2021 has been quite a year for GasGas Factory Racing’s Laia Sanz. The 35-year-old Spaniard won three world championships—two of them in different motorcycle disciplines, plus a team title.
Last month Sanz won her 14th FIM Women’s Trial World Championship after returning to the sport after a seven-year break. Sanz snatched the title from longtime nemesis Emma Bristow at the TrialGP of Portugal—the final round in the 2021 series—by taking the win and Bristow finishing in P3.
“Coming back to TrialGP after so many years away, to return and finally be successful and win another world title, it’s amazing,” Sanz said after the Portuguese round. “It’s not been an easy year for me, so I am proud that I have been able to do what I hoped I would.”
The day after taking the individual title, Sanz scored another world championship at the 2021 FIM Women’s Trial des Nations as part of the Spanish team with Berta Abellan and Sandra Gomez. Riding as a team with the two best scores in each section going toward the total, the Spanish squad cleaned 29 of 30 sections, scoring just five points in Section 4 on the first loop. Great Britain was the runner-up with 12 points on the day.
“Winning the Women’s Trial des Nations World Championship with team Spain is the perfect way for me to finish my trial season,” Sanz said. “Yesterday was already an amazing day, so today just makes things even better.”
Now, Sanz has added the 2021 FIM Women’s Enduro World Championship to her résumé. As with the Trial World Championship, Sanz was returning to EnduroGP after a break so she could focus on rally racing. In her first EnduroGP season since 2016, Sanz went into the 2021 season’s final weekend in France with the series lead and came out with the title. Sanz took five wins in six rounds, with teammate Mireia Badia finishing second in the standings.
“It’s been an amazing weekend. I’m really happy,” Sanz said. “To get the title is amazing and, of course, this season I have won two, so it has been a fantastic year.”
Sanz hasn’t abandoned rally racing. In January, she finished in P17 overall at the 2021 Dakar Rally—the best-ever finish for a female racer. It was her 11th consecutive finish in the Dakar Rally.
Photography by Sebas Romero et al