Honda Off-Road Racing Team Takes On The Mint 400
Las Vegas, NV
Long touted, The Great American Off Road Race, The Mint 400, is also a notoriously rough course on equipment and drivers as hundreds of entries do their laps, making the race course ever-changing and unpredictable. The 2020 edition, held in the desert south of Las Vegas, NV, was the longest ever – 428 miles in four 107 mile long laps.
In their first Mint 400 race, the Honda Talon program, Christopher Polvoorde and navigator, Jimmy Davidson, started in the 22nd position, and Eliott Watson and navigator, Quintin Tucker, drew the coveted pole position for the Limited Race, UTV Pro Turbo Class of 42 very competitive entries, held on Friday, March 6.
The team entered the race with weeks of preparation and solid strategies. Each starting position had its own strategy for racing The Mint 400. The Watson driven, No. T903 Talon 1000R pole position meant pushing the driver and Talon harder to stay in the lead pack. Polvoorde’s No. T940 Talon strategy was to be less aggressive and focus on conserving the Talon for the decisive final lap, taking advantage of the inevitable attrition.
At the end of the day, both Talons were out of the race early due to mechanicals. Team principal, Jeff Proctor summed it up saying, “We’re still learning how all of our off-road experience fits into these capable Talons. We’ve made decisions, done the testing, worked with the best engineers, and we just didn’t see this coming. The Mint 400 wasn’t our race. It’s unfortunate that our results don’t reflect all the potential of the Honda Talon 1000R. We’ll adjust and come back stronger.”
Even so, the grandeur of the event wasn’t lost on Watson, “It was a rad experience getting to go through the Mint parade and do autograph signings throughout the day. When we were at the driver’s meeting and heard all of the people who put this race on I got the chills a little bit. All of the hard work that everyone at Honda has put in to get us out here for us to drive was insane.”
Results were better for the No. 709 Honda Ridgeline team, racing their 5th Mint 400 on Saturday, March 7, in the Unlimited Race with the larger horsepower, larger shod Unlimited Trucks, Class 1 and Baja Truck classes. Making the holes bigger and even more unpredictable for the Ridgeline drivers, Jeff Proctor and Pat Dailey and navigator, Evan Weller.
Race strategy had a major overhaul because of a last minute change in race format – shifting the Class 7 from the Limited Race to the Unlimited Race. Proctor said, “Starting behind the Unlimited Trucks is a big factor. They create lots of dust and holes. Our priority is to preserve the equipment and tires. The trucks expose rocks on an already rough course, and those rocks are hard on tires. It’s a race to the final lap and we have to make sure we have enough left to finish the race.”
Strategy paid off, the Honda Ridgeline finished the grueling race late into the night, with a time of 9:36:13, earning them a 2nd place position in Class 7. Per usual, results rarely reflect the racing drama and this race was no different.
Driver Patrick Dailey recounts, “This Honda Ridgeline was running great all day. Jeff and Evan set a great pace. Unfortunately about halfway into the 3rd lap, we had a suspension failure, which caused us to greatly reduce our pace. I jumped in the driver seat for the last lap and Michael Loomis replaced Evan in the navigator seat. We still had the lead at that point but wasn’t able to hang on with the slower pace we had to run. My main goal was just survival and get the truck to the finish line. The HPD engine ran perfect all day long. It was great to get back onto the podium with a 2nd place finish. We can’t wait for redemption at the Baja 500.”
Up next, for both programs is taking on the legendary diverse terrain of Northern Baja, Mexico in the 52nd Annual SCORE Baja 500, June 3 -7, 2020.
For additional info on the Honda Ridgeline Off-road team go to: http://www.hondaoff-road.com/ or HondaOffRoadRacing on Facebook, Instagram: @HondaOffRoadRacing or Jeff Proctor on Personal Instagram: @proctor_race.
Photography By: Bink Designs
About Jeff Proctor / Honda Off Road
Jeff Proctor grew up surfing in Southern California and like most American kids played traditional stick and ball sports as well. The allure of racing was sparked from his competitive nature, but it wasn’t until starting his first business, an action sports clothing brand in his college dorm room, that Proctor was able to buy his first motocross bike and begin his lifelong journey in off-road racing.
Today, Jeff has embarked on his most ambitious chapter of his race career – Partnering with American Honda, HPD-Honda Performance Development and Honda Powersports to create an Off-Road Racing Factory Mega Team. Jeff will not only pilot a custom Honda unlimited Twin Turbo off-road race vehicle but also direct and oversee the team’s entire race operation, including a two car Honda Talon Side by Side team in 2020. Jeff will lead his team and Honda to the podium, bringing more high-level race teams to the exciting sport of off-road racing.
Visit // www.hondaoff-road.com
About The Honda Talon 1000R
The Team Honda Works Edition Talon 1000R Turbo features FOX Live Valve internal by pass shocks, KMC Wheels, STEEL-IT coated Chassis, Gibson Exhaust, Baja Designs lights, Jsport SXS Race Suspension Kit, Sparco Seats and Harnesses, MPI Steering Wheel.
About The Honda Ridgeline
Powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 produced by Honda Performance Development, the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck features a body designed by Honda R&D Americas’ Los Angeles Design Studio, with inspiration taken from the current Honda Ridgeline, also designed and developed by Honda R&D North Americas. Key design cues drawn from the 2019 Honda Ridgeline can be seen in the front fascia, hood, roof, bed and side profile.
Making approximately 550 horsepower, HPD’s 3.5-liter HR35TT engine uses the same block, cylinder heads and crankshaft as the production V6 engine that powers the all-new Ridgeline. Additional, custom elements of the powertrain include an HPD-designed intake plenum and custom Engine Control Unit programming.
About Honda Powersports
American Honda Motor Co., Inc., is the sole distributor of Honda motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and Side-by-Sides in the United States. American Honda’s Powersports Division conducts the sales, marketing and operational activities for these products through independent authorized Honda retail dealers.
Visit // powersports.honda.com
About Honda Performance Development, Inc.
(HPD) is Honda’s racing company in North America and is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Founded in 1993, HPD is the technical operations center for Honda’s high-performance racing programs. HPD specializes in the design and development of race engines, chassis and performance parts, and technical/race support. We are proud to also offer parts and race support to Honda and Acura grassroots motorsports racers, and are expanding our support of racing series and programs that make Honda racing products available to all racing styles, from karting and Quarter Midgets to the highest levels of pro racing.
Visit // www.hpd.honda.com
About Bink Designs
Bink Designs is a premier digital media marketing company located in San Diego, CA. Since 2007, Bink Designs has been committed to providing cost-effective solutions for clients’ high-end media needs. Bink Designs will work with you to develop a strategy that matches your goals. Bink Designs offers a number of services, including: Identity, Print Design, Vinyl Graphics, Web Design, Photography & Apparel.
Visit // www.binkdesigns.com