Monster Energy Interview: BP Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal Winner Tosha Schareina

Published On: 4/11/2024

This week Schareina grabbed just enough brake to slow down for an interview with MonsterEnergy. Check it out…

It wasn’t but a summer ago that Monster Energy/Honda’s Tosha Schareina stunned the professional off-road motorcycle racing community by scoring a 2nd place podium finish, as a support rider for Honda, at the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship’s (WRRC) Sonora Rally in Mexico.

Not that the tight-knit off-road community didn’t know of Schareina, but to crack the code with a podium finish at such a major event – and ahead of the Monster Energy/Honda factory-backed riders – definitely turned some heads.

But it wasn’t until Schareina’s encore, or ‘encores,’ later that summer that sent the off-road community’s heads spinning. Not only would Schareina step up and win the WRRC’s Baja Aragon, in his Spanish homeland, to prove it was no fluke (not that anybody thought it was at that point) he backed that up with the Desafio Ruta 40 WRRC win in Argentina.

During the off season Monster Energy/Honda was quick to upgrade Schareina to its full factory program, featuring teammates Skyler Howes, Ricky Brabec, Adrien Van Beveren, Jose “Nacho” Cornejo and Pablo Quintanilla – the most dominant off-road team on the planet, as proven by their Dakar Rally results to start the 2024 WRRC season in January.

Unfortunately, though, for Schareina, a serious crash at Dakar would send him from the middle of Saudi Arabia’s famed Empty Quarter desert and to the hospital – via helicopter. This resulted in a highly disappointing DNF for the Spanish racer that everyone had such high hopes for.

A month or so of rehab and a bit of time back on the bike, albeit an electric Honda motorcycle in Japan (as Schareina explains later), would be just the thing for the affable Monster Energy/Honda factory rally rookie as he stepped up this past week, in his first return to WRRC action since Dakar, and won the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid Portugal event, Round 3 of ’24 WRRC.

This week Schareina grabbed just enough brake to slow down for an interview with MonsterEnergy. Check it out…


Monster Energy: Tosha! Congratulations on your big victory in Portugal. Tell us how that feels, to get your first WRRC win as a member of the Monster Energy/Honda factory rally program. 

Tosha Schareina: Thank you very much team. The first victory is always special.  For me it was an honor to win the race in Portugal because a large part of the team is from there. We also had two stages in my country, Spain, and that gave me the strength I needed to achieve it. 

ME: That’s awesome. Beginning with the Prologue, discuss how that felt, throwing a leg over the Honda CRF 450 Rally and rolling up to the starting line. And in particular, how that felt coming back from your crash at Dakar, the injury you sustained, and you road to recovery to be able to race the Portugal WRRC.

TS: There is one thing I haven't told you... I was in the helicopter; I had just crashed and I was already sending messages to my people behind me to organize an operation for the next day. I didn't even know what type of injury I had but I wanted to be recovered to return. As you know, I also competed in the electric motorcycle world championship just a month after the operation. The recovery was extremely fast, I suffered a lot those 30 days, but we did it. I had no doubt that we would arrive on time. Once the work was done in Japan we got to work setting up the new bike for the Portugal Rally. We had work to adapt, but the truth is that from the beginning the bike was incredible. Getting to the Prologue (at Portugal), in the first contact with the rally after the Dakar - and being able to win - was incredible.

ME: Wow! That’s bananas on how you set up your surgery from the heli flight out of the Empty Quarter. Great story! So how cool was that, to return to racing after Dakar, and be part of the first-ever WRRC race that crossed between two countries – Portugal, and your homeland of Spain. 

TS: It is always incredible to return to work, but even more when the race crosses through your country. Racing in Europe with all the fans is very important for us. 

ME: A lot of your Monster Energy/Honda teammates commented on how excellent it was to see all the fans – thousands of them – lining the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid course. Talk about that and what the fan support meant to you in Portugal and Spain.

TS: Sometimes we miss having a crowd shouting and cheering us on. But here we had it. The Portuguese and Spanish fans are incredible. The third and fourth stages, when we entered Spain, the support of the entire Spanish crowd was incredible. We felt very loved and it gave us extra power to be able to give our best on the track. 

ME: That’s so cool. You went out and won the Prologue, then followed that up just a few hours later by winning Stage 1 of the WRRC’s BP Ultimate Rally-Raid. Discuss the momentum and confidence that gave you heading into the remaining stages.

TS: I have to confess that I felt very confident from the beginning. Understand me, I did not feel confident that I was going to win, but rather confident with my driving. I felt safe, with a very good feeling with the bike and the terrain. I didn't think about the result, just about riding and doing what I know how to do.

ME: Stage 2 would test your patience as you ran into some issues with your navigational device provided by the FIM. 7th place on the day took you out of the lead for a moment. Discuss Stage 2, what went wrong, and how you were able to overcome that. 

TS: Yes, I had a pretty intense day. I couldn't see the mileage system where we usually see it, so I had to look at it in a smaller place where we are not so used to it. Also in a race of this type where there are many more vignettes on the roadbook than usual. I had this problem from kilometer 0, so it was going to be a long day opening the track. I had some mistakes going off track due to looking too much at the navigation device, and the first 100 kilometers were very foggy, so I prioritized safety and losing a little time. I set my goal to go smoothly, without any riding scares and knowing that the next day I would start at the back again to be able to attack hard. It is important to have a cool head at this time and think about the final result of the race and not the stage.

ME: That’s an excellent account. Stage 3 would be a huge turning point for you as you claimed victory, and regained the overall BP Ultimate Rally-Raid lead – a lead you’d never relinquish. Talk about your mindset to start Stage 3 (following the frustration of Stage 2) and how you were able to overcome that low point of the race to win Stage 3. 

TS: I started stage 3 with great enthusiasm. The first part was a very fast 100 km where I went with gas (much speed). I knew that the Portuguese riders were going to be very fast in this rally - and they were.  I took advantage of the second part of the race, where it was a little slower and more technical to attack. I was able to win the stage with a minute advantage and that gave us the lead and control of the race again. 

ME: The weekend wrap-up, Stages 4 & 5, saw you go 5th/2nd to take the overall victory. Discuss how you were able to keep pace in Portugal’s difficult terrain, the challenges associated with that, and how your body was feeling at this point – particularly your injuries sustained at Dakar. 

TS: Stage four began in Spain and, again, I really wanted to ride in front of the Spanish fans. From the beginning of the Special (technical, actual off-road/trail portion of the race) I felt very comfortable. The tracks were very fast, but with visibility, outside the winding forests of Portugal. When we arrived at refueling we realized that we had to conserve the tire due to the type of terrain in order to reach the end of the stage safely. Once again we had to keep a cool head and think about the race and not the stage. I lost many minutes those last 150 kilometers, but it was necessary so as not to have any scares with the tire. I was left behind again on stage 5, a full sand stage where there were many roots and it became very dangerous to ride. We had a gap of almost 5 minutes with respect to the second racer in the general classification (Monster Energy’s Sebastian Buhler with Hero Motosports), so I drove safely, but was also giving it the gas for all those fans who came to support us!

ME: The final Stage 5 was short, but nonetheless challenging as it took out your Monster Energy/Honda teammate, Skyler Howes, who was poised for a podium finish (Howes finished Stage 5, settled for 4th overall). Discuss your mindset on Stage 5, how you dealt with, if you were nervous at the start, and, ultimately, the feeling that you had when you knew you’d wrapped up the race win. 

TS: From the beginning we realized that it was going to be a complicated stage, due to the sand and all the roots without visibility. I tried to ride smoothly, but I wanted to give it a boost for the Portuguese fans. I caught up with Skyler due to a crash, in the neutralization I helped him put his handlebars in place and remove sand from his eyes. He didn't speak and was very disoriented, but he is a tough guy and as soon as his waiting time was up in the neutralization gave a full throttle again. 

ME: You’re fortunate to have, arguably, the best team and the best motorcycle out there. Discuss the Monster Energy/Honda rally factory race program, how they supported you and how well the Honda CRF 450 Rally performed in Portugal and Spain.

TS: Being on this team is a dream come true, and from the first moment it has been a family to me. The new bike is incredible and has a lot of potential, but the whole team is incredible. It makes a difference to have people by your side who only make you feel better. 

ME: The WRRC moves to Argentina here for the next round, the Desafio Ruta 40. I have fond memories of that race as you won it last year. Talk about that event, what you remember, and your plan on preparation for this year’s Ruta 40. 

TS: I have an incredible memory, my first victory in the world championship! It is said soon... I really want to travel to Argentina again. The crowd is incredible. When I was there I couldn't believe the support we had. It will be a race with more open desert, so we will have to get to work for it again. We know that the race changes location compared to last year so it will be all new for me.

ME: We’ll look forward to the Desafio Ruta 40! Congratulations again from everyone at Monster Energy on your great victory at the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid, Tosha. Best of luck with all your training and prep work in the coming weeks and we’ll look forward to circling back with you at Round 4 of the 2024 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship. 

TS: Thank you very much to you guys. You also gave me the opportunity to show that we can be at the highest level in rallies and this is the way I can reward your support. Let´s gooooooooo!!!



FIM World Rally-Raid Championship

BP Ultimate Rally-Raid, Portugal

Day 5 Final Stage Results

Stage 5

1st - Adrien Van Beveren (Monster Energy/Honda)

2nd - Sebastian Buhler (Monster Energy/Hero)

3rd - Adrien Van Beveren (Monster Energy/Honda)

Overall Final

1st - Schareina

2nd - Buhler

3rd - Van Beveren

Up next… The FIM World Rally-Raid Championship moves to Argentina for the 12th running of the Desafio Ruta 40, June 2nd through 8th. For more info on WRRC and Monster Energy’s racers with Honda and Hero, link to: