While we've been liveblogging the inaugural run of Ford's F-150 Raptor R race truck in the 41st SCORE Baja 1000 race in Baja, Mexico, Honda race driver Gavin Skilton and his #779 Ridgeline racked up their first-ever Baja 1000 victory, in the Stock Mini Class.
This year's Baja 1000 Stock Mini Class was extremely competitive, though there were only a few entrants. Fighting the #779 Ridgeline hardest were racers Rod Hall in the #760 Hummer H3 SUV and Ryan Millen in the #762 Toyota FJ Cruiser. According to the gripping post-race account on Rod Hall Racing's blog, Skilton and Millen traded the first and second spots for most of the race until the FJ hit a boulder that ripped its front end off a few miles from the finish line. Skilton got stuck in silt up to the Ridgeline's doors just after the FJ's wipeout. This gave Hall a chance to gain lost ground, until Mopar driver Kent Kroeker and his Stock full-size #862 Dodge Ram pulled the #779 Ridgeline out of the sand. Skilton flew from there to victory. Hall snagged the overall season title in the SCORE Stock Mini Class.
The Ridgeline completed the grueling desert endurance race in 21 hours, 22 minutes, at an average speed of 29.54 mph.
The Honda Ridgeline unibody pickup has been racing in the Baja 1000 since 2005. Most of the truck remains stock except for the front and rear suspensions. Custom King springs and shocks are attached to fit the stock MacPherson strut front suspension and multilink independent rear end. The 3.5-liter V-6 and five-speed automatic transmission have been tweaked by Honda Racing. The driveline uses the Ridgeline's standard variable torque management four-wheel-drive system.
Congratulations on the Baja 1000 win, Honda and Gavin Skilton!