HPD Baja 1000 diary: The end
Melissa Eickhoff is embedded with the Honda Off-Highway Racing Workforce for the Baja 1000 as they race 1227 miles down the Baja Peninsula. She and photographer, Al Enviornment, will chase the Baja Ridgeline in a 2022 manufacturing HPD Ridgeline from begin to end. The crew is fielding IndyCar star Alexander Rossi, crew proprietor/driver Jeff Proctor, Richard Glaszczak, and Baja legend, Steve Hengeveld, in a Honda Ridgeline.
Because the 54th SCORE Baja 1000 continued into the evening, attrition and carnage was in full swing. Making driver and crew principal, Jeff Proctor’s, driver pep talks extra poignant. Simply get the truck to the subsequent driver change. Preserve. Survive. End. Regardless of a tough first part for Proctor and navigator, Evan Weller, they had been within the lead or near it for the remainder of the race.
The second driver, Richard Glaszczak mentioned, “My part was so much slower than we anticipated. We knew the course rather well however the mud and fog didn’t give us any breaks. Fortunately, we weren’t feeling a lot stress to push, so we had been conservative and made positive we handed off the Ridgeline in good condition to Rossi.”
The crew stayed on technique and on target… principally. Subsequent within the Honda Baja Ridgeline was Alex Rossi and Evan Weller. They acquired in at 3:15am, within the fog, in a really dry, silty panorama. As anticipated, visibility was a problem. The situations slowed the twosome down, however it additionally hid some course options. Rossi mentioned, “We had a couple of misses. We blew a nook with some critical boulders that would have been a race-ender, however we saved it. I want I may say the identical for the cactus in one other nook. I’ll be choosing needles out of unusual locations for awhile, I feel. Simply one other nature lesson courtesy of Baja.”
They made it by way of the fog, mud, cactus, boulder nook, nighttime, dawn, and possibly issues they didn’t wish to admit to, with the truck nonetheless robust for the ultimate part with Baja racing legend Steve Hengeveld behind the wheel. Hengeveld has raced 20-some Baja 1000s and gained 12 instances — totally on bikes, and even has a pair general wins. Even so, this race had a singular twist for him. It’s the primary time he’s completed within the day time.
As soon as once more as Hengeveld acquired in, Proctor suggested, “You don’t have to be quick. Simply be constant and get it to the end.” At this stage of the race, most race autos are carefully managing their gear to make sure a end. The Ridgeline was no totally different, however any issues they encountered had been extra upkeep than distress.
For the chase crew, it was an extended quick run to make every scheduled pit and driver change. Our HPD Ridgeline proved to be dependable and nimble in our quest. It was a right-sized car for this journey. It was our workplace, kitchen, bed room, and transport for our 32+ hours of chasing the Honda Off-Highway Racing Ridgeline from Ensenada to La Paz, Baja, Mexico. And we’re nonetheless speaking to one another.
The end for the crew was candy certainly. Hengeveld crossed the road first in Class 7 (unofficial) simply earlier than 3pm, including one other Baja 1000 win to his resume. Jeff Proctor is as much as 5 Baja 1000 class wins as a driver and in addition has two wins for the Talon as a crew proprietor. Alex Rossi now has gained three of North America’s most iconic races — Baja 1000, 24 Hours at Daytona, and the Indianapolis 500, and all with Honda energy.
As one of many longest Baja 1000s on file, the same old “simply get it to the end,” had extra that means, and plenty of are falling wanting that purpose even with a 50 hour time restrict. The Honda Off-Highway Racing Workforce did it with onerous work and humility. Past skilled, they’re simply plain good, enjoyable folks to be round. Congratulations!