Skyler Howes has made the shock move to join Monster Energy Honda Rally Team to race the Dakar Rally and World Rally-Raid Championship.

We admit we didn’t see this one coming but then again, we also didn’t expect Husqvarna Factory Racing to wave goodbye to Skyler Howes earlier this summer.

Since then we’ve been keeping an eye out for the vacancy in a.n.other factory team to see where the American would go next. Some even rumoured he’d had enough and was retiring, but to Honda, where Tosha Schareina has been succesfully campaigning for a full-time place? 

Not a bit of it then as Honda proudly announce they have signed one of the safest pairs of hands in Rally-Raid to race in the HRC factory Monster Energy Honda Team alongside Adrien Van Beveren, Pablo Quintanilla, José Ignacio Cornejo and compatriot Ricky Brabec.

“Riding for the HRC rally team is a highlight of my life and career.” Says Skyler. “I learned how to ride on a XR75 when I was three-years-old and I began my rally effort on a CRF450X so my roots are deep with Honda. To also have the support of Monster Energy is huge for me and I’m super excited to see what the team and I can accomplish together. After a podium at the Dakar my focus remains the same, have as much fun as possible, and continue to reach for the top step of the podium.”

Riding as a professional since 2012, Howes climbed rapidly through the rally-raid ranks since being crowned USRA 125 Desert Champion. That includes 48 race wins and major trophies at Sonora Rally and a World Championship victory in Morocco. A career high came with third place at the 2023 Dakar in Saudi Arabia, making him the fifth American to finish on the overall podium of the Dakar Rally.

Team Manager Ruben Faria says he is “very happy to welcome Skyler. He is a young gun, but quite experienced in rally - was third in the last Dakar and won in Morocco. He is quite complete and fast off piste. With him we will have a super team for Dakar 2024 and I am sure Skyler will help us to be on the top standings.”