Honda's Trevor Stewart Back On Top After Primm Big 6 Win

Thompson and Russell get first podium finishes of the season

Trevor Stewart and mechanic Benny Breck
Trevor Stewart and mechanic Benny Breck (no slouch as a rider himself) celebrate after Stewart’s second WCGP triumph of the season launched him back to the top of the points.Mark Kariya

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.

Blayne Thompson
Blayne Thompson got a good start, charged hard all afternoon, and stayed within a few seconds of Stewart the whole way, eventually finishing second for his first podium of the season and proving his potential as a future winner.Mark Kariya

“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.

Kailub Russell
Although his starts haven’t been the best (he prefers dead-engine starts at GNCCs), Kailub Russell finally minimized other mistakes and landed on the podium for the first time this season with a strong third.Mark Kariya

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.

Gary Sutherlin
This year hasn’t been kind to Gary Sutherlin, but Primm turned out well. Despite blistered hands halfway through the WCGP, he persevered and was rewarded with fourth—his best finish on the RMX450Z to date.Mark Kariya
Primm, Nevada
A slight cloud cover prevented really scorching temperatures, but it was still a warm one at Primm, Nevada, signaling a sudden start to summer. Amazingly, it rained during the week before.Mark Kariya
Zach Bell
After a good start that saw him run third early on, a reported electrical issue took defending champ Zach Bell out of the running.Mark Kariya
Clay Hengeveld
The class of the WCGP Pro II division, Clay Hengeveld started out fourth but quickly made his way into first, remaining there the rest of the race to record his fourth class win in five rounds so he’ll keep that red plate through the summer break and into round 6. He finished ninth overall.Mark Kariya
Nick Burson
One of several who raced the Hare & Hound National in Utah the day before, Nick Burson admitted he was whopped after a few laps at Primm, but he stayed with it and ended up 10th overall, ninth Pro.Mark Kariya
Mitch Anderson
Mitch Anderson did well enough in the heat and dust to claim second WCGP Pro II and 11th overall.Mark Kariya
Jake Alvarez
Despite it being his first Big 6 back from injury, Jake Alvarez showed good speed en route to third WCGP Pro II. With a summer of training, his fitness should return as well.Mark Kariya
Mikayla Nielsen
As has become the norm, Mikayla Nielsen (SG5) won back-to-back races overall on Sunday. First, she won the combined Super Mini/Girls Senior/85cc race then went right back to the line for the Girls Junior/65cc/Pee Wee clash. That was on top of winning Mini Intermediate and WCGP Girls Junior A.Mark Kariya
Andrew Schulz
Second overall to Nielsen in two races, Andrew Schulz remains unbeaten in both 65cc 10-11 Advanced and WCGP 65cc 10-11 Advanced.Mark Kariya
Ricky Dietrich
Having sliced his arm open in a crash recently, Ricky Dietrich opted to sit this one out, though he attended to cheer on his friends.Mark Kariya
Haley Barnhill and Eric Yorba
Haley Barnhill and Eric Yorba needed a few tries to set the holeshot device. The 2016 Big 6 champ discovered he’s not 100-percent recovered from the injury suffered at round 4 and cruised to 15th Pro to salvage a few points.Mark Kariya
Pee Wee race show off their plaques
Some of the top finishers in the Pee Wee race show off their plaques.Mark Kariya