Honda Celebrates 30-Year Partnership with Johnny Campbell

 Honda Celebrates 30-Year Partnership with Johnny Campbell
  • Off-road legend is known for winning Baja 1000 11 times
  • Campbell continues to work with Honda as a team owner, coordinator and more

In a special event held yesterday east of San Diego, American Honda celebrated its 30th year working with Johnny Campbell. 

Off-road media and personalities gathered at the beautiful Chocolate Mountain Ranch to socialize with Campbell. Check out several of his old race bikes, enjoy a taco lunch and ride 2023 models Campbell helped develop, including the CRF450X, CRF450RX and CRF250RX. 

1997 XR600R

As a token of their appreciation. Honda presented Campbell with the 1997 XR600R that he rode to his first win in the SCORE International Off-Road Racing series.

After racing Hondas as a privateer for several years, Campbell originally joined Honda in 1992 as an off-road racer aboard the XR600R. His first big win was the 1995 Nevada Rally, but he would become best known for his success racing in SCORE. 

He won the Baja 500 in 1997 as a teammate to Bruce Ogilvie (a Honda manager who would become Campbell’s mentor). And then topped the Baja 1000 with teammates Tim Staab and Greg Bringle the same year. He collected a record total of 11 wins in the Baja 1000 and five in the Baja 500. He also competed in the 2001 Dakar Rally, finishing eighth and first privateer.

Honda Celebrates 30 Year Partnership with Campbell cover

Offroad machines 

In addition to his racing, Campbell has supported Honda in several other ways. In 1994, Ogilvie brought him in-house to build Honda’s off-road race machines. Initially based on the XR600R, the XR650R and ultimately, the CRF450X. 

Along the way, Campbell assumed more responsibilities, including forming his team (Johnny Campbell Racing) and taking over Honda’s SCORE effort in 2008. With the blessing of Ogilvie (who would pass away the following year). 

JCR transitioned from SCORE to the GNCC series in 2014 and continues to compete in the American Motorcyclist Association’s NGPC and NHHA series. Campbell also serves as Off-Road Coordinator for American Honda, working with the SLR Honda and Phoenix Racing Honda squads.

Campbell has also been heavily involved in research and development for Honda over the years, including production bikes like those listed above and factory machinery like the CRF450 RALLY. Which Ricky Brabec and Kevin Benavides rode to Dakar Rally wins in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Honda Celebrates 30 Year Partnership with Campbell cover

Campbell

“This whole event was incredible,” Campbell said. “I’m very thankful for my relationship with American Honda. It means a lot to be recognized for three decades of hard work, racing, overcoming obstacles, giving input for a new product, and helping with rider development.

I cherish all my relationships with the folks at American Honda, and I’m touched, honoured and emotional. It’s been a fantastic career so far. But this isn’t a retirement party; there’s still plenty of work to be done, and I look forward to this partnership continuing for a long time!”

Contributions

“On behalf of American Honda, thank you to Johnny for the invaluable support over the past 30 years,” said Brandon Wilson, Manager of Sports & Experiential at American Honda. “As a racer, Johnny is synonymous with Honda’s off-road success, deservedly so. However, his contributions have extended far beyond that, to the point that his fingerprints are still all over the bikes our customers enjoy riding off-road today.”

via Hondanews and Rideapart

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