Morning Espresso: Vurb’s 2024 Team Previews: HBI Racing

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Welcome to the offseason and our new ongoing “Team Previews” column. Every week from now until the Monster Energy Supercross season starts in January we will be profiling a big team in the sport. We’ll go through the changes that have been made, analyze results, and give each team a grade on all of their offseason moves. This week we have the HBI Racing and you will find the full schedule below.

The Biggest Question Mark: The HBI Racing has grown exceptionally fast, will they have another stand out year like they did in 2023? 

Who’s In:
#29 Ty Masterpool – 450SX/MX
#42 Caden Braswell – 250SX West/Possibly 450MX (Injured)
#90 Hardy Munoz – 250SX East/250MX
#427 Cole Bradford – 250SX East/250MX
#731 Ayden Shive – 250SX East/250MX
#805 Slade Varola – 250SX West

Who’s Out:
HBI has added more riders in 2024!

Last Season’s Supercross Results:
Ty Masterpool – Did Not Race.
Caden Braswell – 18th (250SX East)
Hardy Munoz – 22nd (250SX East)
Cole Bradford – Did Not Race.
Ayden Shive – Raced 250SX Futures
Slade Varola – Raced 250SX Futures

Last Season’s Motocross Results:
Ty Masterpool – 7th Overall (450MX) 39th (250MX)
Caden Braswell – 15th Overall (250MX)
Hardy Munoz – 38th Overall (250MX)
Cole Bradford – Did Not Race.
Ayden Shive – Raced 450MX at High Point and RedBud
Slade Varola – Did Not Race. 

Best 2023 SX Finish:
Ty Masterpool – Did not race.
Caden Braswell – 10th (250SX East/Atlanta)
Hardy Munoz – 10th (250SX East/Tampa)
Cole Bradford – Did Not Race.
Ayden Shive – 4th (250SX Futures/Atlanta)
Slade Varola – 4th (250SX Futures/Salt Lake City)

Best 2023 MX Finish:
Ty Masterpool – 6th Overall (450MX/Hangtown, Thunder Valley, Spring Creek)
Caden Braswell – 10th Overall (250MX/Southwick)
Hardy Munoz – 19th Overall (250MX/Thunder Valley)
Cole Bradford – Did Not Race.
Ayden Shive – 27th Overall (450MX RedBud)
Slade Varola – Did Not Race.

Offseason Grade: A

The Rundown:
HBI Racing is located out of Florida, and if you go to their Instagram, their address is in Haines City. We all know what that means: this team is destined for greatness. The team is owned and operated by Matt and Darla Bell. During the 2023 Pro Motocross Championship, the team showed the world that they meant business. 

They scooped up Ty Masterpool to race 250MX, but the two parties quickly made the change to 450MX. From that point on, Masterpool became the top privateer in the class more often than not. The opportunity became a fresh start for Masterpool, who up to that point in his career, has been hit or miss after a decorated amateur career. 

Masterpool turned pro in 2019 and has opted out of Supercross at times and has been injured here and there. After two years with Star Racing in 2019 and 2020, he’s also put together his own programs along the way to get to this point. Masterpool was picked up by BarX Suzuki to race 2023 SX, but the two parties split and that brings us to him getting picked up by HBI. Masterpool enters 2024 with an opportunity to race 450SX/MX and looks to build on his 2023 success.

Caden Braswell won the 2022 Nicky Hayden Horizon Award at Loretta Lynn’s and has since ridden for several different manufacturers. He had a ride with Phoenix Honda and then had a fill-in ride with the TLD/Red Bull/GasGas. When that deal was up, Brasfunky made the transition to the HBI Racing for the final three rounds of Pro Motocross as well as the SuperMotocross Playoffs. Unfortunately, we have learned that Braswell injured his knee while preparing for the 2024 season. He currently does not have a return date set, but team owner Matt Bell says that when he does return it will most likely be in Pro Motocross on a 450.

Hardy Munoz will also be making his return to the team. We last saw Munoz at Budds Creek when he had a horrific crash that red flagged the race. He will look to return to form in the 250 class indoors and outdoors.

The second half of this team is full of young prospects looking to make a name for themselves in 2024. With Braswell out, the team scooped up Slade Varola out of the SX Futures class to fill-in on the 250SX West. Varola has 8-8-9-4 scores in the 2023 SX Futures results and will be looking to make as many main events as possible. The same goes for Cole Bradford and Ayden Shive. Bell knows that they were consistent night show guys in 2023, so this year the team expects them to be in several main events. 

“From the progress we are seeing, we believe that they are fully capable of that,” Bell said. 

HBI Racing is on the rise and for 2024 the team has welcomed new sponsors such as Canvas, ODI, Dirt Lab Concepts, Moto Muck, The Paint Guy, Tamer, as well as individual race sponsors. Instead of buying a new race rig, Bell said that he decided to invest that money into their engine program. The team has decided to use three different builders: Williams Performance, JMX Motorsports, and HP Performance to, “build motors that are customized to each rider’s preferences,” Bell said.

“Some of our riders like a more explosive engine, such as Munoz and Shive,” Bell said. “Others want smoother power delivery, such as Braswell and Bradford. For the 450 program , Ty will be continuing with Pro Circuit for his engine builds.”

Bell said that the goal of the HBI Race Team is to build riders that the factory teams want to pick up. They eventually want to see this program get some factory support and to get their riders to be the best versions of themselves. If 2023 was any indication of things to come, then this team is well on their way to accomplish just that. 

2024 Rider Projections:
Ty Masterpool – Supercross may be a little rocky to start the season, but Masterpool’s bread and butter is motocross. He will be the top 450MX privateer once again. 

Caden Braswell – Braswell’s injury will set him behind for the season, but will return in 450MX and will be a nice surprise in the class. 

Hardy Munoz – Munoz will continue to strive for the top 15 indoors and out. 

Cole Bradford – A young prospect, with a little bit of pro experience, he will be trying to make as many main events as he can in ‘24 and looking to break the top 20 outdoors. 

Ayden Shive – A young prospect, with a little bit of pro experience, he will be trying to make as many main events as he can in ‘24 and looking to break the top 20 outdoors. 

Slade Varola – A young prospect with only 250SX Futures experience, he will be trying to make as many main events as he can in a stacked 250SX West. 

Team Members:
Owners: Matt and Darla Bell
Team Manager: Chris Alley
Crew Chief: Sean Burdette
Masterpool’s Mechanic: Austin Albrecht
Munoz’s Mechanic: Zack Young
Shive’s Mechanic: Donnie Shive
Bradford’s Mechanic: Sean Burdette
Varola’s Mechanic: Jake Durocher
Transport Driver: Joe Thomas
Media: Clutch Media

Thanks for reading my series of team previews for the coming season. If you’d like to talk about these or any of the other stories that I’ve written you can email me at [email protected] You can also reach me on Twitter/Instagram: @troydogvurb.

2024 Team Preview Schedule:

10/13 – Troy Lee Designs / Red Bull /  GASGAS Factory Race Team

10/20 – Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki

10/27 – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

11/5 – HRC Honda

11/12 – Monster Energy Kawasaki Factory Racing

11/18 – AEO Powersports KTM

11/21 – Partzilla PRMX

11/27 – Heartbeat Hot Sauce/Team Solitaire

11/28 – Rock River Yamaha

12/4 – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing

12/6 – Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha

12/13 – HBI Racing Kawasaki

12/15 – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna

12/18 – HEP Motorsports

12/20 – Triumph Racing

12/22 – Madd Parts Kawasaki

12/24 – Liqui Moly Beta Racing

12/26 – MotoConcepts Racing

12/28 – Firepower Honda

1 /3 – Phoenix Racing Honda

1/ 5- Bar-X Suzuki

Main image: HBI Racing

Written by Troy Dog

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