After spending several years racing Hondas independently, Campbell officially joined Honda in 1992 as an off-road racer aboard the XR600R. His breakthrough victory came in 1995 at the Nevada Rally, marking the beginning of a career highlighted by remarkable achievements in SCORE competitions.
A significant milestone came in 1997 when he clinched victory at the Baja 500 alongside teammate Bruce Ogilvie, who would later become Campbell’s mentor. That same year, he conquered the prestigious Baja 1000 with teammates Tim Staab and Greg Bringle.
This triumph marked the start of Campbell’s unparalleled dominance in the Baja 1000, where he notched an unmatched tally of 11 wins, along with five victories in the Baja 500. Notably, he also tested his mettle in the 2001 Dakar Rally, securing an impressive eighth-place finish overall and emerging as the top privateer.
In tandem with his illustrious racing career, Campbell has played a pivotal role in bolstering Honda’s off-road endeavors. In 1994, he was enlisted by Ogilvie to spearhead the development of Honda’s off-road race machines.
Beginning with modifications to the XR600R, Campbell gradually evolved the platform to the XR650R and, ultimately, the CRF450X. Over time, his involvement expanded as he assumed additional responsibilities, culminating in the establishment of his own outfit, Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR).
In 2008, with Ogilvie’s endorsement, JCR assumed control of Honda’s SCORE program, marking a significant transition for the team.
Subsequently, JCR diversified its racing portfolio by venturing into the GNCC series in 2014 while maintaining a presence in the American Motorcyclist Association’s NGPC and NHHA series.
Beyond his racing exploits, Campbell serves as the Off-Road Coordinator for American Honda, lending his expertise to support teams such as SLR Honda and Phoenix Racing Honda.