Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Skyler Howes, Husqvarna Factory Racing part ways

Skyler Howes and Husqvarna Factory Racing have mutually agreed to part ways, effective immediately.

“Husqvarna Factory Racing would like to thank Skyler Howes for his commitment, enthusiasm, and success during his two years racing for the team in both the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship and the prestigious Dakar Rally,” reads a team statement released Tuesday. “Husqvarna Factory Racing wishes Skyler well in his future endeavours.”

After being one of the top amateur riders in American desert racing, including racing the Dakar Rally on a KTM, Howes joined Husqvarna’s factory programme starting at the 2021 Sonora Rally where he finished second. His Dakar début with the team in 2022 ended with a crash after five stages, but he rebounded by winning Sonora later in the year as well as the World Rally-Raid Championship’s Rallye du Maroc. He also returned to America and won the Best In The Desert Vegas to Reno in bikes.

At the 2023 Dakar Rally, Howes was the class of the field as he battled Toby Price and Kevin Benavides for the overall win. Despite not scoring a stage victory, he was the overall leader in RallyGP for much of the event before a series of poor finishes relegated him to third by the end. Howes then finished sixth at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

His last start for the team at the Sonora Rally was cut short by a massive crash in Stage #2 that resulted in multiple scapula fractures and a torn rotator cuff. He had been eighth in the RallyGP classification at the time of the accident. By early May, his recovery had progressed such that surgery might not be required.

Neither Howes nor Husqvarna immediately revealed their future plans. The next W2RC race in Argentina will take place in late August, while HFR also fields a bike for Luciano Benavides.