With the 2024 Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship getting underway this evening in Fafe, Portugal, reigning EnduroGP and Enduro2 champion Steve Holcombe is hungry to defend his titles aboard new machinery.


Adding extra spice to the mix, Holcombe will also contest the Enduro1 category for the first time in his professional career. Clearly excited to get back to racing, Steve looks dialled in and ready to fight for the top step of both the EnduroGP and Enduro1 podium in his new colours.

Steve, it’s the start of the 2024 EnduroGP season. The start of round one is just hours away. You’ve had some strong pre-season results already, how are you feeling? Ready to go?
Steve: “I’m feeling good on the new bike! The Italian championship went really well, honestly a bit better than I expected. I had been feeling good in my preparation, but with a brand-new bike and new team, there were a lot of question marks on how our performance might be. It was cool to come in at round one and have such a strong ride against my main competition for this season and it’s definitely increased my confidence for the upcoming EnduroGP season.”

How are you enjoying the new bike and being a part of the Honda Racing RedMoto Enduro Team?
“We’re at a really good place with the bike, we made a couple of small improvements after the first race. With getting back up to race pace and riding a track that broke down quite a lot, there were some small tweaks that we made to the suspension to help me. The team have been amazing, really accommodating, especially with our pre-season camp and spending a lot of time with the guys in Italy training. I’ve really enjoyed my pre-season and I’m in a really good spot with the bike, team, and my mental preparation for this year.”

What are your goals for the FIM EnduroGP World Championship in 2024?
“My main goal is to defend my number one plate. It’s never an easy task. I was able to defend my titles back in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, but there’s some added pressure when riding with the number one. That’s why I think some of the other guys haven’t opted to run the number before. For me, I look at the pressure as being a privilege. I’ve earned the right to run that number and I’m proud to display it on my bike and on the back of my jersey. The Enduro1 championship is important to me this year too. That was a real motivator in making the switch to the smaller bike.”

Who are you expecting to be your toughest rivals this year?
“In my class, it has to be last year’s Enduro1 champ, Josep [Garcia]. For the overall championship, it’s the same two guys that were fighting week in week out last year with me and Josep, and that’s Brad [Freeman] and Andrea [Verona]. It’s clear, there are other guys that can win races and it will be interesting to see if any have made a step up from last year. We’ve got some new blood coming into the EnduroGP class and it’s going to be interesting to see where they fit in.”

Which EnduroGP race are you most looking forward to this year?
“Of course, it has to be the GP of Wales in the UK. But in general, the calendar looks really good this year. I think it’s a championship that really suits my style and bike. With a double-header in Portugal to open the championship, and Portugal being a country I usually ride well in, I’m excited to see how these two rounds go. The races in Eastern Europe tend to be more traditional, forestry based enduro terrain, so hopefully they should be good for me. With the final in France this year, it’s going to be a great season!”

Would you say your UK enduro experience combined with racing for an Italian team and training there has helped you be so successful?
“I would say it’s definitely helped, especially growing up in the UK and being forced to race in not ideal conditions. I personally feel being good in the mud is a sign of being a really good technical rider and it’s gives you a great base to ride any terrain. Because, if you can ride the mud, you can generally adapt to ride anything. With the majority of Italy being hard and rocky, spending time training there has definitely helped diversify my riding. There are some very good spots to ride at in Italy and it’s typically easier to find enduro tracks compared to being at home. One thing that’s really helped me this pre-season is riding with the guys and girl in the team and training on some great tracks. It’s helped me elevate my game and we’re all pushing each other on in training.”

Looking back to last year, how did it feel to add another EnduroGP and Enduro2 world title to your collection?
“I’m really proud of myself for what I was able to achieve last year. I would say it was one of the biggest achievements in my career. After a couple frustrating years with injuries, it was great to prove everyone wrong and return to my best. I can’t describe how good it felt to stand on top of that podium in Portugal and lift the number one plate. It was a huge moment for me for sure.”

And finally, what keeps you motivated season after season?
“I have to admit there’s been times in the last few years when I found motivation tough. When things aren’t going well and you aren’t enjoying your racing, it makes you wonder why you’re doing it. Having a big change up this year has given me some fresh motivation and helped reignite my fire. Jumping onto the Honda is a great feeling. I’ve been able to get back to riding how I like to ride, being playful. It’s very refreshing. Working with Honda Racing RedMoto Enduro Team is awesome too. I’m excited for 2024!”

The opening round of the Paulo Duarte FIM EnduroGP World Championship in Fafe, Portugal starts tonight with the AKRAPOVIC Super Test, followed by two full days of racing.