Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

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Thread: Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

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    Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

    Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!
    Ridgeline Competes in the Baja 1000
    The following story and photos recounting the racing of the Honda Ridgeline at the Baja 1000 are courtesy of Doug MacMillan of Hondata Inc., a supplier of hardware and software solutions for tuning Honda and Acura engine computers exclusively. MacMillan works alongside many race teams, such as H.A.R.T (Honda America Race Team), to provide tuning and support. Hondata is in no way affiliated with Honda Motor Company.

    Last weekend, I embarked on a trip to Ensenada, Mexico to participate in the Baja 1000 - the most demanding off-road race in the world. Always one for challenges, Honda, in conjunction with Clive Skilton's California Race and Rally, entered the newly released Ridgeline.

    With less than 90 miles on the odometer and 15 miles worth of testing, the Ridgeline lined up in class 7S (Stock mini trucks) for a 709 mile 30 hour race. This year saw over 320 competitors - the largest number ever.

    The truck left at 12:20 p.m. Friday morning, as it howled down the groomed riverbed surrounded by thousands of spectators. Thanks to an aggressive automatic transmission reprogram by Honda engineers and custom-built race headers by Prototype Racing, the Ridgeline sounded awesome. So much power was on tap that the Ridgeline caught up to one of its class competitors, a Hummer, in three miles!

    As Clive attempted to climb the first hill out of town, he encountered a number of stuck trucks, including one truck reversing down the hill. A second attempt failed, so this time the weight was reduced to the tune of one co-driver. Newly unencumbered, the Ridgeline sailed up the sandy mountain ... only to have to wait for the co-driver to complete the climb the old fashioned way.

    Soon after, the Ridgeline hit a booby trap. Unfortunately the locals find great amusement in digging and disguising holes on the racecourse. Into one such hole the Ridgeline dropped, bending the drive shaft. This had to be removed, thus dropping the truck back to front wheel drive only. This did not impede progress too much, but a puncture did, slicing a five-inch gash into the sidewall. After changing the tire, the Ridgeline made it to the first pit stop at the 86-mile mark at 4 p.m. While checking the tires it was found that two of the wheel studs had stripped. This would be the longest pit stop. But a straight drive shaft was installed, the stripped wheel studs replaced, the truck refueled, and it was sent on its way into the night again. Fuel consumption was measured at six miles per gallon, fairly typical for this type of driving.

    Later into the night, the team came down off the mountain to encounter the feared silt beds. As fine as talcum powder, the silt beds form from the infrequent rains that wash material off the mountains into the riverbeds. Silt beds can be as little as one foot, or as deep as three feet, and there were five miles of silt beds to cross. Hitting a silt bed throws off visibility entirely as none of the vehicles have windscreens, thus allowing a curtain of silt to blanket the hood and enter the cabin.

    Jason Lafortune, the second shift driver, encountered the silt beds in the dark at 9 p.m. As he ventured into the murky dust cloud he saw a number of stuck trucks. What to do? Rule 1: Do not stop or else you will be digging yourself out for the next hour. So full throttle it was, and around the trucks he drove, as if on a Sunday drive to the corner store - albeit at 6000 rpm in second gear at wide-open throttle. For the next 5 minutes Jason weaved around firmly stuck Fords and Hummers, sometimes having to drive blind through eight-foot tall bushes to avoid impact with them. At times he was driving completely blind for 10-20 seconds at a time. When the dust had cleared, about 25 vehicles had been overtaken. It was then that the Hummer team managed to find the team's radio frequency. "Two questions," they said. "How did you do that," and "how far to get to clear ground?" "It's a Honda," Jason replied, "and you've got about another four miles to go."

    The combination that helped the Ridgeline across the silt beds were its relatively low weight in comparison to some of the 6-8000 pound trucks, its relatively flat underside, the torque, tires and transmission improvements.

    "The engine and top end power delivery is better than any other vehicle I have driven in the Baja," Jason later expounded. "The sound of the V6 howling through the open exhaust is absolutely awesome - especially while overtaking others on the fast sections. Up to the top of the mountain we had the Ridgeline easily climbing over two and three foot rocks. All we had to do was engage low gear and the VTM lock."

    At midnight Gavin Skilton took over and from here on it became clear what the team's Achilles heel would be. While the tire choice was excellent for the silt crossing and high-speed sections, the sidewalls of the tire were not strong enough to resist the constant battering and slashing from the bigger rocks in the infamous Matomi Wash south of San Felipe. Punctures were occurring about every 50 miles, which put the team further and further behind. By early Saturday morning the team missed reaching a timed checkpoint before closing time, resulting in a retirement. At that time the team had traversed over half of the 700-mile course.

    Mechanically, the car was in perfect condition. All the CV joints, ball joints and suspension components were still in the right places and doing what they should. In addition, the vehicle improvements made by California Race and Rally performed flawlessly.

    "This vehicle has the best 4-wheel drive system I have used," Gavin Skilton revealed after the race. "With a better tire choice and a little more ground clearance and wheel travel, the Ridgeline would be tough to beat."


    Technically the race was a great success. Nothing on the Ridgeline failed. This is what racing is about and this is how to improve the breed. Get out there and push the limits. Find what breaks and fix it. Currently Clive and Gavin are preparing the Ridgeline for more racing a little closer to home in early December. I have no doubt they will do very well.

    http://www.unlimiteddynamics.com/con...25becc52ee8ace
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    Last edited by Ridge1; 12-04-2005 at 06:04 PM.

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    Re: Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

    yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhh. run a stock ridgeline over that course. BROKEN!!

    if even the american automotive media acknowledges that sales are down and this is a soft-roader, youre beaten. let it go.

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    Re: Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

    I'm sure..... I bet there are plenty of better off-roading systems out there than a Ridgeline.
    2004 Pontiac Grand Prix GT - 112,000 mi.

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    Re: Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by tama z71
    yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhh. run a stock ridgeline over that course. BROKEN!!

    if even the american automotive media acknowledges that sales are down and this is a soft-roader, youre beaten. let it go.
    Sorry, but sales are not down. With sales of over 4,200 in Oct and over 5,200 in Nov they will exceed their annual goal of 50,000 units. The Ridgeline is just beginning to find its market.

    Yeah, I'm sure you know much more about 4wd systems than Gavin Skilten. Write him a letter and explain it to him.

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    Re: Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ridge1
    Sorry, but sales are not down. With sales of over 4,200 in Oct and over 5,200 in Nov they will exceed their annual goal of 50,000 units. The Ridgeline is just beginning to find its market.

    Yeah, I'm sure you know much more about 4wd systems than Gavin Skilten. Write him a letter and explain it to him.
    Because a minivan derived FWD based AWD system with a heavy FWD bias is far superior to all of those RWD based AWD systems huh? please
    And as for your sig "At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month, Bob Lutz, GM’s vice chairman, brought a large contingent to inspect Ridgeline. He told Flint: It’s the best “packaging” of any vehicle he has ever seen, meaning the best layout and use of space.
    Lutz praises competitors sparingly, especially those from abroad." that sounds like the most back-handed, sarcastic compliment I've ever heard. I can imagine Lutz thinking, "I've got all these people and cameras watching me look at this pos and I have to say something nice so i don't come off as being a jerk so I guess I could say it has the best...... um.... packaging I've ever seen". It's like when a little kid comes home with a crappy drawing they made in school, instead of telling them it sucks you tell them it's very unique looking.
    Last edited by chickenkicker; 12-05-2005 at 04:03 PM.
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    Re: Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by chickenkicker
    Because a minivan derived FWD based AWD system with a heavy FWD bias is far superior to all of those RWD based AWD systems huh? please
    And as for your sig "At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month, Bob Lutz, GM’s vice chairman, brought a large contingent to inspect Ridgeline. He told Flint: It’s the best “packaging” of any vehicle he has ever seen, meaning the best layout and use of space.
    Lutz praises competitors sparingly, especially those from abroad." that sounds like the most back-handed, sarcastic compliment I've ever heard. I can imagine Lutz thinking, "I've got all these people and cameras watching me look at this pos and I have to say something nice so i don't come off as being a jerk so I guess I could say it has the best...... um.... packaging I've ever seen". It's like when a little kid comes home with a crappy drawing they made in school, instead of telling them it sucks you tell them it's very unique looking.

    I don't know, but I read the story and it seems that beside a poor tire choice they did pretty well. If you think Honda can't win races........your really not up on racing.

    Your psychic abilities regarding Mr.Lutz true meaning behind his compliment is astounding. You and John Edwards should get together and do a show.

    How's this interpretation behind his comment? Gary Flint (Ridgeline engineer) was a leading GM engineer that left GM for Honda for obvious reasons and insulting the Ridgeline would be equivalent to insulting GM.

    ................or maybe he just really liked the truck.

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    Re: Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

    Ridge, why don't you just enjoy your purchase and stop trying to convince us all what a great truck, er, open back minivan you have. Its like you need to justify your purchase or something.

    We all still think it wins the Aztek award for 2005, and Edmunds destroyed the suspension on a dirt road. Let it go. If you like it, great, I'm sure it will serve you well going to the gym, grocery store, or wherever else you take it on smooth blacktop. I'm alos 100% sure if the vehicle ever did dissapoint you, you'd never state it here.

    Let it go, most of on this site think you made a bad purchase, no amount of articles will change that. But then again, why do you keep coming back and trying to convince us that you made a good choice. Believe me, it doesn't bother me in the slightest that you'd disapprove of my GM purchases, and I'm not on VTEC.com trying to convince anyone.

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    Re: Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

    Sounds like the author needs to find out what "Four Wheel Drive" means. The Ridgeline doesn't come with Four Wheel Drive. All Wheel Drive= Yes. 4WD=No. Regardless of 4WD vs. AWD, the Ridgeline is a glorified Minivan. God knows how many modifications really had to be done to it's unibody chassis to be able to handle off-road duty.

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    Re: Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by TaHoE
    God knows how many modifications really had to be done to it's unibody chassis to be able to handle off-road duty.
    I believe they tuned (Hondata)the transmission more agressively. Installed new headers and heavy duty off road shocks and beefed up the cooling system for Baja enviroment. They didn't do anything to the unibody on frame chassis.
    Last edited by Ridge1; 12-05-2005 at 05:09 PM.

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    Re: Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by goblue
    Ridge, why don't you just enjoy your purchase and stop trying to convince us all what a great truck, er, open back minivan you have. Its like you need to justify your purchase or something.

    We all still think it wins the Aztek award for 2005, and Edmunds destroyed the suspension on a dirt road. Let it go. If you like it, great, I'm sure it will serve you well going to the gym, grocery store, or wherever else you take it on smooth blacktop. I'm alos 100% sure if the vehicle ever did dissapoint you, you'd never state it here.

    Let it go, most of on this site think you made a bad purchase, no amount of articles will change that. But then again, why do you keep coming back and trying to convince us that you made a good choice. Believe me, it doesn't bother me in the slightest that you'd disapprove of my GM purchases, and I'm not on VTEC.com trying to convince anyone.
    Get a clue Blue. This is the asian competition forum. This thread is about the Ridgeline (asian) competing in the Baja. I could give a sh#$ what you think about my purchase, nor do I care what GM vehicle you drive. If you don't want to be in this thread, leave. I posted a simple article that some might find interesting. It has nothing to do with my Ridgeline.

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    Re: Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ridge1
    Get a clue Blue. This is the asian competition forum. This thread is about the Ridgeline (asian) competing in the Baja. I could give a sh#$ what you think about my purchase, nor do I care what GM vehicle you drive. If you don't want to be in this thread, leave. I posted a simple article that some might find interesting. It has nothing to do with my Ridgeline.
    Get a clue Ridge. This is the asian competition forum. This thread is about the Fridgeline (asian) competing in the Baja. I couldn't give a sh#$ what you think about my purchase, nor do I care what HONDA vehicle you drive. If you don't want to be in this thread, LEAVE. You posted a simple article that some might find interesting. It probably has everything to do with your Ridgeline.
    That's a much better proofreading.
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    Re: Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

    Actually I think its about the Baja Ridgeline. Back on topic:

    Jason Lafortune, the second shift driver, encountered the silt beds in the dark at 9 p.m. As he ventured into the murky dust cloud he saw a number of stuck trucks. What to do? Rule 1: Do not stop or else you will be digging yourself out for the next hour. So full throttle it was, and around the trucks he drove, as if on a Sunday drive to the corner store - albeit at 6000 rpm in second gear at wide-open throttle. For the next 5 minutes Jason weaved around firmly stuck Fords and Hummers, sometimes having to drive blind through eight-foot tall bushes to avoid impact with them. At times he was driving completely blind for 10-20 seconds at a time. When the dust had cleared, about 25 vehicles had been overtaken. It was then that the Hummer team managed to find the team's radio frequency. "Two questions," they said. "How did you do that," and "how far to get to clear ground?" "It's a Honda," Jason replied, "and you've got about another four miles to go."



    how sad it must be to be sitting in a H1 or tough Ford being left in the dust by a Ridgeline.
    Last edited by Ridge1; 12-05-2005 at 05:41 PM.

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    Re: Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

    I would like to add that in an event like this, driver skill plays a huge roll. Without an experienced and skillful driver and crew, the badge on the front of the vechicle doesn't add up to a hill of beans.

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    Re: Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by CRBoyd91
    Get a clue Ridge. This is the asian competition forum. This thread is about the Fridgeline (asian) competing in the Baja. I couldn't give a sh#$ what you think about my purchase, nor do I care what HONDA vehicle you drive. If you don't want to be in this thread, LEAVE. You posted a simple article that some might find interesting. It probably has everything to do with your Ridgeline.
    That's a much better proofreading.

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    Re: Ridgeline takes on Baja 1000!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ridge1
    how sad it must be to be sitting in a H1 or tough Ford being left in the dust by a Ridgeline.
    The Ridgline was in the stock mini trucks class the Hummer there talking about is the H3 (you know the one people keep ripping on for being under powered).

    The article explains why the Ridgline didn’t get suck:
    At midnight Gavin Skilton took over and from here on it became clear what the team's Achilles heel would be. While the tire choice was excellent for the silt crossing and high-speed sections, the sidewalls of the tire were not strong enough to resist the constant battering and slashing from the bigger rocks in the infamous Matomi Wash south of San Felipe.
    The Ridgline was running soft tires probably take stress off it’s weak suspension and chassis. It gave the Ridgline an advantage in the silt and than caused it to DNF when the trail got rough.

    The H3 won it’s class: http://www.motorsport.com/news/artic...?ID=206685&FS=
    http://www.unlimiteddynamics.com/con...g2_itemId=5581

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