SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - February 2018

SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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Page 41 of 81

Robby Bell Four-Time BaJa 500 Champion By Stephen Romero Photography Courtesy of Four-time SCORE Baja 500 champion, Robby Bell, initially raced the SCORE Pro Moto class under the guidance of legendary Honda factory team captain Johnny Campbell. From that point onward, Bell made his own mark in desert racing history. It was Campbell who initially saw the real promise in this young upstart from the motocross racing world, coached by his dad Bob Bell. Campbell encouraged Bell to race the desert in the early 2000s and leave motocross behind. That bit of wisdom motivated Bell to race SCORE full-time, which led to wins at the SCORE Baja 500 in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2012 as an official rider for factory Honda and Kawasaki teams. Bell’s dominance in desert racing continued. He won his class in the SCORE Baja 1000 twice (2007, 2008) and took home the Overall Champion at the SCORE Baja 1000 in 2014. But it was the SCORE Baja 500 that made a lasting impression on this 32-year-old Pro Moto champion. He recalled several dangerous instances while racing in Baja, and referred to these obstacles as a constant reminder of the seriousness of the obstacles there. “I remember the SCORE Baja 500 as having the longest seat time I ever had on a bike after first leaving motocross for desert racing,” said Bell. “I was so young and didn’t know what training was all about, and those long stints on the bike put me off the pace early on in my career. I learned to train though, thanks to Johnny Campbell and the factory Honda team, who stuck with me for those first months racing in the desert. My first SCORE Baja victory was the 2006 SCORE San Felipe 250 and we won that heads up.” That first win gave Bell the confidence he needed to tackle and eventually win more races, but there were inherent risks if he went all-out 100 percent of the time. “I remember wild horses and wrong-way drivers on the course,” said Bell. “I recall Johnny reminding me to prepare for the worst and hope for the best when it comes to desert racing, and I realized what he was talking about when I had an incident where a horse suddenly came out of the brush while I was at speed. I ducked under its head, barely missing hitting this huge animal. It was very telling of racing in Baja. These are the variables one has to deal with here. I also recall a Jeep coming at me the wrong way on the course. It’s much safer now, but back then things like this happened. These were uncontrollable instances and you had to have a cool head.” Bell loved to pick up the speed at times, and that intensity nearly cost him the win at the 2006 SCORE Baja 500, when he blew past his fuel stop and nearly lost the race, if not for some good Samaritans who gave him a few gallons to make it to the next pit stop. With an intensity to win and competitive spirit, things could have gone very wrong for Bell in his early career, if it had not been for the guidance given to him by his mentors, and legendary riders in their own right, Campbell, Kendall Norman and the late Bruce Ogilvie. Fortunately, Bell went on to win the Pro Moto division at the 2006 SCORE Baja 500 and learned a lot in the process. Bell learned how to keep his race-speed down so that he would have time to react on the course. “When I was with Honda they told me to race at 80 to 85 percent and always go for second place instead of racing at 100 percent in case something happened, and I think that kept me safe,” said Bell. “When the field was crowded the speeds would increase, and in Baja racing, you can pay the price for speed unless you have an exit plan. The horse jumping out on the road in 2012 was something I can’t forget. It was crazy.” Embracing his mentoring, Bell went on to compete safely and continued winning races until his ultimate retirement after his 2014 SCORE Class 22 Championship win. Though Bell perfected his racing skills, so did the competition, which makes his wins racing in SCORE’s Pro Moto division even sweeter. Riding with legendary racers taught Bell about having gratitude and how to be a team player. These are the special memories about sportsmanship that he carries with him today at Precision Concepts, which was founded by his dad Bob in the 1970s. SJ

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