Baja 1000: New Honda Ridgeline + Albins ST6-i
Photos: Courtesy Proctor Racing Group
Finishing the Baja 1000 is a huge accomplishment for any race team. Team Honda Racing Ridgeline made a huge splash on it’s re-entry into the off road racing arena. The brand new truck built jointly by Honda Performance Development, the North American motorsports arm of American Honda, and Proctor Racing Group headed by owner/driver Jeff Proctor, not only completed the the Baja 1000 but finished on top of Class 2.
Learn more about Albins ST6 Gearboxes
While Honda has had plenty of dirt bike success in Baja, the new Ridgeline project marked Honda’s first off-road race car since the Class 6 HPD Desert Pilot in 2012. Powered by a twin turbocharged, 550 horsepower, 3.5-liter HR35TT engine, the new Ridgeline is equipped with an Albins ST6-i 6-speed sequential gearbox.
Proctor and builder Jason LaFortune had been eyeing the Albins ST6 since it’s arrival onto the off-road race scene in 2013. They felt it would make a good complement to the limited power V6 engine. Matching up the ST6 to the Honda V6 was no easy task. Proctor and Lafortune contacted Weddle Industries to make it happen. After several months of design and feedback, Weddle and Albins manufactured a custom bell housing with integrated starter mount, a custom motor plate, and a custom flex plate to mate the ST6 to the Honda HR35TT Twin Turbo engine. The new Ridgeline was ready for Baja.
With only time for a quick shakedown in Barstow a week before the main event, the real test for the new truck was to be the brutal 821 mile loop between start and finish in Ensenada. High-speed desert crossings, technical rocky mountain trails, silt beds, washes, ditches and drop-offs in addition to the fog and dust make the Baja 1000 the ultimate test for all drivers and vehicles who dare enter. Even the most seasoned and best prepared teams are not guaranteed to finish. This year, less than half of the 239 starters would complete the race.
“The ST6 makes this truck so fun to drive!” says Proctor. “Not to mention that it is mated to a Honda 3.5L V6 Twin Turbo….I can’t wipe the smile off my face when driving it. This gearbox is going to be a game changer in the industry. “
Despite the obstacles, the new Ridgeline Baja Race Truck ran trouble-free. The team of Jeff Proctor, Jason LaFortune and Sage Marie completed the race in 25 hours, nine minutes and 47 seconds. Despite a tough build and a challenging debut, Proctor was very pleased with the results.
Not bad for a maiden voyage. Smiles all around. Welcome back, Honda. Huge congrats to Jeff Proctor and Team Honda Racing Ridgeline.
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