Honda Ridgeline Gets First Place for Stock Mini Class in 2008 Tecate Baja 1000
November 24, 2008
Honda's relatively new unibody pickup truck has been racing in the Baja 1000 since 2005, but this year, the Ridgeline has finally won the Stock Mini class. The #779 Ridgeline was successfully piloted by Honda race driver Gavin Skilton, who completed the offroad endurance race in 21 hr/22 min, finishing with an average speed of 29.54 mph.
The Ridgeline Baja race truck is a relatively stock pickup, with the exception of the heavily abused front and rear suspensions. Custom King springs and shocks are bolted onto the stock MacPherson-strut front and multilink independent rear suspensions to help cope with the difficult ride. The Baja racer uses the production series 3.5L V-6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission, both slightly tweaked by Honda Racing for extra juice. To keep the wheels moving across some of the harshest terrain in the world, the Ridgeline also uses the production series variable torque management 4WD system.
The 2008 Baja 1000 turned out to be a full-blown battle in the Stock Mini class, even though there were few competitors. Much of the race for first place was between Skilton in the Ridgeline and Ryan Millen in the #762 Toyota FJ Cruiser. Only a few miles from the finish line, the FJ Cruiser was knocked out by a boulder that ripped off its front end. Following the Toyota's knockout, the Ridgeline got stuck in door-height silt, until Kent Kroeker in the Stock Full #862 Dodge Ram dislodged the Honda. From there, Skilton made his way to a first-place finish in the Stock Mini class. For the SCORE Stock Mini class, Rod Hall of Rod Hall Racing secured the overall season title while piloting the #760 HUMMER H3.