Tosha Schareina is one of the hottest rising stars in rally raid, which earned him a factory seat with Honda for the 2024 World Rally-Raid Championship. With Monster Energy Honda Rally Team taking some time off before returning to the W2RC, he will race a slightly different bike from usual when he enters the FIM E-Xplorer World Cup for Team HRC.
The E-Xplorer World Cup is an endurocross-style championship for electric bikes, set to begin its second season in Osaka, Japan, on 16/17 February. It is fairly similar to Extreme E as both use EVs and require teams to have a male and female rider apiece; the two previously collaborated during the 2023 season. HRC will field the Honda CR Electric Proto for Schareina and four-time Italian Motocross Champion Francesca Nocera.
Although the W2RC’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge begins on 25 February a week after Osaka, Honda is not expected to take part, meaning their next race is the BP Ultimate Rally Raid in April. E-Xplorer World Cup races otherwise do not clash with the W2RC calendar. The season opener in Japan and France in June are the only E-Xplorer rounds within the same month as a W2RC race; the latter is on 21–23 June, a fortnight after the Desafío Ruta 40 (2–8 June).
“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,” said Schareina. “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.”
Schareina first partnered with Honda at the W2RC’s Sonora Rally in 2023, where he impressed out of the gate by winning the opening stage before finishing second overall, then followed up by dominating the Desafío Ruta 40. He was elevated from Honda satellite to the factory team for the 2024 season. Although he won the Prologue stage at the Dakar Rally, he crashed the next day and broke his wrist, ending his race.
The injury has healed in the month since, giving him the green light to take part in the E-Xplorer World Cup. He and Nocera will race in the top-level Hyperbike class, a new introduction for 2024 as the series splits into Hyperbike for prototype bikes and GT for production models. The Honda CR Electric Proto made its competition début in October with Trey Canard as a wild card entry in the All Japan Motocross Championship’s Saitama round, marking Honda’s first time fielding an electric motorcycle.
“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,” commented HRC team manager Ruben Faria. “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.”
Schareina is not the first rally raider to compete in the E-Xplorer World Cup. The top two teams in the inaugural 2023 standings, MIE Racing and Gravity, boasted Dakar Rally experience with Sandra Gómez and Camille Chapelière, respectively; the former ran her second Dakar earlier that year while Chapelière finished second in the Rally2 category at the 2022 edition. Gómez has joined INDE Racing for the 2024 season alongside Aishwarya Pissay, who won the Women’s Trophy in the 2019 FIM Bajas World Cup. PCR-e, which placed sixth in the 2023 championship, is led by Dakar veteran Derrick Edmonson.
UPDATE: Honda does not intend to enter the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The article has been corrected to account for this.