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