Team Honda Racing Off Road Turned Upside Down At The Baja 1000

Team Honda Racing Off-Road fought hard to overcome a wet soaked and saturated SCORE Baja 1000 race course. Unfortunately, a series of variables led to a tough race-ending call by Team Principal Jeff Proctor at Race Mile 251.

Known as the most Prestigious and longest point to point Off-Road race in the world, the Baja 1000 is never short on excitement, drama, changes and challenges. This year the Baja peninsula received a record 4 inches of rainfall within two days leading up to the historic start. The race organizer ultimately decided to push the race start back 24hrs to allow for the rain-soaked tundra to dry out and assess the condition of the course.

They say that the only thing that is certain about being prepared to race the Baja 1000 is to be ready for the unexpected. There is always a considerable amount of logistics and work to be able to conquer this prestigious event. Team Honda Off-Road was locked and loaded to make it to the finish in their Honda Powered Ridgeline race truck.

Indy 500 Winner Alexander Rossi with Navigator Evan Weller was set to take the green flag. After starting P3 in class, the duo made quick work by passing into the lead by Race Mile 48. Once they cleared the crucial Uruapan section, Alex began to put time on the competition heading out to the Pacific coast. At about Race Mile 95, a slight miscalculation led to a rollover down an embankment. Fortunately, Rossi and Evan were not injured and worked with local spectators to roll the truck back onto all four tires and continue the race. Continuing on in the race is a testament to the strength of the new TSCO race chassis.

Team Honda was down, but not out and forged on after making some minor but necessary repairs. Rossi and Weller delivered the Ridgeline to Team Principal and Driver Jeff Proctor with Navigator Colby Wemple at Race Mile 197.

“The crew was phenomenal in getting this truck back together and allowing us to continue racing. This is the never give up spirit that is so strong on this team” said Evan Weller.

Proctor and Wemple took off in the dark of night and began to click off miles with a plan to reel back in the competition. However, after about 50 miles, the decision was made for safety reasons to call the race. “The decision to call the race is one of the toughest racing decisions I have had to make. So much energy and time go into this race, it’s heartbreaking for everyone involved. But ultimately, the safety of our drivers, navigators, and crew is our highest priority.” Said Jeff Proctor.

The team will have to endure another 351 days of the pain from coming up short in this pinnacle Off-Road Race that we call the “Baja 1000.”

Team Honda Racing Ridgeline efforts is made possible by strong support from Honda Racing / HPDGeneral TireFOXBaja DesignsKMC WheelsSTEEL-IT CoatingsSparcoEibach SpringsNEO Synthetic OilRPI RacingPCI Race RadiosAEM Air FiltersPro EagleJE REEL DrivelineMPI Innovations, and Trayco.

For additional info on the Honda Ridgeline Off-road team go to: http://www.hondaoff-road.com/ or HondaOffRoadRacing on Facebook, Instagram: @HondaOffRoadRacing or Jeff Proctor on Personal Instagram: @proctor_race.

Indy Car Star Alexander Rossi Returns To Baja 1000

After a headline-making debut in 2018 – including a near miss with a passenger vehicle on the race course captured on a video that went viral – Honda Indy car star Alexander Rossi will again take on the SCORE Baja 1000, driving the Baja Ridgeline Race Truck as part of the Honda Off-Road Racing Team.

An off-road “rookie” at last year’s running of the legendary race, Rossi quickly adapted to the unique demands of desert racing, which saw the Jeff Proctor-led Honda Off-Road Racing Team post a second-place Class 7 finish, the fourth consecutive first- or second-place result for the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck at the Baja 1000.

“I am more than excited to get back in this Honda Ridgeline off-road truck for the Baja 1000,” Rossi said. “It’s safe to say I decided last year, within five minutes of testing the Ridgeline for the first time, that I was going to do this again.”

Rossi is a seven-time NTT IndyCar Series race winner, including the historic 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2016. For his second Baja 1000, he will again share driving duties with team owner/driver Proctor and Baja veteran Pat Dailey, with each driver covering approximately one third of the nearly 800-mile “loop” course, which will start and end in Ensenada, Mexico.

Proctor won his class in the Baja 1000 in both 2015 and 2016 with the Ridgeline, finished second in class in 2017 and 2018; and won the companion SCORE Baja 500 race both in 2016, 2018 and again earlier this year. The Ridgeline competes in Class 7, for unlimited six-cylinder production-appearing trucks and SUVs.

“We are stoked to have Alexander back racing with us in Mexico for his sophomore attempt at this iconic off-road race,” Proctor said. “This year’s 52nd annual Baja 1000 course covers ALL of the toughest terrain and areas in Baja Norte….as always, it will be tough. Alex is one of the brightest motorsports minds I’ve worked with, and he is a great asset to our team.”

Powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 produced by Honda Performance Development, the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck features a body designed by Honda R&D Americas’ Los Angeles Design Studio, with inspiration taken from the current Honda Ridgeline, also designed and developed by Honda R&D North Americas. Key design cues drawn from the 2019 Honda Ridgeline can be seen in the front fascia, hood, roof, bed and side profile.

Making approximately 550 horsepower, HPD’s 3.5-liter HR35TT engine uses the same block, cylinder heads and crankshaft as the production V6 engine that powers the all-new Ridgeline. Additional, custom elements of the powertrain include an HPD-designed intake plenum and custom Engine Control Unit programming.

Rossi is the sixth Indy 500 winner to take part in the Baja 1000. Other Indy winners who have raced in the SCORE Baja 1000 include Parnelli Jones, a two-time race winner (1971 72); fellow Honda IndyCar Series driver and Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay; Rick Mears, Danny Sullivan and Buddy Rice. Indy car season champions who have raced in the Baja 1000 include Mears, Hunter-Reay, Sebastien Bourdais, Jimmy Vasser and Paul Tracy.

“The Honda off-road guys and my co-driver/navigator Evan Weller make it so easy for me to just jump right in and go to work,” Rossi said. “I can’t wait to share the seat with Jeff [Proctor] and Pat [Dailey] once again, and hopefully, bring home a win.” The Honda Off-Road Racing Team has had an outstanding 2019 season, including class wins for the Baja Ridgeline Race Truck at the Parker 425, the Mint 400 and the Baja 500; where the team successfully debuted the second-generation “TSCO” chassis; and a second-place Class 7 finish at the Vegas-to-Reno event.

The oldest, most prestigious and longest continuously held desert off-road race, this year’s SCORE Baja 1000 on Nov. 19-24 will be a loop race of 799.1 miles, starting and ending in Ensenada in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. The race is the finale of the SCORE World Desert Championship. The start/finish line compound will once again be adjacent to the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in Ensenada. The car, truck and UTV classes will start at 10:30 a.m. PT on Friday, Nov. 22, with the first finishers expected to complete the race in approximately 13 hours.

Social media content and video links from the Ridgeline Racing effort at Baja will be available on HPD’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and on Twitter at (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD).

Team Honda Racing Ridgeline efforts is made possible by strong support from Honda Racing / HPDGeneral TireFOXBaja DesignsKMC WheelsSTEEL-IT CoatingsSparcoEibach SpringsNEO Synthetic OilRPI RacingPCI Race RadiosAEM Air FiltersPro EagleJE REEL DrivelineMPI Innovations, and Trayco.

For additional info on the Honda Ridgeline Off-road team go to: http://www.hondaoff-road.com/ or HondaOffRoadRacing on Facebook, Instagram: @HondaOffRoadRacing or Jeff Proctor on Personal Instagram: @proctor_race.

Sponsored Rider Podcast Interview – Jeff Proctor

Team Honda Racing Off-Road Wins Baja 500 In New Ridgeline

Team Honda Racing Off-Road threw its newly completed Honda Ridgeline race truck into the crucible that is the Baja Peninsula, and came out on top. With limited test time, the team set out to conquer all 500 miles of brutal Baja terrain included in the 51st running of the SCORE Baja 500. After over 15 hours of racing, they were standing on the top of the podium.

The new truck uses their tried and true Honda Performance Development twin turbo 3.5L HR35TT V6 engine, and sequentially shifted Albins transmission, but in a new chassis built by TSCO Racing. The new truck is according to team Manager Pat Dailey, “A totally new animal; lighter, faster, and stronger. It’s a rocket ship!”

The course got nasty from mile 2 where impossible silt beds trapped trucks, burned up transmissions, and caused mayhem to the field. Those who survived the initial punishment at mile 2 got another dose at mile 15. A huge bottleneck was created there with stuck, and broken competitors everywhere.

Some were already out before they even got started. Fortunately for Team Honda Racing, their phenomenal new truck, experience, and driving skills, got them through the melee, and right into the hard work of surviving Baja. They experienced a problem with one of the axle drive plates, and the rear hub assembly departed, but fortunately co-driver Evan Weller was able to retrieve it, and make it work. The crew kept an eye on it, and the rest of the race went right to plan. After hours of tough racing, they took the lead with 20 miles to go. By that point, the Ridgeline was flying as they streaked towards the finish line. The course made a huge loop so everyone had to make their way through the same sections that caused so much trouble at the start. Many had their dreams crushed with success in their sights, but Team Honda Racing Ridgeline was not to be denied.

“I would say this is probably one of the most challenging, technical, and rough courses that we have raced in the last five years,” said Team Principal Jeff Proctor. “It was just brutal out there from the first miles of the race. I’m in a bit of disbelief right now. To take a brand new race truck to one of the harshest off-road environments in the world, and win is a testament to the fortitude of our entire Honda Racing Team. We just finished this truck on Friday at 5 a.m. and we won. I can’t thank our team enough.”

Team Honda Racing Ridgeline’s strong performance in the legendary SCORE, Baja 500 was made possible by strong support from Honda Racing / HPDGeneral TireFOXBaja DesignsKMC WheelsSTEEL-IT CoatingsSparcoEibach SpringsNEO Synthetic OilRPI RacingPCI Race RadiosAEM Air FiltersPro EagleJE REEL DrivelineMPI Innovations, and Trayco.

For all the latest on the Honda Ridgeline Off-road team go to: http://www.hondaoff-road.com/ or HondaOffRoadRacing on Facebook, Instagram: @HondaOffRoadRacing or Jeff Proctor on Personal Instagram: @proctor_race.