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DI: Scariest moment racing? JC: I had one in the 2001 Baja 1000. I was going down a sandwash and had a cow jump out in front of me. It cartwheeled me off the front of the bike in an in- stant. My Camelback burst and cushioned the blow, but it took me a minute to know what had happened. Was I hurt, paralyzed? It happened so fast, it was like a bomb went off and then I’m on the ground. Amazing enough, I didn’t even get a scratch, I got up, got back on the bike, and never even lost the lead. The only problem with the bike was a bent front brake rotor. DI: Funniest story racing? JC: In 1998 I was going down the coast on the Baja side and was pre running and I jumped over a dune and there was a porta potty and I cleared it. Luckily there was no one in it. (laughs). Dirt Illustrated Overview of the Honda 2012 CRF450X HANDLING: Very nim- ble feeling, great on the trail whether you are going slow or fast. Good single track handling and very stable in the whoops. Corners like a hot knife in butter. SUSPENSION: The stock Honda 450X suspension is very plush for the average rider, and it doesn’t wallow or swap out at all. You can adjust the sag, high and low speed damp- ing, and dial it into whatever type of riding you’re doing. The adjustment range is also very sensitive, in that you can turn it one click on the damping set- tings and really notice it. One click can make a big difference on the new aluminum chassis bikes. It’s only when you start going Baja race speed, that you might need to invest in a bit more damping. ENGINE: Stock, the 450X is very mellow, its tuned to meet the EPA and green sticker regu- lations, so it has a smaller air intake and noise restrictions built in. It is very trail friendly power, but by rejetting the bike, you can easily gain more power. By doing the airbox mod (see our top 10 450X mods) DIRT ILLustrated \\\\\\ Vol. 1 + Issue 1 + Page 106 and adding a pipe, you can eas- ily get 6-7 more hp. Stock the X puts out around 43 hp. Our race bikes are rated at a little over 50 hp. Anymore and you simply are wasting it in useless wheelspin and possibly sacrificing the reli- ability, which is all important in long distance racing. OVERALL PACKAGE: For the money spent, the CRF450X is the single best all-around dirt bike you can buy. It is bul- letproof, ergo comfortable, easy-to-ride, and offers top of the line tunability. In our (and Johnny Campbell’s) opinion, it is a superb trail machine, a capable Grand Prix racer, and the ultimate Baja weapon. That says a lot right there. Dual radiators provide plenty of cooling to the 449cc 4-stroke engine. The plas- tic guards help keep mud off the fins.