Honda Off-Road Factory Racing Team Dominates SCORE Baja 1000 2022
Team Honda Off-Road Factory Racing preparations for the 2022 edition of the Score Baja 1000 are about to be put to the test as they head to Baja, Mexico in the closing days before the start of the race on November 18th. This year both the No. 709 Honda Ridgeline and No. 1920 Honda Talon will be defending 2021 class victories.
Last year’s contest earned two hard fought victories in the 4th longest point-to-point, Ensenada to La Paz, SCORE Baja 1000. The Baja-prepped No. 709 Honda Ridgeline, driven by Jeff Proctor, INDYCAR driver Alexander Rossi, Richard Glaszczak, and Steve Hengeveld, crossed the finish line with a time of 27:10:00. The No. 1920 Honda Talon, driven by Elias Hanna, Bobby Smith and Eric Kosin, finished with a time of 29:18:38 – capturing class wins in Class 7 and Pro UTV NA, respectively.
The Honda Off-Road Racing Team will again enter three strong contenders. Two Honda Talons in the Pro UTV NA class – No. 1920 with Elias Hanna again leading the charge with driver Bobby Smith, and the No. 1925 being led by Zach Sizelove, along with drivers Ethan Ebert and Wayne Lambert. In addition to Hanna defending his 2021 win, Sizelove, too, is coming into the Baja 1000 after a very successful season with wins at the Baja 500 and The Mint 400 and P2 at the California 300. Ebert’s first full season of desert racing, at only 16 years old, has also been a stand-out, getting as high as second in The Mint 400.
The No. 709 Ridgeline will once again feature Team Principal Jeff Proctor in the driver seat with Richard Glaszczak and Chip Prescott sharing driving duties. Last year’s Baja 1000 win was the third for the Ridgeline and the fifth career Baja 1000 win for team owner/driver, Jeff Proctor. This year’s race carries some poignancy for Proctor, as he plans to step back from piloting the No. 709 Baja-prepped Honda Ridgeline after this year’s race.
Proctor said, “After racing the Ridgeline for eight seasons and nine Baja 1000’s, this race will be bittersweet for me. I’m confident and excited that our team is well-prepared and has a real chance for repeat wins. But at the same time, it will be my last as a driver for the near future. I’ve decided to focus on leading the team while I take some to deal with medical issues related to numerous concussions I’ve sustained. The consistent schedule of races and the nature of Off Road racing hasn’t allowed my brain to fully heal from the concussions and impacts I’ve sustained over the last year and a half from on track and off track incidences. My heart is heavy with this decision, but I know it's the right decision for my health. I plan to share more on this journey in the coming months.”
He continues, “I’m thrilled for the future of our Honda Factory Off Road racing Program and for our new two year contract extension with Honda through 2024. We’ll be announcing the new 2023 driver line-up in the weeks following the Baja 1000. It’s a great chance to develop talent and continue to prove the rugged capability of the Honda Ridgeline. We have a plan to take it to the next level – we are launching the Gen 2 Baja Ridgeline on a Trophy Truck chassis. That means it will be the standard Trophy Truck width with a Honda V6 twin turbo engine. It’s a first for the team and we plan to compete in the Trophy Truck class at select races.”
The 55th Annual SCORE Baja 1000 kicks-off with Tech/Contingency on November 16th and 17th. This year’s race is nearly 830 miles starting and ending in Ensenada, Baja, Mexico. The race course will wind its way through Northern Baja and is expected to be just as notoriously rough and demanding as past years. With heavy rain expected to pass over the peninsula in the week preceding the event, the course will be ever-changing and unpredictable.