Tosha Schareina Wins Stage 3 | WRRC Portugal

Published On: 4/5/2024

Schareina tops 2nd place Sebastian Buhler (Hero/Monster), with Monster/Honda’s Adrien Van Beveren in 4th & Ross Branch (Monster/Hero in 5th on Stage 3.

Monster Energy/Honda’s Tosha Schareina took control of the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid on Friday, winning the advance-length Stage 3 of the five day rally and earned the overall lead by 3:44 over 2nd place – and Stage 3 runner-up – Sebastian Buhler (Hero Motosports, fueled by Monster Energy.

Traveling through some rough, low visibility (due to high standing vegetation on narrow trails) terrain on the 373 km Special sections from Grandola Portugal across the border to Badajoz, Spain, Friday’s Stage 3 of the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid was the toughest test yet for the Monster Energy-backed racers from Honda and Hero Motosports.

Said Schareina: “Another hard day at the office and, today, the longest stage of this rally. The first part of the stage was really, really fast. The Portuguese guys (including Buhler) were on the gas today. In the second part of the stage I tried to push hard and, yeah, we did it. We took the victory.”

For Buhler, who backed Thursday’s Stage 2 victory with another podium finish (2nd) on Friday, 12 hours spent in the saddle of his Hero 450 Rally came down to a 44-second difference at the checkers in an amazing battle between he and Schareina.

Said Buhler: “Yes, it was a really hard day and the stage was super long. In the middle (of the stage) we went to a mountain and the navigation was tricky, with a lot of rocks. So I tried to save the tires – but I think I tried to save them a little too much and was a little bit off time. I tried to push it hard over the last part of the stage, but Tosha was very strong today. He rides very good.”

Monster Energy/Honda’s Skyler Howes, who was on the overall podium when Stage 3 began in the morning on Friday, ran a 6:44.02 to 4th place on the day, which put him back into 4th place overall, 3:42 off the pace of current 3rd place overall racer Bruno Santos (though Santos won’t figure in the overall scoring at race’s end on account of he’s not part of the WRRC series’ overall points chase).

Added Howes on Friday’s Stage 3: “The day started out really nice. I was holding a really good pace. Then, around kilometer 220, I was in the dust of a couple riders in front of me and kind of broke the No. 1 rule which is ‘Don’t ride faster than you can see.’ I was just pushing hard in the dust, hard left hander came up, and I went straight into a canal. I had pretty decent crash, but luckily I had all my protective equipment on (more on that point below). I was alright, but I got stuck in that canal for like three minutes. Regrouped and charged hard into the finish. Bike felt great and everything held up nicely in this long, 370 kilometer stage.

“Still in the hunt. Still fighting and clawing back a little bit of time. So we’ll give ‘er the rest of the way.”

Still leading the WRRC overall motorcycle division championship points chase, Ross Branch (Hero Motosports, fueled by Monster Energy) rallied back with a strong 5th place finish on Friday.

Said Branch: “It’s been a long couple of days. I had a crash on the first day … Branch pauses, and shows off the underside of his tongue, which is somewhat grotesquely blackened by his Wednesday face strike to the ground … Something I’ve never had before,” he said of the injury. “Oh well, we’re still in it. Kept ‘er on two wheels yesterday and today. Sticking to the plan and just trying to get a good a time as I can.”


Notes & Quotes

  • As noted earlier, Friday’s Stage 3 started in Portugal and finished in Spain – the first time in WRRC history that a Stage has crossed neighboring countries’ borders. This would bode well for the Spaniard Schareina, who won Stage 3. “Of course we have another difficult stage tomorrow, but we are here in my home country, Spain today and for tomorrow’s Stage 4 start. So I have extra motivation.”
  • Buhler on Saturday’s penultimate Stage 4: “Tomorrow I have a better start position, so I will try to push it again. I like racing like this and it’s been a good time here in Portugal.”
  • Howes is currently in 4th position, 3:42 back of 3rd place Santos. However, since Santos is not competing for WRRC points, he’s ineligible for the final podium position. So if the race had ended on Friday, Howes would have bumped up to 3rd place overall on the podium.
  • “The life jacket is awesome. I don’t ride without it when I’m racing. It’s saved me more than once,” said Howes on his Alpinestars Tech-Air Airbag vest, which inflated in his Stage 3 wreck on Friday, helping save him from a neck injury when he plowed – head first – into the dirt.
  • With Friday’s stage ending in Spain, which has a different time zone than Portugal, FIM race officials decided it’d be best to keep the teams on “Race Time,” sticking with the hour earlier Portugal time during their 15 or so hour stint in Spain (before heading back into Portugal Saturday morning on Stage 4).
  • Monster Energy/Honda’s Adrien Van Beveren on how he deals with the massive puddles along Portugal’s BP Ultimate Rally-Raid course. “With a lot of speed I catch a big water puddle and I say, ‘OK, aquaplaning full gas,’ because that is the technique of the Portugues riders here.” 
  • “It’s a mix of feelings. It’s weird, hard, when you’re not getting the feeling of speed and confidence on the stage. But I’m giving my 100-percent. It’s not easy. And sometimes it’s difficult to explain how I’m working, with the water and with the landscape. I have a big crash in the water. But after that I try to catch my rhythm and enjoy it. It’s been a tough race for me.” – Monster Energy/Honda’s Pablo Quintanilla.

FIM World Rally-Raid Championship

BP Ultimate Rally-Raid, Portugal

Day 3 Results

Stage 3

1st – Tosha Schareina (Monster Energy/Honda)

2nd - Sebastian Buhler (Monster Energy/Hero)

4th - Adrien Van Beveren (Monster Energy/Honda)

5th - Ross Branch (Monster Energy, Hero)



1st - Schareina

2nd - Buhler

3rd - Howes


Up next… Saturday’s Stage 4 of the BP Ultimate Rally-Raid in Portugal actually begins in Spain (Badajoz), then runs some 541 km (253 km Special, 288 km Liaison) back to the WRRC competition bivouac in Grandola, Portugal. For more info on WRRC, link to: