The Team Honda Racing Ridgeline put on an impressive show at the first event for cars and trucks of the 2018 Best In The Desert series, the Parker 425 offroad race in Parker, Arizona. Parker is known for spectacular scenery along the banks of the Colorado River, but for offroad racers, it’s the deep sand, and crushing rocks that leave an impression. The terrain is punishing, and the lack of precipitation created severely dusty conditions on race day. Racing in such extreme conditions takes skill, patience, and a well-executed performance by the entire team.
Starting in the 4th position out of 11 trucks, it was crucial that the crew members in the pits keep the driver and co-driver informed of their track position at all times. An important key to success in offroad racing, is determining how hard to push. Go too hard, and you risk flat tires, breaking parts, or crashing. If you go too slowly, you get left behind. Every competitor was out to start the season off with a win.
The pace was fast, right off the start. The team’s game plan was to be smart and settle into a comfortable pace off the start, but the competition was going hard out front. With Jeff Proctor driving, and Evan Weller calling out the navigation, they were able to pick up the pace and soon moved up to 2nd place. The truck was performing flawlessly, and they were running strong with no issues. They got within striking distance of the leader by mile 80, and took the lead on corrected time. In order to build up a cushion, they passed the lead truck in a high speed section of the course, putting them physically first on the road. With a time advantage, they were able to make a pit stop without losing their position. After a quick stop for fresh tires on the rear, and some fuel, they still had a 4.5 minute lead on second place.
On lap 2, the sun started to set and the conditions on the course grew worse. The holes got deeper and the sand was looser. The rocks get pulled up to the surface or knocked into the middle of the track by competitors feeling their way along through the dust. Any time you get off course, you are greeted by the piles of rocks and boulders that make up the berm. Despite the conditions, Proctor and Weller avoided the many pitfalls and the Team Honda Racing Ridgeline performed flawlessly. They not only ran out front, they increased their lead.
On lap 3, the course was in terrible shape and the darkness had completely engulfed the course. With a comfortable lead, Jeff Proctor turned the driver’s seat over to Pat Dailey to bring the truck home safely. Pat put in another solid lap for the team and they crossed the finish line an hour ahead of the second place truck.
“It feels so good to get a win for this Honda Ridgeline team at the season opener.” said Team Principal and driver Jeff Proctor. It was an impressive victory that Pat Dailey summed up well. “I couldn’t be more proud of this entire team, their effort, and commitment to earn a win was unbeatable we would also like to thank our sponsors, Honda Racing / HPD, General Tire, FOX, KC Hilites, KMC Wheels, Sparco, Eibach Springs, NEO Synthetic Oil, RPI Racing, PCI Race Radios, AEM Air Filters, Pro Eagle, MAC Tie Downs, REEL Driveline and STEEL-IT Coatings,” said Team Manager/ Driver Pat Dailey. “The team is now focused on the 50th anniversary of the Mint 400 on March 10th in Las Vegas.”
For all the latest 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