Team Honda Racing Off-Road Finds Success in a Brutal 2020 Vegas to Reno Race
Once again, the Honda Off-Road Factory race team met the brutal challenges of desert racing head-on in the 24th annual Best In The Desert Vegas to Reno, against a record-breaking field of entries. The team’s well-prepped Baja Ridgeline and Talons faced a variety of challenges over the race course’s 514 miles.
Jeff Proctor and Patrick Daily shared driving duties in the No. 7209 Ridgeline, with Evan Weller and Michael Loomis navigating. The truck qualified P1 in the limited race classes, but that didn’t mean clean air. The team started behind the 6100 class and fought their dust.
“It was one of those never-ending days of racing.” says Team Principal and Ridgeline starting driver, Jeff Proctor, “We had a fight to the finish in the Baja Ridgeline. We chased a few gremlins, but our team never gave-up. It was a race with all the desert variables in play. If it wasn’t the 100 miles of talcum powder like silt, it was vapor lock from the desert heat, or the super slick mud in the last 75 miles of the race. I’m so proud of our team. In typical Team Honda style, we rose to meet all the challenges. At the end of the race we finished P2, only 21* minutes behind the winner after almost two hours of downtime.”
It was a tale of two Talons for the No. 2933, piloted by Eliott Watson and the No. 2994, driven by Christopher Polvoorde. Watson was out around RM 200, while Polvoorde finished the race. By luck of a draw to determine start order, both started towards the back of the class. In the first 100 miles, they had the pace to pass and move up as many as 14 positions. Watson’s Talon encountered a “freak” mechanical issue that all the testing and prep wouldn’t have solved. According to Proctor, “It’s a simple fix, and part of the fun of new race builds.”
Watson recounts, “It was great to be back behind the wheel of the Talon this weekend. Although, the end result doesn’t show it, I felt that we had a really strong run going with no mistakes and making passes early on in the race. With all of the silt, rocks, and heat of the day that we had to deal with, we showed that the Talons are capable to run up in the front of the pack of UTVs in demanding conditions. Now it’s time to focus on getting the Talons ready for Baja for the first time.”
“Right off the start I saw a few opportunities and started picking off cars.” Polvoorde recalls his race day, “The dust was really bad, so any chance to get by someone, you had to take it. Once we got a solid track position I just cruised and started clicking off miles. Next thing we knew, we were third physically after starting 25th. Unfortunately at RM 290 we had a mechanical to deal with and we were down for about 2 hours. The team worked hard to get us back on course and we finished. Overall it was great to see see how fast these cars were without even pushing hard.” The No. 2994 Talon finished the grueling race in P12* with a time of 15:37:51.
Jeff Proctor sums up the Talons’ race, “Vegas to Reno goes down as a success for the Talons. All the hard work paid off and we showed up – on-pace and on-point, as a team dedicated to the finish, no matter the adversity. A couple easy remedies and we’re ready for the next race.”
Up next for the Ridgeline and Talons is the SCORE Baja 500, starting in San Felipe, Baja, Mexico on September 26th.
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