The Honda Off-Road Racing Team returned to Baja California this weekend, with the Honda Ridgeline Baja Race Truck taking Class 7 honors for the second consecutive year in the 55th running of the iconic Baja 1000.
Competing in Class 7 for unlimited V6-powered race trucks, the no. 709 Honda Ridgeline driving lineup of team owner Jeff Proctor, Richard Glaszczak, and Chip Prescott faced a challenging course, starting in the coastal city of Ensenada and featuring wildly varying terrain throughout this year’s “Single Loop” event.
The Ridgeline started strong, with starting driver Proctor building an early lead before handing off to Prescott at the 242-mile mark. The Ridgeline continued to stretch its Class 7 lead into the night, as Glaszcak assumed the driving duties just before 8:30 pm PST. Even a mild rollover in the early-morning hours failed to significantly slow the Ridgeline, as the truck pressed on with only minor body damage.
“You know, Baja never disappoints. It’s always full of excitement, and this race was no exception for us,” Jeff Proctor said. “It was tough. There was a lot of attrition, we saw a lot of broken competitors out there. It had every single element you can imagine. But this Ridgeline is so tough, it fought through everything to get to the finish.
“This was a bittersweet race for me. I’m going to be stepping back from driving duties next season. So this was probably my last time behind the wheel, and we were able to put the Ridgeline [in the winner’s circle]. I couldn’t be more proud of our whole team. We’ve got some exciting plans coming out in the next three-four weeks. We will announce our 2023 schedule and our new driver. I will assume the role of team principal/team manager. I’m definitely not leaving the sport, just taking on this new role.”
The Ridgeline reached the finish with a time of 21 hours, 42 minutes, and 56 seconds to claim the Class 7 win by a dominating margin of more than five hours, adding victory in this year’s “Single Loop” event to the Class 7 win in 2021’s “Point-to-Point” race from Ensenada to La Paz.
This year’s Class 7 victory was the eighth for the Honda Ridgeline Baja Race Truck in Baja since the program’s start in 2015, including three class wins in the Baja 1000 and five at the Baja 500. In addition to the eight class wins, the Ridgeline also twice finished second in the Baja 1000 and third once in the ‘500.’
We will have to wait and hear who the new driver will be for the Honda Ridgeline team in 2023. It is exciting to see a factory-backed team have success in Baja. For more information on the Honda Ridgeline team, be sure to visit their website.