As a child, my par­ents were al­ways be­ing has­sled by me to take me to as many tri­als com­pe­ti­tions as pos­si­ble. Tri­als were my life and the only thing that mat­tered. The Barcelona in­door trial was ‘The’ event of the year where you could get close to the very top rid­ers. The sights and sounds of the min­ders giv­ing instructio­ns to the rid­ers made my hair stand up on the back of my neck! I started to dream in my mind of ‘Maybe just one day’ — I wanted to be part of it!

My in­door ad­ven­ture started with a ride in the FIM event at Toulouse in 2005 where I fin­ished fourth. A new tech­nique was needed, and I knew I would have to work hard at it if I was to chal­lenge for the podium. My first visit to the podium was a third place in Italy, in Mi­lan. Imag­ine that, for me as a young rider, giv­ing Beta the home win; the crowd went crazy.

In 2006, I would take my maiden win at Sh­effield in Great Bri­tain and the feel­ing was in­cred­i­ble; I had beaten Dougie Lamp­kin in his back yard. I ap­proached round five in Barcelona af­ter some very in­tense train­ing for this event. In the qual­i­fy­ing, both Adam Raga and Al­bert Cabestany beat me, but I was in the fi­nal, along with my fu­ture team-mate Takahisa Fu­ji­nami. Once the fi­nal started, I had my ‘race head’ on, and I won by a very con­vinc­ing mar­gin los­ing nine marks to Cabestany on 23; I had ar­rived. Over the next few years, I would make this my home of in­door tri­als, winning ev­ery year from 2006 apart from 2008 when Raga won. Af­ter winning this year’s 40th Barcelona in­door, and with 11 wins to my name, it’s a dream come true.

Be­fore I close, I must con­grat­u­late the team who have sup­ported me as I took my 50th win in Aus­tria. By the time you read this ar­ti­cle, the X-Trial World Cham­pi­onships will be over, and maybe I will have added an­other ti­tle to my name. One thing is for sure, though; I couldn’t have achieved this with­out the sup­port from ev­ery­one in­volved with Team Rep­sol Honda – Thank you!

Un­til Next Time – Ride On! – Toni

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