In Madrid Spain, Toni Bou, the Repsol motorbike rider showed again that he is the referent in today’s trial world by taking his fifth Indoor World Championship.
With this success, Bou has gathered nine world titles in the last five seasons since he joined the Repsol Montesa Honda Team.
Q: Reaching Madrid with four wins in the four first rounds allowed you to face this Grand Prix with a degree of calmness?
Toni Bou: "Of course, without even thinking about it, I faced this race a bit differently. The pressure in Marseille, Barcelona or Genoa was high, because the Championship is very short and you know you cannot make any mistakes. We are lucky to have an incredible bike, that never fails and all that allowed me to have a little less pressure here".
Q: Five Indoor World Championships, four Outdoor. Have you got any particular aim in mind?
Toni Bou: "I try not to set me any goals, I just focus on my work, and this way things are going well. I had never thought I could secure nine world championships, so now I just will try not to get hurt, enjoy the sport, enjoy life and try to achieve as many titles as I can".
Q: Are you thinking about combining Trial with another specialty, as Laia and other trial riders, who have taken the leap to Indoor Enduro?
Toni Bou: "It is very difficult to combine trial with other competitions. The calendar itself makes it nearly impossible, but with the testing hours you need to do it well, it is very difficult".
Q: Which is the rival that is making your life more difficult?
Toni Bou: "Right now is the second placed, Albert [Cabestany], who is a very consistent rider and always makes things difficult for me. Adam [Raga] has many qualities and he always makes competitions more difficult. And Jeroni [Fajardo] is showing that in critical zones, in areas with very high walls, he is working very well with the Ossa. This is his first year with that bike, and I’m sure he will improve".
Q: Do you see any young rider that could achieve your level?
Toni Bou: "From outside, it looks like Pol Tarrés is the one who is doing better. He is already training at our level, which at only 17 is a real feat. This makes you think that maybe when he learns to avoid his mistakes, that are normal at his age, he can go very far".
Q: Why do the Spanish riders have such a high level and dominate the trial competitions nowaday?
Toni Bou: "In Pol’s [Tarrés] case, he has always had the example of riders such as Adam or myself, we live very near one from the other. And, of course, his uncle, who made history in Trial in his time. All this makes that in our country are many role models and it is easier to make the brands notice you, as they are in Spain, and they give you support before than a rider from another country".
Q: Who did you look up to? Who was your hero?
Toni Bou: "As everyone, when I was young I would look up to Dougie [Lampkin]. He was the one always on top and he would make the difference. I was lucky enough to start in Albert Cabestany’s team and be able to train with him. He would try to teach me and would motivate me to improve."
Q: And outside the trial world?
Toni Bou: "Everyone has their favourite sportsmen. There are football players or sport figures that have been have left their mark, such as Lance Armstrong or Michael Jordan. You always take notice of those athletes".
Q: Five consecutive World Championships and this one with five victories in the five rounds held. Do you think you can raise that bar?
Toni Bou: "Truth is it is already very high and I think it is impossible to repeat a year like this. Everything went perfectly. I made the difference in the races of all the Grand Prix we attended. The races were planned with very difficult zones and that helped me show my riding and also demonstrate that we have a high level".
Q: This was exactly what you asked for in the last years. What did you think about the level of these five rounds?
Toni Bou: "They have been very difficult races and that allowed me to ride a little more at my pace. Maybe the easiest one was the first, but later, in Marseille as well as in Barcelona, Geneva and now in Madrid, the races were very complicated. You took the track knowing that you had the chance to make mistakes that you will be able to recover in other areas".
Q: In these rounds, we usually find zones we could call at "Toni Bou level", where you are the only one able to overcome them. Which is the key to be one step ahead of the rest?
Toni Bou: "Trying to do it better than my rivals. It is very difficult, but it is clear that the one who wins usually does so because he doesn’t make any mistakes, which is the most important thing. And then you make the difference in the places the others are not able to reach. Maybe the difference between climbing or not is only two or three inches. It is a very small difference, but it is what decides the victory".
Q: How will you face the Outdoor season?
Toni Bou: "Now, after the race in Madrid we will start to work on the Outdoor World Championship, taking into account the different conditions we find in those competitions. I am looking forward to start and very motivated".