The most successful Baja 1000 motorcycle racer in history is pulling out of competition.
This week, Johnny Campbell announced his team, Johnny Campbell Racing, is pulling out of Baja competition. Campbell was an 11-time Baja 1000 winner as a rider, and his team won the championship another six times with him managing.
Competition was getting tougher and tougher the last few years, though, and Kurt Caselli (KTM) looked like he might beat them in the 2013 Baja 1000, before he crashed and died. There’s little left for Campbell and Co. to prove, and they’re racing a bike built around eight-year old technology. It’s said the team has been on a shoestring budget for years, too.
“With so much success over the past two decades of Baja motorcycle racing, the time has come for us to search out new opportunities and a new set of goals,” Campbell said in a press release.
There’s some talk that this is a sign of things to come for the Baja 1000; after a change in ownership, some motorcycle racers are supposedly unhappy at changes made that seem to benefit trophy trucks, while hurting motorcycle competition. If so, that would be ironic; the motorcycle class has been key to the Baja race since its inception, and the race’s best PR came from Mouse McCoy’s heroics aboard a Honda XR650 in the classic racing film Dust to Glory. In fact, we’ll leave you with a video clip from that movie, featuring one of the film’s best moments, with Johnny Campbell chasing former teammate Andy Grider.