LAIA SANZ: A TITLE-WINNING MACHINE!
In the very revealing ‘GASGAS Unfiltered’ episode we recently ran on Laia Sanz, the 36-year-old Spaniard confirmed rumours that she’d made the decision to retire from two-wheeled Dakar competition in favour of returning to her roots in Trial, and finishing off what she started so many years ago with GASGAS.
“My last Trial World Championship was way back in 2013, so it will be tough to be competitive again,” the 13-time Trial World Champ explained in August. “But to return to Trial allows me to reconnect with a period of my life that has such good memories. I feel proud that the GASGAS group has chosen me to be one of the first GASGAS riders of this new era for the Spanish brand. I won my first important World Championship with GASGAS, so it would be really good to win my last with GASGAS too.”
And guess what? She did! On the final day of the 2021 TrialGP Women World Championship’s season finale in Portugal last week, the GASGAS TXT GP 300-mounted Sanz came from behind to clinch her 14th world title. So, where does this rank among Sanz ‘s long list of incredible racing accomplishments, which includes 10 Women’s Trial European Championships, five Women’s Enduro World Championships, and an astonishing 11th consecutive Dakar Rally finishes as the highest-placed female competitor?
As always, Sanz played down her achievement with her trademark humility. “It’s been an incredible day, and to win is amazing. Coming back to TrialGP after so many years away, to return and finally be successful and win another world title … it’s amazing. 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. Also, I want to thank the team and GASGAS, they have been so, so good to me. It’s the result that we all worked really hard for.”
And if that’s not impressive enough, Sanz was back in action less than 12 hours later, representing Spain’s Women’s Trial des Nations team. And, riding together with Berta Abellan and Sandra Gomez, she rounded-out her first season of international trial competition in eight years as a member of Spain’s winning team!
Al of which makes us ponder … are women eligible for knighthoods? They ought to be. Or at least, Laia ought to, even if she’s not a British national. If Lewis Hamilton’s seven Formula 1 titles are good enough for the Queen’s recognition, then surely Laia Sanz’s collective 19 world titles on two wheels (that’s not counting the ‘Desert Queen’s’ unmatched 11 consecutive Dakar Rally finishes/wins) is deserving of recognition equally as significant!