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SLR Honda wins Baja 1000

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SLR Honda has done it again. The California-based offroad racing team took its third straight Baja 1000 victory over last weekend, winning the overall motorcycle category.

This year’s race was 898.4 miles, starting and ending in Ensenada. Riders Mark Samuels, Justin Morgan and Justin Jones completed the course in 20 hours, 50 minutes, 30 seconds.

Not only was this SLR Honda’s third straight win at the Baja 1000, it was the team’s 10th straight Baja win when you add in the other, shorter races (Baja 250, Baja 500). It’s an incredible record; lots can go wrong on the Mexican desert race, and it would only take one mishap to end the string of victories.

SLR Honda does have the advantage of building on decades of Honda success, though. While the lineup of riders changes, Honda’s been dominant at Baja for many years, particularly thanks to former racer and then team manager Johnny Campbell. Campbell established a culture of excellence that’s carried on even as he moved over to the Dakar factory team. Thanks to a strong foundation, Honda’s now got 30 wins in the overall motorcycle category at the Baja 1000. That includes six straight wins, and 22 in the past 23 years. The XR650R was the bike that started the dominance, but now the CRF450X is the bike to beat, with 14 wins at the 1000.

Aside from that overall win, Honda riders also cleaned up in the race’s other classes. Francisco Septien, Shane Esposito, James Shultz and David Zarate won the Pro Moto 30 class, and Carlos Silva, Alberto Heredia, Luis Flores, Javier Salazar, Phillip Herrera and Carlos Gutierrez won Sportsmen Moto. Moving to four wheels, Honda also picked up hardware in ATV and UTV classes, with Johnny Campbell’s brother Jamie on the team that won Pro UTV NA class (they’d have won the overall UTV class, but they had a 10-minute penalty).

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