When Johnny Campbell provides advice, you listen. The 11-time Baja 1000 champ rode the Senior race at the Sunland Shamrocks Motorcycle Club’s Stateline Grand Prix in Primm, Nevada, round 5 of the AMA District 37/FMF Big 6 Grand Prix Series, finishing fourth. (Ty Davis won handily, by the way.)
But Campbell wasn’t racing so much for personal glory but to provide last-minute advice to his Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda riders on the course for the $2,000, 90-minute AMA Big 6 West Coast Grand Prix (WCGP) Series feature race that afternoon. In particular, he stressed hammering the whoop-filled outside lines in corners. Trevor Stewart took that advice to heart, got a great start aboard his CRF450RX, and ended up leading all the way to win for the first time since round 1, thus climbing back into the series point lead.
“I knew what to expect [of the course itself], but it was more so how to go about this race, how we were going to win, and how we were going to execute,” Stewart explained. “I knew what I had to do, and that was to get a great start and my JCR Honda pulled the gnarliest start I’ve gotten all year. I managed a nice little gap—about 10 seconds—for most of the race and tried to just ride how I wanted to ride and how I know I can ride.”
And while it was his fourth podium this season, it was not without challenge provided by Chaparral Motorsports/Precision Concepts Kawasaki’s Blayne Thompson, who finished a strong runner-up, just five seconds back.
“Our first podium of the year after being hurt and it’s been a long road to get back here, for sure, but I’m happy to be back up here [on the podium],” Thompson declared.
Live-engine starts aren’t GNCC champion Kailub Russell’s strong suit, but the FMF KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team rider put in a strong—and more important, a consistent—ride to end up on the podium for the first time this season with his third place.
“I managed the race a lot better than I have the previous three [he skipped the previous round as it conflicted with a GNCC] so it was good,” Russell said. “It’s relieving to know that I finally can be competitive. I knew I could do it; I just haven’t put the whole race together, like I said. I’ve still got to work on that first lap and get a better start.”
Despite the brutal course in hot weather, Hatch Racing Suzuki’s Gary Sutherlin also put it all together and finished fourth, Monster Energy/Lava Propane Honda’s Derek Kelley rounding out the top five.