Solid Finishes for Honda Off-Road Factory Racing Team At 2021 King of the Hammers
Johnson Valley, CA
The Honda Off-Road Factory Racing team kicked off the 2021 season with solid finishes for the Talons and Ridgeline in the King of the Hammers (KOH) event, long touted as one of the roughest off road races.
“Overall, I’m really pleased with the team’s efforts to get take on KOH. It’s a very tough and unique race. To bring all three race vehicles across the finish line is a huge effort and everyone on the team stepped up,” recounts Jeff Proctor, Team Principal.
For the first time, the Honda Ridgeline was able to compete on the notorious race course. The addition of the T2 class, was an opportunity for the No. 209 Ridgeline to put its fresh prep and new look on display.
Jeff continues, “The Ridgeline qualified 6th in class and 15th overall in a field of 57 trucks. We pushed the truck harder than we’ve ever pushed before and it held up great. It was a 311 mile sprint race. We attacked early and went hard. We didn’t have much time on the new 40” Maxxis tires, but they were a game changer. We finished 4th in class and 7th overall.”
Strategy and prep paid off for the Honda Talon finishes as well. The team worked with Jordan Pellegrino and Bailey Cole – rock racing specialists. Cole qualified 49th and Pellegrino, was 69th out of 97 UTV race entries Bailey Cole said, “Racing the No. 13 Honda Talon at KOH 2021 was a blast! The race went as smooth as it could have gone. Team Honda prepped the cars and made them perfect off the line. We raced the car smooth through the desert trying to avoid the big trophy truck craters. We were able to make a few clean passes through the rocks at Cougar Buttes and carried that momentum all the way through main pit into lap two.
In true rock donkey fashion, we turned it up in the rocks. We knew that the Talon would give us what we needed to make up time. We powered through every rock trail in lap two picking off competitors and never even used our WARN winch! We flew the Talon across the finish line in 17th position, where were greeted by the entire #RideRed team. Tom and I can’t express how elated we are to be part of the Honda family.”
Jordan Pellegrino’s race wasn’t as uneventful as Cole’s. He recalls, ”The No. 98 Honda Talon ran great all day, but unfortunately, we didn’t have luck on our side. We got behind the Jackhammer bottleneck and lost over an hour and weren’t able to keep moving up through the field. I really enjoyed working with the Honda team and to bring the Talon across the finish line.” Pellegrino finished 29th in a UTV race that saw only 46, out of 97 UTVs finish.
Dillan Caines, Team Honda’s shop manager, sums up the Talon story, “KOH is one of the toughest races from a mechanical standpoint. It’s rough, rocky, and technical. It’s a testament to all the hard work to have both Talons finish both years.”
Up next, for the Honda Talons and Ridgeline, is the SCORE International Baja 250, scheduled for April.
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 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, Maxxis Razr XT Tires, KMC Wheels, STEEL-IT coated chassis, 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