Team HRC, Honda’s works racing outfit, will enter the FIM E-Xplorer World Cup from the 2024 season, which starts with the team’s home round in Osaka, Japan, 16-17 February.
The FIM E-Xplorer World Cup is an endurocross discipline featuring exclusively electric motocross bikes. The series therefore becomes the battleground for Honda’s CR ELECTRIC PROTO, which made an impressive competitive debut at Round 8 of the All Japan Motocross Championship at the end of last year against its established 450cc internal combustion counterparts.
Competing for Team HRC aboard the CR ELECTRIC PROTO will be four-time Italian MX Champion and three-time Italian Enduro Champion Francesca Nocera, who will ride alongside her duties for the Honda Racing RedMoto World Enduro Team in the Enduro World Championship, and Tosha Schareina. Having been signed to the Monster Energy Honda Team only last year, his Dakar Rally debut as a works rider got off to a flying start with a victory on the Prologue. The Spaniard is well versed in both motocross and enduro, so alongside Nocera the pair are strongly positioned to mount a championship assault.
Nocera and Schareina will pair up against nine other teams, each comprising a male and a female rider under the series’ regulations. New for 2024, there are two categories of competition, with the larger Hyperbikes (prototype 7kwh-max machines using a standard MX wheelbase) joined by a lighter-weight GT class, based upon regular production models and weighing below 112kg.
Team HRC’s duo will campaign the CR ELECTRIC PROTO in the premier Hyperbike class across a series of 10min qualifying rounds, three intense 10-minute races and a play-off series of sprint relays for the best four teams each weekend.
Ruben Faria, Team HRC Team Manager
“I am very excited to be in another Team HRC project, heading into a full season of electrified competition using the Honda CR ELECTRIC PROTO. We saw that when the machine made its competitive debut last year in Saitama it was very fast at the hands of Trey Canard – two out of three holeshots and more than capable of running at the front, ahead of the established 450cc competition. That was a very encouraging debut, as well as a valuable development platform, so we are all keen to bring those learnings to the track in 2024 in the E-Xplorer series. The competition will be intense I’m sure, and this is the best place to continue developing our approach to sustainable, electrified two-wheeled motorsports. With Francesca and Tosha we have two very strong riders.
“Obviously this project is very different from Rally-Raid, but my career started in Motocross, followed by Enduro before finally Rally, so this is an area that I like and where I feel comfortable. Tosha and Francesca have extensive experience in Motocross and Enduro and I think they have the skills for this new and innovative electric motorsport series, E-Xplorer.”
“It’s incredible really from the Sonora Rally last year where I got my first works Honda bike, the CRF450 Rally, then to have become a works rider for the Dakar, and now to be a works rider on the CR ELECTRIC PROTO! I know the team well and feel very comfortable with them, and we work very well together. The challenges of E-Xplorer are of course very different, but I am looking forward to adapting and to getting on the electric machine alongside Francesca. The series is new but already the CR ELECTRIC PROTO showed it was capable of matching the performance of the petrol bikes so I think it’s an exciting time to be working with HRC on developing such a capable electric machine.”
“I have won a number of titles in Italian motocross, and recently have come back to Enduro and finished third in the world last year, so for me to be able to blend the two disciplines is very exciting. I am riding the Honda CRF in the World Enduro Championship and the CR ELECTRIC PROTO in E-Xplorer so will have a very good feeling of how these two versions of the machine, and the electric and internal combustion worlds, compare and I am very excited to get to racing it. We have a great and proven team, the bike is clearly strong, and Tosha will be a great teammate, so I am feeling confident in this new adventure.”