BIG DAY FOR TEAM SPEED HUMMER AS JOHNNY CAMPBELL EARNS HIS FIRST DAKAR STAGE WIN
It’s Johnny Campbell’s day in Iquique, CHILE- Robby Gordon’s solid driving and the performance of the SPEED HUMMER were enough to give co-driver and 11-time BAJA 1000 champion Johnny Campbell his first ever DAKAR Rally Stage win at the shores of Iquique, CHILE this afternoon. Campbell, who is a rookie rally co-pilot, was a last minute pick by Gordon to be his navigator in the 2012 DAKAR Rally. The duo seem to be making up a good pair; the results have been very consistent thus far which is showing fans that Campbell is making use of all of his talents as a desert racer, including heaps of intuitive perception.
CAMPBELL: “Today went good. Careful in the rocks for no flats, went fast in rough, Hummers advantage. Navigation went good and the decent to Iquique was the scariest thing I’ve ever done – RG was matted at 205kph! OMG I was freaking out!!!”
Gordon’s choice came as quite a surprise to off-road fans and journalists alike since Campbell has not been strapped inside a cage in the competitive area until now. We can only image the immeasurable amount of pressure on Campbell to perform well and do his job. In the US, co-drivers means a totally different thing than it does at the DAKAR. There is virtually little comparison between the two and Campbell has spent the past 10 days learning to navigate Gordon’s HUMMER through the harsh terrain of the DAKAR. With the car seeming to be reliable to this point and Gordon’s driving skills are well harnessed, most of the pressure is lying on Johnny’s shoulders and he is no stranger to running up in front for long distances.
“It was a very good special for us again. Now it’s just a waiting game to see how soon Peterhansel comes behind me. On the transfer stage, I think we had him beat by about a minute and a half. But we need more than a minute and a half, so I pushed very hard on the last section, as hard as I could go the whole time and it will be interesting to see how much time we put on him because we pushed, like qualifying hard, not really knowing where you’re going. We had a couple of big scary moments. For us, we’ve got to make time. We’re in a different position to him. He has to conserve his time and I’ve got to make it. We’ve got four days left, four real days of racing left and the Hummer’s strong. 19 seconds? He made a lot of time up on me, then. I can’t believe he could catch us there, because we were going crazy. So he’s a madman; if he beats us, he’s a madman. Madder than me!”
NASSERS HAS WITHDRAWN FROM THE DAKAR:
This is seen as generally bad for most on many levels. Nasser’s appeal among the fans is unheralded and his draw as the defending champion means more eyeballs on DAKAR. He is beloved throughout the DAKAR countries for making nice with all the fans so his departure will felt throughout the DAKAR. Questions remain whether he would drive a HUMMER again, but judging from his better stages it’d be hard to imagine him trading the 2WD beast in for a sports coupe. Nasser we love you and hate to see you go.
There was outrage in the cyber sphere the moment images and videos hit youtube showing the Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel’s MINI striking a stranded motorbike racer while they both crossed a small river. The images clearly show Perthansel hitting the poor chap and knocking down and into the river. The public forum and the motor dirt bike racing community instantly called for a penalty on Peterhansel, but none was given as of press time.
Before the New York Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal jump on the DAKAR bandwagon, all of you off-road fans should credit yourselves with carrying the team so far. The DAKAR is grossly under-recognized and totally un-represented by the lame-stream US media. SO folks like RDC are the hard-core media who bring you these updates, reports and recaps better than any other US outlet. Trust us that the big media kooks will be salivating over Robby Gordon and Johnny Campbell in their weekend reports coming up if , indeed, the duo can keep it up.