Dirt disciplines differ from tarmac in multiple ways. There's traction to consider, of course, as well as what you can do both with and without it. Tire considerations are also much different, by sheer necessity. How you get your chosen bike's power to the ground matters in both cases. The answers, much like your mileage, may vary.
All these reasons and more are why 2024 should be an interesting year to watch as Triumph, Ducati, and Honda all tackle new challenges in the dirt sphere. While Triumph and Ducati aren't manufacturers that have historically been associated with dirt racing, Honda has. So, in Honda's case, its heretofore unexplored 2024 territory lies in its all-electric powertrain, to be showcased in the new Team HRC CR Electric Proto bike.
As a result, 2024 will be a proving ground for all three OEMs and their respective racing teams, in their respective disciplines. Going forward, here's how each bike and its respective racing series breaks down.
Triumph TF 250-X: 2024 MX2 and AMA Supermotocross Championships
2024 Triumph TF 250-X, right side view
The all-new 2024 Triumph TF 250-X has been in the works for some time, but will be racing for the first time ever in two championships: The 2024 FIM Motocross World Championship MX2 class in Europe, and the AMA Supermotocross Championship in the US. While there are also plans to join the FIM Motocross World Championship's premiere MXGP class in 2025 with a yet-to-be-revealed 450cc bike, here are the specs on the 250 for 2024.
The 2024 Triumph TF 250-X is powered by a dual overhead cam, 249.95cc single-cylinder four-stroke engine with bore and stroke of 78mm by 52.3mm. It's mated to a five-speed gearbox.
It features an all-new aluminum frame that was purpose-built for the TF 250-X. It rolls on a pair of spoked wheels, with a 21-inch unit up front and a 19-inch unit in the rear. On the stock bike that you can buy, the KYB suspension consists of a 48mm coil spring front fork with compression and rebound adjustability and 310mm (about 12.2 inches) of travel. The rear coil shock has both high and low speed compression adjustability, as well as rebound. It also has 305mm (about 12 inches) of travel.
The most current FIM Motocross Technical Rules Book offers clarification and guidance on the criteria that machines must meet to compete. These include things like: maximum power revs on competition engines must comply with what's found on the production version of the bike; allowed materials (carbon fiber body reinforcements are OK but carbon handlebars and rims are not); leak proof fuel tanks and caps; exhaust pipes and silencers that meet current sound control thresholds; and so on.
Over on the AMA SuperMotocross World Championship side, riders and teams must first compete in the Monster Energy Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons. Points are tallied across both championships. Riders in the 450 and 250 classes that are in the top 20 of points scorers will then be able to compete in the SuperMotocross World Championship. Two separate Last Chance Qualifier positions will also be made available for a total 22-rider field in the SMX World Championship.
According to SMX World Championship organizers, "these motorcycles are highly modified versions of what you can purchase at your local dealership." What modifications will be made to the TF 250-X aren't clear just yet, but should be interesting to see.
The 2024 FIM Motocross World Championship kicks off on March 8, 2024 in Villa la Angostura in Argentina. That's the first event of a 20-round season that starts in South America, then continues on to dates across Europe and Asia. The final round of the season is currently scheduled to take place in Italy on September 27, 2024.
The 2024 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, Pro Motocross Championship, and SuperMotocross Championship season is already underway at the time of writing. Round Six of the 2024 season will kick off on February 10, 2024 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. Tickets are still available, or live coverage is also being broadcast on both Peacock and SiriusXM. A total of 28 rounds are currently listed on the calendar, with the Ironman National final round scheduled to take place in Crawfordville, Indiana on August 24, 2024.
Ducati Desmo450 MX: 2024 Prestige Italian Motocross Championship
2024 Ducati Desmo450 MX Competition Bike - Right Side
While Triumph has been teasing its impending MX machine and international competition goals since 2022, Ducati played its cards much closer to the vest with its own MX development. It's honestly kind of impressive how well the secret was kept, since the bike was clearly in development for some time before the team from Borgo Panigale finally sprang it on the world.
The 2024 Prestige Italian Motocross Championship kicks off in Mantua on March 16 and 17, 2024. Unlike the two series that Triumph is participating in, the IMC will run for just six rounds. The final race weekend of the season will take place on September 21 and 22, 2024 in Faenza, and you can view the full calendar here.
Honda CR Electric Proto: 2024 FIM E-Xplorer World Cup
Honda CR Electric Proto - Right Side
First premiered in autumn 2023 at Round Eight of the All-Japan Motocross series, where it was ridden by Trey Canard, the Honda CR Electric Proto is far from Honda's first MX machine. Instead, it's an entirely new challenge of a different type, due to its entirely electric powertrain.
Rather than compete against piston-powered machines as in the All-Japan MX championship, Honda is instead opting to run the CR Electric Proto in the all-electric FIM E-Xplorer World Cup.
It's an endurocross series, and the racers who will compete for Team HRC are three-time Italian Enduro Champ and four-time Italian MX champ Francesca Nocera, as well as Toscha Schareina (who won the 2024 Dakar Rally prologue).
The series is unique not only in its all-electric nature, but also in the fact that each team is comprised of both a male and a female rider. The 2024 FIM E-Xplorer calendar kicks off on the weekend of February 16 and 17 in Osaka, Japan. Five different event weekends are scheduled throughout the course of the season, with the finale currently scheduled to take place on the weekend of November 29 through December 1, 2024 in India.
You can find the full calendar here.