Honda added to its history last Friday night when the SLR team took the Pro Moto Unlimited win at the Baja 1000. This was a record setting 32 victories for Honda, including the last eight in a row and 25 of the last 26. It also represented 16 wins for the CRF450X, and five consecutive victories for the SLR Honda squad, which this year comprised owner-rider Mark Samuels and co-riders Justin Morgan and Kendall Norman. Friday night also marked six Baja 1000 wins for Morgan, seven for Samuels and eight for Norman.
"Man, it was a tough course," Samuels told SCORE at the finish. "It was really rough and actually kind of slower than what we anticipated. We had our hands full at the beginning, but it was a really good race, and by race-mile 340 we were into the lead. From there we just had to bring it home, and we had a great, solid effort the whole way."
Night-specialist Morgan was the seventh rider to leave the Ensenada start in the very early hours of Friday morning, and he handed off to Samuels approximately 275 miles later, near Puertecitos, on the Gulf Coast. Samuels, who assumed the physical lead around 65 miles into his stint, turned the bike over to Norman around the midway point, on the road to Mike's Sky Ranch. Approximately 250 miles later, Morgan took over again at El Alamo, for the final, 100-mile sprint back to the finish in Ensenada. The squad covered the 830.9-mile course in an official time of 18 hours, 51 minutes, 30.152 seconds, which was 1 hour, 17 minutes quicker than the second-place team.
In addition to SLR’s success, Honda won with the Ridgeline truck, as the Class 7 crown went to the Honda Factory Off-Road team (comprising owner-driver Jeff Proctor and codrivers Gatlan Haddon, Sachin Joshi, Richard Glaszczak and Chip Prescott). Fernando Beltran’s team topped Pro Moto Limited, while the Guy Laycraft-led team won Pro Moto 60 and Tanner Janesky claimed victory in Pro Moto Ironman. On quads, Hector Chavez was victorious in Pro Quads and Rabago Dario won Sportsman Quads. In addition, a pair of Honda Talon 1000R side-by-sides finished second and third in the Pro UTV Normally Aspirated class.