You are like a new Michael Brown from England, where we gave him the nickname ‘Mighty Atom’.
“My small frame is not a problem as it makes me concentrate more, and yes the nickname ‘Mighty Atom’ is correct, but I will have to be ‘Mighty Atom 2nd’ after Michael. It’s quite funny when you mention Michael Brown as he has been very encouraging towards me since we first met. We share the same approach to being very focused and determined. On the back of my riding shirt I had a donkey and Michael explained that where he lives in Scarborough, they have donkeys on the beach, so we have many things in common” — Hugo laughs!
What attracted you to motorcycle trials?
“I started with my interest in trials at the age of three, thanks to my father. My grandfather and my father also rode in trials at an amateur level, so the sport has been around me for almost all my life. My father still practises as much as he can in between looking after me”.
Trials Media: When did you first start to compete?
“My first motorcycle competition was in Massais at the age of five with a Xispa 25. My local club organised the trial. I cannot remember the result anymore but I can remember that it was so much fun, and from that very day my mind was made up that my future was motorcycle trials; wha t a wonderful memory!”
You mentioned that you have to concentrate so much.
“With my small physical size, I have no choice but to concentrate more on my technique. This is because the slightest error no matter how little can be quickly transformed into a failure. My mindset is to break down the bigger obstacles to overcome them mentally and this way I can then plan my route through them. I must admit I am not strong enough… Mother Nature designed me that way”.
When did you start to achieve success?
“In the MT3 category, I won my first French Championship when I was six years old. During this period we travelled a lot to Spain to take part in the Catalonia Youth Championship. At the time Catalonia had a really good calendar with about ten rounds. It was really great, and I enjoyed these times as it was very much family fun”.
Do you have any other sports interest at school?
“At College, we practise many different sports disciplines, but martial arts sports are my favourites. I am generally in very good shape as I train so much both on and off the motorcycle. My school programme is the same as the other young pupils in my age group. It was made quite clear to me at a very young age just how important my education is as once you have achieved your grades you have them forever. My parents are very serious about school and my education. My father made it quite clear: I have to achieve good grades or no trials riding — as simple as that”.
Your first ride in the Trial World Championship was in Spain 2017 at the opening round.
“I really enjoyed the Trial World Championship. It was such a pleasure to be among all my idols, and I was made very welcome. I must also take this opportunity to thank Trial Magazine — John coming to find me and speak with me at the opening round in Spain. The day started well, and after the first lap, I was just one mark behind the leader and eventual champion Lorenzo Gandola. On the second lap I had a puncture, and then the very heavy rain came and raised the severity of the hazards. However, I still came home third; it was a good experience to be part of ”.
Do you receive direct support from the Gas Gas factory?
“I have always had a very good relationship with Gas Gas. My parents always remind me of the opportunities they sent my way. The Spanish brand has supported me from a very young age and to have been able to compete in the Trial 125 World Championship with their support is something I will always remain grateful for. They have helped me not just with mechanical support but also with the whole trials experience. The team riders and staff have always been very kind to me. The new association with Jitsie is the start of another new exciting chapter in my life. The last few years I have begun to notice their enthusiasm, which comes through in their products such as the new dynamic clothing designs. They are such a professional company. I feel very privileged and proud to be part of their 2018 team.
You mixed the Trial World Championship with the European series in 2017. Was there a reason for this?
“2017 has been a fairytale year as I won all the national championships I competed in: European Youth Championship, Open Championship of France and Hope 1 and the Team Championship of France. We decided to give priority to the European Championship over the World Championship. My father decided that we had to get things in perspective. That’s what we did, and for this reason, I didn’t go to Japan because the dates clashed with a part of the European Championship in Latvia. In the end, it was a time for double celebration as I also made good grades in my schoolwork — Result!”
Tell us about your plans for 2018
“In 2018 I will compete in the Trial 125 World Championship and in the Senior Class Championship in France. I aim to do my best and have some fun. I have to thank everyone who has made it possible for the adventure to arrive at this point. I would also like to thank my parents who have forsaken so much to support me; I love them both so much. Bring on 2018 I cannot wait”. Trial Magazine would like to thank Eric Lejuene for his help in generating this article.
2017 Andorra: With Michael Brown, the original ‘Mighty Atom’.
63 2017 Andorra: Gas Gas is my motorcycling family.
2017 Spain: On the podium after a frustrating day.
65 2017 France: “I must be faster in qualifying”. 2017 Great Britain: 100% concentration!