55th Annual SCORE Baja 1000 Podiums All Around for Honda Off-Road Factory Racing Team Featuring Back-to-Back Wins for Honda Ridgeline
The Honda Off-Road Racing team proudly brought all three race vehicles across the finish line of the 2022 edition of the SCORE Baja 1000. The No. 709 Honda Ridgeline successfully defended its 2021 Class 7 win, claiming the top of the podium with a time of 21:42:56.5 – over five hours ahead of the second place finisher. The Honda Talons also ran a great race with the No. 1925 of Zach Sizelove, Ethan Ebert and Wayne Lambert, finishing second in the Pro UTV NA class at 24:38:35 and the No. 1920 of Elias Hanna and Bobby Smith finishing third with 26:13:52.
Attrition was again high in the famed Baja race. The 2022 race course was a loop race, starting and ending in Ensenada, Baja, Mexico – traversing 830 miles of rough, technical landscape over summits, across dry lake beds, through the notorious San Felipe whoops, from the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Cortez and back. But the Honda Off-Road team held out for a 100% finish rate with diligent execution of race strategy and smooth pit stops.
The No. 709 Ridgeline’s day started with Team Principal Jeff Proctor in the driver seat, pushing hard to find clean air. With their uneventful run over the summit (RM90), the team found the advantage over the rest of the class and held onto it all the way to the finish. On a Baja scale, it was a relatively smooth race for the team, with only a few moments of adversity – including a near roll-over, front end pirouette in the middle of the night by driver Richard Glaszczak and getting out of a silty situation with some local help. Chip Prescott also shared driving duties in the Honda Ridgeline with two stints.
Proctor said, “This Baja 1000 was just about everything I wanted it to be for the Honda Off-Road Racing team. The back-to-back win for the Ridgeline is our fourth win in nine Baja 1000 campaigns. It might have looked a bit rough crossing the finish line but it was running smooth. And no flats!”
He continues, “The Talons had a great day as well, pushing through mechanical issues that might shut down other racers, but not this team. With the help of our hard-working crew, they found a way to the finish and scored two podiums. I’m so proud of the way this team pulled together to execute this race. It was a rare Baja day and things went our way when they could have easily gone another.”
In the Pro UTV NA class, the No. 1925 Honda Talon of Sizelove, Ebert and Lambert spent a good portion of their race battling with the race leader and eventual winner. But as the day wore on, it was clear they had alternator issues resulting in a loss of voltage leading to dim lights and creative maneuvers to manage power in the Talon, which slowed their race during the night time hours. Once daylight was back, so was the speed, but not enough to be in contention for the win.
Ebert said, “In my first Baja 1000 with the Honda Off-Road Team, I was impressed with how the team came together. Even when things weren’t going our way, everyone stayed focused on the goal to get us all across the finish line. And not just finish, but a second place podium position. It felt great! It was so rough and technical out there. This race has such extreme conditions of terrain, weather, vehicles – you figure out pretty quickly what you’re made of.”
The No. 1920 Talon of Elias Hanna and Bobby Smith also had to manage their Talon to make it to the finish. Somewhere in the San Felipe whoops they experienced a mechanical that required a repair that would take too long, so the duo decided to complete the race with what they had, knowing lots of climbing, silt beds and rough terrain lay ahead. They stayed in the race and held on, claiming third place in the Pro UTV NA class.
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