Enduro21 catches five with the EnduroGP World Champion Steve Holcombe as he embarks on the 2024 season in the Honda RedMoto World Enduro Team on the CRF250RX in E1 class.

Heading to his first big race of the season with a completely new bike, team and class, Steve Holcombe has more questions than most EnduroGP World Championship riders have at this point in the season.

But the nine-time world champ tells Enduro21 he’s in a really good place, happy with his new Honda RedMoto team and really happy with how pre-season has been going on the impressive CRF250RX.

We caught five with Steve ahead of this weekend’s Italian Enduro Championship season opener, where he will not only test the new bike in race-pace for the first time but also line-up alongside many of his EnduroGP rivals. Steve talks through the changes in atmosphere in the new team environment, how the Honda has surprised him, and the challenge of competing against Josep Garcia in E1.

Firstly, how are things? You look like you’re enjoying the new bike judging by your socials?

“I’m good thanks, it’s been a fun start to 2024. Not normally a huge social media poster but I’ve been feeling good on the bike and I have had some cool videos to share.”

You’ve been spending a lot of time training with your new team in Italy, what’s the atmosphere like with the boys and girl in RedMoto?

“It’s awesome to have a good atmosphere in the team, it’s something that I didn’t quite realise how much I’ve missed.

“The team have been very welcoming and it’s been great to spend some quality time with them at the track but also away from it.

“We had a team camp in Sicily which is a first for me, and now I’m in Italy for the next few weeks getting the bike dialled in before the first EGP. I’ve never been a huge fan of spending time in Italy, but the last few weeks I’ve had an awesome time with team here.”

The bike felt like my own after a few minutes riding it”

It is a big change to step into a new team, new bike, new class…how were those first steps after so many seasons with your previous team?

“It’s been a big change, but a very good one and it came at the right time. It’s the biggest change I’ve made in my professional career and walking into a new team I have to say I was a little nervous.

“But after spending some time with the guys here I feel this environment is going to be great for me and it’s really going to get the best out of me. It’s been a fair few years since I’ve ridden a 250F, 2014 was the last time competitively, so it’s been interesting getting back onto the smaller capacity bike.”


And obviously it’s a huge change of bike – manufacturer, chassis type, suspension, engine character – what where your first feelings when you jumped on the Honda and how has that transition been?

“I was really impressed with the stability and the manoeuvrability of the bike when I first hopped on it. I was able to try the range of bikes that the team offer but my main focus was to get on the E1 class bike, the CRF250RX.

“I’d really had zero time on aluminium framed bikes, at most I’d ridden friends bikes for a few minutes some years ago. I found the Honda felt very comfortable very quickly, the bike felt like my own after a few minutes riding it.

First time using Showa suspension too and first time using an air fork. I’m liking the adjustability of the air and it’s a big weight saving over the spring fork.”

What are the biggest differences and positives you’re feeling from the new race bike?

“What I’m really impressed with is the stability and the manoeuvre ability of the Honda. The centre of gravity is lower and in general the bike is significantly lighter than what I’ve been using before. In actual weight and how the bike is to manage, in braking and changing direction. It’s clear in losing over 100cc’s there’s going to be less power but I’m pleased with the set-up we have going into this weekend.”

“It’s been a fun challenge getting myself back up to speed and pushing past the limits I’ve had the last few seasons”

Do you feel like an old dog learning new tricks or has it been like a fresh dawn?

“I’m not feeling overly old yet, although I’m hitting the big 30 this year! I would say what’s been the most interesting part for me is re-learning how I used to ride in the past. With how agile and stable the Honda is, I can ride it much more smoothly and carry a lot more speed than I’m used to.

“So, it’s been a fun challenge getting myself back up to speed and pushing past the limits I’ve had the last few seasons.

“I’ve been feeling more comfortable and faster each time I’ve hopped on the Honda and I don’t quite feel at our potential yet. I’m keen to see where I fit in this weekend and keep building over the next weeks & months.”

Have you been working on development of the CRF250RX as well or focusing on dialling yourself and your bike?

“We’re still working on and trying new things with my bike. We had a pretty big engine change after the guys found a new direction at the end of last week. I feel like we have a great base for this weekend but we have in programme some days of testing next week.

“It’s going to be good to get a race under our belts and see how my feelings are at race pace and if we have anything extra to try in the coming weeks.

“I would say we are 85% of the way there now with the bike and I’m confident a couple more days of testing we can be in a good spot for the start of the GPs.”


Take a closer look at Steve’s new whip: Pro Bike: Steve Holcombe’s fresh 2024 Honda CRF 250RX Enduro

History tells us a 250 can win the EnduroGP world title, and historically we’ve seen riders like Mika Ahola make that switch to a smaller capacity class, but was that part of the motivation behind the move to Honda and a 250 in E1 class?

“My focus on switching to E1 is to aim for the E1 title. Of course, my goal is the EGP title and to defend my number one plate but the E1 title is the ones that’s missing from my trophy cabinet. I’m not sure who the last rider was to complete all 3, or if someone has, but I’m definitely motivated to add it to my career.”

It will be a big challenge in E1 with Josep Garcia as classmate. Are you ready for that challenge or is that aspect the same no matter which class?

“It’s going to be a fun year that’s for sure! It’s always a challenge racing the guys in your class as well as fighting for the overall. It’s the first time Josep’s been in a class with me so it’s going to be interesting to see how he manages that and how the season unfolds.

“I have a great relationship with Josep and great respect for him on and off the track. With him stepping back into E1 last year, and taking the title, it’s clear he suits the smaller capacity bikes. I’m keen to get racing underway and see how the battle goes between us and the rest of the guys in E1 and the EGP class.”

You have a strong record of playing it smart across a season, and it’s a long year ahead. What’s your game plan for 2024 beginning with the Italian Assoluti Championship this weekend?

“I feel like I’m good at managing the season and doing what works best for me. When there’s 4 or 5 guys that can win, you can’t expect to win everything, as much as I’d like to!

“It’s difficult to race every special test of the year at 100% and not to have a crash, especially with the pace we’re racing at and how beat up the tests are getting.

The goals at the start of the season are the same, to end the season winning the class and overall title. I feel in a good spot heading into this weekend but equally I’ve made a big change and I’ve not had a big race under my belt yet. I’m looking forward to seeing where I stack up.”

The GP of Wales is a long way off but an important round for a Brit chasing a world title. How much are you looking forward to a GP on home soil?

“I’m pumped to have a home GP again this year! 2017 was my last UK GP and it was awesome to race in front of a home crowd. It’s going to be one of the best races of the calendar and I’m excited for the Enduro GP paddock to come and experience the UK style of racing. I hope the race is well supported and I can’t wait for August to roll around!”


The opening round of the Assoluti Italian Enduro Championship is this weekend, March 9-10 in Cavaglia. Round one of the EnduroGP World Championship is April 5-7 in Fafe, Portugal.


Photo Credit: Honda RedMoto | Future7Media | Andrea Belluschi