Online Alert: Victory for Team HRC in Osaka at 2024 FIM E-Xplorer World Cup Round 1

Last Updated: June 19, 2024By Tags: ,

E-Xplorer season opener was dominated by newcomers with Team HRC and INDE Racing in the top three.

Honda Racing Corporation (Team HRC) has claimed victory in its native Japan at the opening round of the 2024 FIM E-Xplorer World Cup, stamping its authority in electric off-road racing in only its first competition.

As a new entry in the all-electric off-road motorcycle series, Team HRC entered the competition surrounded by formidable opponents, many of whom have an entire year’s worth of experience in the inaugural 2023 championship.

However, with consistently strong performance throughout the day of racing in Osaka, Team HRC managed to not only keep up with its rivals but also finish Round 1 at the top of the tables.

Text and Photo Credits: MPA Creative / FIM E-Xplorer World Cup

Team HRC‘s competitors were not giving the newcomer an easy ride, however, and with 132 championship points, Round 1 was secured by the factory team by just one point.

Hot on their heels and finishing the weekend in second place was Robbie Maddison Racing (renamed from Madwill in 2023) achieving 131 points. RMR riders Zaragoza and Germond pushed Team HRC right to the end but were ultimately pipped to the post.

Just behind RMR in third place came the second of the new 2024 teams, INDE Racing with 121 points. Achieving a podium position on debut laid down a strong marker for the Indian-based outfit and they will look to retain their pace throughout the season.

The HRC riders Francesca Nocera from Italy and Tosha Schareina from Spain battled 14 other riders over three individual races at Osaka’s Expo ’70 Commemorative Park, putting in consistently fast times despite the unique conditions and challenges.

Despite the cold weather, Hirofumi Yoshimura, Governor of Osaka prefecture joined the inspiring crowd of 1750 motorsport fans who attended the Expo ’70 Commemorative Park to watch E-Xplorer Season 2 kick-off.

The success of the event must also be credited to the cohesive relationship between the FIM and FMJ who sanctioned Round 1.

In the rider stakes, INDE Racing’s Sandra Gomez took the honours as the weekend’s fastest female rider, while RMR’s Jorge Zaragoza stood on the top spot as the fastest male rider.

Text and Photo Credits: MPA Creative / FIM E-Xplorer World Cup

Topping off a momentous day, Gomez taking the honours in the female standings marked the first victory for an FIM-sanctioned Indian motorsport team in a global series.

With close racing from start to finish, there was all to play for in Japan and the result came down to the final race in both male and female categories.

Despite Osaka’s narrow track, the male riders managed a clean and tidy start with all riders making it onto the main track without incident. With a near-perfect start, RMR’s Zaragoza got to the front and stayed there for a clear win.

Congestion at the start of the women’s first of three races caused an altercation between AUS-E rider Jess Gardiner and Team HRC’s Nocera, pushing both riders to the back of the pack. That left Gravity’s Tanya Schlosser and Gomez to fight it out for first with the INDE Racing entry crossing the line first.

With another clean start, Schareina led at the start of the men’s second race but had the lead snatched from him at turn two as a dominant Zaragoza capitalised on small errors. As the RMR rider defended the front spot, a second battle emerged in the mid-pack with Alex Andreis of Gravity, Bonnell rider Dylan Woodcock and INDE’s Spenser Wilton exchanging places right up to the line.

German rider Schlosser’s consistently fast and flawless starts shot the Gravity rider into the lead during the second of the women’s heats, but Nocera’s aggression and experience soon closed the gap and the Italian rider passed to take the lead, while Gomez also managed to push past into second.

However, Nocera held onto the lead and claimed a win in the second heat, securing Team HRC’s first-ever win in an electric series and a historic milestone in the venerable brand’s motorsport story.

Text and Photo Credits: MPA Creative / FIM E-Xplorer World Cup

Text and Photo Credits: MPA Creative / FIM E-Xplorer World Cup

An unstoppable Zaragoza quickly established the lead in the third and final Men’s race, finding his way to the front and staying there. Despite a consistently paced ride from Schareina and Woodcock, the Spanish RMR rider pulled out an impressive 20-second lead over the eight-minute race.
The women’s final race for the day appeared to be a carbon copy of the second with Schlosser blasting into the lead at the start before being hunted down and passed by Nocera. Simultaneously, a fired-up Gomez overtook third-place Bonnell rider Kristie McKinnon for wall-to-wall action across the track.

In the individual standings, Gomez dominated for an overall first place, Nocera finished the day in second, while Schlosser was the day’s third fastest female rider.

Both Gomez and Schlosser ran on Stark, giving the manufacturer a double podium in the Women’s individual category.

With almost unbeatable pace, Zaragoza was the fastest male rider, Schareina ended the day in second place while Woodcock took third place on the podium – a particularly impressive feat given the British rider had switched to a less powerful spare bike for the day.

With the first round of the 2024 FIM E-Xplorer World Cup successfully wound up, all eyes look to round two which returns to Europe and Norway in early May.

Valentin Guyonnet, Carina Munte, Deborah Tee or Bryn Griffiths


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