammate Scott Myers, Sun City, Calif., raced on a Honda CRF450X.

“It was a lot of fun out there, the start especially was really cool,” said Bell after he and Norman won their second straight SCORE race. “There were people everywhere, it was incredible. The course was tighter, so it wasn´t as dusty. Mike´s loop was fun, it´s getting rougher and rougher, but I enjoyed it. Kendall rode the pine forest section and the coast; he was on fire. He rode really well. He put a lot of time on Steve [Hengeveld], so I was able to take it easy coming into the finish. All I did was watch out for booby traps and livestock. The bike ran flawless. Honda and Precision Concepts built an amazing bike, it ran strong from start to finish.”

Jim O’Neal, Chatsworth, Calif., became the first rider to win two classes in two different years in the Tecate SCORE Baja 500, as he led separate teams to victory in both Class 40 (motorcycle riders over 40 years old) and Class 50 (motorcycle riders over 50 years old). With his double victories, both on Honda XR650R motorcycles, O’Neal now has eight class wins in this race in the last six years, the longest consecutive race streak of any racer in this event.

In Class 40, O’Neal’s teammates for this historic run were Craig Adams, Oceanside, Calif./Tom Willis, Las Vegas, and Eric Brown, Phoenix. Riding with the noted apparel manufacturer to earn the Class 50 win were Doug Heil, Monrovia, Calif./Mike Sixberry, Bullhead City, Ariz./Rick Gill, Carpenteria, Calif./Andy Kircker, Orange, Calif.

Kit Palmer | Off-Road Editor

Kit 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.