N°5 Bike HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING
driver
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SKYLER HOWES

(usa) 1.9m / 90kg

Hobbies

MTB, rock climbing, snowboarding, jet skiing, fishing

Sponsors

Husqvarna Factory Racing

2021: 5th 2020: 9th 2019: Ab. Stage 6

2021: Sonora Rally (2nd), Rally Kazakhstan (10th), Silk Way Rally (2nd), Morocco Rally (12th)
2020: Silver State 300 (1st, Solo), Sonora Rally (2nd), Andalucia Rally (15th)
2019: Sonora Rally (2nd), Morocco Desert Challenge (1st), Serres Rally, Best In The Desert (1st, Open Pro), Vegas to Reno (1st, Solo)
2018: Sonora Rally (1st), Dakar Challenge (1st), Baja Rally (1st)
2017: USRA Desert (1st), Baja 1000 (5th)
2015: ISDE Slovakia (2nd)
2012: AMA National Hare and Hound 250 (1st)
2008: USRA Desert 125 (1st)
5-time Reno Rally Winner

Interview

“Being a factory racer is something I worked my whole life for”

Skyler Howes took a major gamble trying to earn himself a factory ride at Dakar 2021 -and luckily for the 29-year-old American, it paid off. As a privateer, he was forced to pay his own way to Saudi Arabia, although he had a proper bike and servicing courtesy of the BAS Dakar KTM Racing Team. That meant doing a lot of fundraising and selling off his possessions -including the bike on which he rode his first Dakar in 2019- to make it to the start line in Jeddah. But make it he did, before storming to a brilliant fifth place overall. Skyler's objective was to convince one of the factory teams to give him a shot. Following a consistent start, he even found himself leading the rally at the end of the third stage! Skyler got in touch with KTM team manager Jordi Viladoms after the Dakar, and his dream finally came true in April 2021, when he penned a three-year deal with the official Husqvarna team. Skyler has been riding a bike since he was just three years old. Born in California and based in Utah, he turned professional in 2012 and spent many years competing offroad. He was given his first big break by Chris Blais, who finished third in the bikes at Dakar 2007 and fired Skyler's imagination with stories of the world's biggest rally. He also got to know Kurt Caselli before his tragic death in late 2013, describing him as a “huge inspiration” and a “wise” rider who taught him how to keep a level head. Skyler continued their Dakar legacy by making his debut in Peru in 2019, although he now admits he was rather underprepared and that it was a “serious wake-up call”. The stress of the event led to him catching the flu, and he then dislocated his shoulder in a crash and was forced to abandon. He had a much better idea of what to expect at Dakar 2020, but unfortunately suffered a broken neck just three months before the rally. In spite of that setback, he still finished as the top privateer in ninth for the Klymciw Racing team, before improving to that remarkable fifth place in 2021. Skyler has already posted some top results this season, coming second behind long-term rival Ricky Brabec at the Sonora Rally and second behind world champion Matthias Walkner at the Silk Way Rally. The American is one of the best in the world, and now that he has the right tools for the job? The Skyler's the limit.

“Last year was a super big gamble. The Dakar's a gamble in general, because it’s the one race a year you have to perform at. The only option I had was to sell all my stuff. So I sold all my bikes, just about everything I could. The only thing I was left with was my mountain bike, clothes and a bed to sleep on! On the day I took the overall lead, I got introduced to Jordi Viladoms. I was still a privateer trying to figure this all out, and that meant I was able to get a bit more connected. The race went really good, I was really satisfied, but I still didn't get a phone call. A few weeks went by so I emailed Jordi, and said I'm not going to be able to do this again, I've got nothing else to sell. But I think I can bring something to the table, I'd love to be a part of the team. A few weeks later he called back and said he had a spot on the Husqvarna team. That phone call is literally one of the great moments of my life. I've said it a lot, but being a factory racer is something I worked my whole life for. Straight from the phone call I went all in, straight to Dubai to do testing. I got on the bike, got my settings and went straight to work: Sonora Rally, Rally Kazakhstan, Silk Way Rally. I put in a ton of work and had some really good results. Everyone works really well together, it's really cool to be part of the team. Even though it hasn't been very long, they feel like part of my family. Being a factory rider was the goal in general, but being in such an awesome team is the icing on the cake. My mentality has been pretty easy-going. I want to have as much fun as possible, whatever result comes. If it ain't broke, don't fix it! There's a bit more stress off my shoulders, I have the proper equipment and proper tools to ride with. I'm going to enjoy my time out there. I know from how the season's gone that if I'm having a good time, if I'm comfortable and confident, we can do really well. The game plan is to keep doing my thing, have as much fun as possible, and try to put another American on the top step of the podium!"

Vehicle

HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING

HUSQVARNA 450 RALLY FACTORY REPLICA
HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING

  • HUSQVARNA
  • 450 RALLY FACTORY REPLICA
  • Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
  • Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
  • M_GP_NO

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