Honda Ridgeline Scores Podium at 2017 Baja 1000
Twin-turbo truck endures challenges and setbacks but still scores second-place finish in a difficult class.
Team Honda Racing Ridgeline scored their first Baja 1000 podium in the event’s stacked Class 7 on November 18.
Drivers Jeff Proctor, Eric Hardin, and Johnny Campbell completed the grueling 1,134-mile course in a few minutes more than 32 hours. That earned second place in the class. While they finished nearly three hours behind the class winner, they also placed three hours ahead of the third-place truck.
Proctor began the race and led after the first 75-mile segment. However, a driveshaft failure cost them the lead in the next section. Proctor regained the lead, however, and turned over the truck with a 40-minute lead. However, the Baja Peninsula’s deep silt cost the team. After getting stuck, Hardin and crew needed two hours to unearth the Ridgeline.
Proctor, Hardin, and Campbell competed in the 2017 Ridgeline, which Honda debuted in 2015 to promote the truck’s redesign. The Baja 1000 sanctioning body, SCORE International, bumped the team to Class 7 from Class 2, where they’d run the previous two seasons.
The race followed weeks of preparation, including time spent pre-running the course in a Baja Buggy. In this race, the squad added Johnny Campbell to the driving lineup that competed in other SCORE events. Campbell owns 11 Baja 1000 victories aboard Honda motorcycles.
The team’s Ridgeline runs a version of the 3.5-liter J35 V6 available in the road-going truck. The twin-turbo version of the engine closely resembles the HPD version used in sports cars racers like the Team Penske Acura ARX-05 and Acura NSX GT3. That same engine also powered Peter Cunningham’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb-winning Acura TLX GT.
Victories On Quads and Two Wheels
Honda added victories in the Motorcycle and Quad classes, as well. Francisco Arredondo’s five-rider squad rode to the overall Motorcycle victory in just over 21 hours, good for third place of all Baja 1000 entries. Hondas took all three podium spots in the overall Motorcycle fight, as well.
Jeff Benrud won the one-rider-only Pro Moto Ironman class aboard a Honda, as well. Other Honda winners: Donald Lewis (Pro Moto 60), Said Sanchez (Pro Quads), Cody Schafer (Sportsman Moto), and Oskar Espinoza (Sportsman Quads).