What might Triumph's Bassella enduro win tell us about their motocross plans?

A victory for Triumph at one of Spain’s biggest enduro races came with the Tiger 900.

Ivan Cervantes, 2022 Bassella Race enduro.

TRIUMPH is preparing to enter the motocross and enduro scenes in the near future, with announcements relating to their anticipated entrance of the US AMA Pro Motocross championship for 2023 expected soon.

Earlier this month, the British brand turned up to Bassella for one of Spain’s most prestigious enduro races.

They arrived with five-times enduro World Champion Ivan Cervantes and a Tiger 900, which differed from stock only in that it was fitted with knobbies.

The power of the Tiger 900 and the talent of Cervantes proved an unbeatable combination, with the field trailing by 30 seconds at the flag. 
Now, of course, when Triumph announce their official plans for the upcoming dirt bikes, the engine will be half the size, the chassis will likely be quite different and of course the bike will be much lighter than the Tiger. 

But, what is telling is the acquisition of Cervantes. When Beta came into the MXGP World Championship last season, one of the important parts of the programme was Jeremy van Horebeek, a rider of established World Championship calibre who represented a strong benchmark to measure the bike against, as well as offering valuable experience which could be used to develop the bike. 

Triumph will require something similar for their full motocross programme. It will be vital that they acquire talent- probably not equal to that of Cervantes in the enduro world, but at least with the credentials to be able to successfully develop the bike. 

Since it looks like Triumph will be looking to go to the AMA series before the World Championship, it is difficult to see who they could attract from the US. 

Cooper Webb’s position at Red Bull KTM looked uncertain after a tricky West Coast Supercross swing, but since the series moved East the reigning 450SX champion has improved- or had before Detroit happened

Ken Roczen’s future at Honda is increasingly uncertain, after tough results in the first half of the Supercross season, and especially since he indefinitely pulled out of the series last week. 

Elsewhere, the star riders are seemingly locked in. Eli Tomac now looks to have his second 450SX title wrapped up with 42 points in hand and seven races left; Jason Anderson seemingly has no reason to leave Kawasaki where he has revived his career; Adam Cianciarulo is not in the time of his career to be chancing it on a new manufacturer, and the same could be said for Chase Sexton and Dylan Ferrandis; Malcolm Stewart and Husqvarna are trending in the right direction; and Justin Barcia and GasGas seems like one of the best fits in racing right now. 

Perhaps someone like Aaron Plessinger - who had not stepped up in the way that might have been expected since moving to Red Bull KTM for this year even before injury ended his Supercross season - could be an option. 

Otherwise, maybe a rider stepping up from 250s could be the favoured choice for Triumph. Justin Cooper and Colt Nichols are forced to move up to 450s next season regardless of their wishes due to the points rule. Additionally, Christian Craig, Austin Forkner and Jeremy Martin have all made clear their ambitions to move up to the premier class in 2023. 

There are only a finite amount of seats available in the top class, and with so many riders moving up, the addition of Triumph (and Beta) to the field could give them options. 

The question then becomes whether any of these rookies want to risk it with a new manufacturer? It would be something similar to Maverick Vinales moving to Suzuki in 2015, but it could certainly be argued that Suzuki’s MotoGP project more of a known quantity when Vinales signed the contract in 2014 than Triumph’s motocross project is now. 

And that is all before we arrive at perhaps the biggest question when it comes to acquiring riders, and that is how much money Triumph have available to bring the top riders in. That is a difficult question to answer- actually, it is essentially impossible - and we won’t really know the answer until they announce their riders, ironically.