Champion without limits
Corbera de Llobregat (Barcelona)
Despite not being able to revalidate her 6th Enduro World Champion title due to an engine breakdown problem, expands her list of achievements at the end of her seventh consecutive Dakar by becoming the woman who has completed more times the hardest race all over the world in motorbikes. Luckily this year she can celebrate the individual victory at ISDE.
On her KTM Rally 450 reappears at Morocco Rally getting an excellent 8 position after a great race where she reached the 3rd position during the second stage.
Laia finished Dakar in a fantastic 15th position with fever and dizziness. With a great spirit of improvement, adds her fifth Enduro World Champion title and the eighteenth of her wide list of successful results. Laia also gets a fought second position at ISDE in both individual and teams categories, and takes part for the first time in several Cross Country World Championship races with great results.
A successful season for Laia. Gets an incredible 9th overall position at Dakar, beats her fourth Enduro World title, and wins her fourth gold medal at the X Games in Austin (EEUU). Along the year takes part to Baja Aragón, Rally TransAnatolia, Morocco Rally and Merouga Rally, achieving great results.
Being the undisputed queen of female trial decides to focus in Enduro and Rally Dakar. This gives her the chance to reach her third world Enduro championship and fourth Dakar Female Trophy. Laia. Participates in Morocco and Merzouga Rally as HRC official rider getting brilliant results in both races, and finishing in the first place in one stage of Merzouga.
In motor racing, together with Francesc Gutiérrez, became the first team in Spain to overcome a 24 hours race.
Takes part for the first time at the X Games winning 3 gold medals and 1 silver medal within the four appointments of the season. Gets again the triple win of the previous year, even experiencing a difficult and hard Dakar.
Laia wins her first Enduro World Championship, receiving an open fracture of the big toe during the last round of the championship. And also revalidates both trial and Dakar first female titles.
Laia’s biggest dream comes true and debut at Rally Dakar with an exceptional demonstration of talent and strength. Comes back home with the female Trophy and the worldwide recognition in this discipline, unknown for her until then.
Fantastic season where she gets the triplet and makes her debut at the Enduro World Championship to prepare her major goal: Rally Dakar.
Continues with her good results and gets a new double. Laia also finishes 3rd at the Spanish Championship TR2.
After a bittersweet previous season, in 2008 signs again an excellent year where she wins both the World champion and European title, as well as the Female Nation Trial Competition.
After 7 World champion titles, her major rival Iris Kramer takes over which would have been the eight consecutive title for Laia.
Being the only girl of the competition enters the podium in 3 occasions at the World Junior Championship and sums one more double.
Signs for the team Montesa Repsol HRC and one of her new team mates is Dougui Lampkin, Laia’s idol. For the third consecutive year achieves both Women World and European titles.
Starts to take part at some races of the World Junior Championship to improve her level and decides to turn into professional rider and dedicate full time to trial. Gets her second double in Women’s category. Among the awards received the most important is the Best Catalan sportswoman one together with Gemma Mengual.
Finishes in a brilliant 3rd position at the Spanish Junior Championship and reaches her third World Champion title in Women’s category. Adds to this her first Women’s Trial European Championship, giving her the first of the fifth consecutive doubles she will achieve. She also gets the Female Nations Trial Competition with the Spanish team.
Laia does some rounds of the Trial World Championship to learn and help Josep Manzano and Toni Bou. Revalidates Women’s World Champion title.
Laia’s victory at the Spanish Youth Male Championship being the only girl in a competition with categories basically focused to boys. That is why no one before had seen her as an opponent up to date. Laia completes one of her best seasons by winning the first edition of Women’s Trial World Championship and Female Nations Trial Competition with only 14 years old.
Closes the championship in a great 3rd position and asks for permit for missing one afternoon per week at school to train.
After some years riding the Catalan Competitions, Laia participates for the first time at the Spanish Championship getting the 9th position and being the only girl in the competition. This year also takes part of the first non-official Female European Championship and with only 12 years old reaches better results than her rivals, much older than her.
First victory in male categories in a 80cc trial bike. This same season takes part for the first time in a female trial where competes with 50 girls of around the world.
Laia Sanz’s story is about a young athlete who became one of the best talented trial rider worldwide.
At the age of 2 she rode a bike for the first time together with her dad, probably the responsible of her passion for motorsports. Only with 4 years old she took her brother’s bike, Cota 25, without noticing anyone and she started to know what she really liked.
In 1992 her mum encouraged her to participate to a Catalan Championship race for children which was taking place at her birthplace, Corbera de Llobregat. Laia finished in eight place, bottom of the group, but the experience was such amazing that in 1993 she did the entire championship.
Her first victory in male category arrived in 1997, in a 80 cc trial bike. This season also took part for the first time in a female trial championship together with 50 girls of around the world.
Year on year, female trial participants were growing up and in 1998 there was the first non-official Europe Championship where Laia was the winner. By then she was only 13 years old but her major rivals were much older than her, and for the first time Laia thought about the idea of becoming a professional trial rider. So she decided to participate at the Spanish Trial Championship, where she was the only girl riding.
Immediately the results of her talent turned into victories. Without any expectations on it, in 2000 she won the Spanish Trial Championship in her category. Up to then, no one had seen Laia as a rival since she was the only girl competing in categories done for boys basically. This victory was the beginning of an exceptional athletics career which brought her to participate in both Women’s Trial World and European Championships, and were she ended first and second respectively.
In 2001 Laia won again the Women’s Trial World Championship and became second at the European one. Notwithstanding, for the following 5 season she won both Women’s Championships, participating at the same time to male competitions where she obtained great results as well. In 2007 she could not revalidate her Trial World Champion title, but from 2008 onwards she continued on the highest step of the podium in both competitions.
At the age of 24 she had a great list of achievements: 10 time Women’s Trial World Champion, 9 time Women’s Trial European Champion, 4 titles Female Nations Trial Competition. Looking for new goals, this same year she made her debut at the Women’s Enduro World Championship reaching the 3rd position without any kind of experience in this discipline. It was one of the previous steps to prepare Rally Dakar, Laia’s biggest childhood dream, which became true in 2011 not only participating but winning the Female Trophy and finishing in the 39th absolute position. Only a few months later she won again Women’s Trial World and European Championship as well as Female Nations Trial Competition. Into the bargain she became second at the Women’s Enduro World Championship. Immediately after she signed with GasGas.
2012 was a great year for Laia, she achieved an historical triple win, successfully retaining her victories in Dakar and Trial World Championship and winning for the first time Women’s Enduro World Championship.
During the next year she did it again, achieving the World Champion title for trial and Enduro. She also finished a hard Dakar for the fourth time in a row, in which she went down in history by finishing stage eight in a brilliant 12th position.
Within the same year 2013 she took part for the first time to the four races of the X Games, where she won 3 gold medals (Foz do Iguaçu, Barcelona and Los Angeles) and 1 silver medal (Munich).
2014, a special year for Laia Sanz. After 13 Trial World Champion titles she decided to left this discipline to focus in Enduro and Rally Dakar, which permitted her retaining the 3rd Women’s Enduro World Champion title and increase her achievements up to 16, overcoming the legend Giacomo Agostini.
On her way to Dakar Laia participated in two African raids obtaining great results. She made her debut to Morocco Rally as Honda HRC official rider, where she finished in the 10th overall position. A few months later competed in Merzouga Rally, in which she reached the sixth position and went down in history once again by becoming the first woman in winning a stage in a motorbikes raid.
Still in 2014 she leaded an impressive automotive feat together with Francesc Gutiérrez, by turning into the first team of two drivers in overcoming a 24 hours race in Spain, during the 24 hours of Barcelona in Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
In 2015 Laia beat all her records up to date during her fifth consecutive Rally Dakar finishing in an excellent 9th absolute position, the best result of a woman in motorbikes within the 37 editions of this Rally. Four months later she debuted as a KTM official rider at the Enduro World Championship that would end winning her fourth World Champion title in this discipline and the 17th in her extended list of achievements.
During this same season she reached her 4th gold medal at the X Games of Enduro X which took place in Austin (EEUU). Laia also did a successful participation to Baja Aragon, where she obtained the 5th absolute position and the best result done by a woman in this classic race.
She took part of various Rallies to train for her sixth Dakar. In TransAnatolia Rally she was 6th of the overall classification and first on female category; in Morocco Rally she finished in 11th position; and in Merzouga Rally she achieved a great 5th place and first woman once again.
Besides motorbikes, in 2015 Laia also took part of several automotive appointments: Barcelona RX in Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, SEAT Eurocup, 500 Kilometres of Alcañiz and Barcelona 24 hours of automobile, completed again with Francesc Gutiérrez and being the only team of only two drivers.
In 2016 retained for the fifth time in a row Women’s Enduro World Champion Title, and increased up to 18th her great list of achievements, remaining it still for 2017 when she had to discontinue the last round of the championship in Germany due to an engine breakdown. Back to 2016, she made her debut at the Six Days of Enduro (ISDE) ending in the second position after a tough fight in both individual and teams categories.
For Laia Rally Dakar was not easy this year. During the last days of the competition she fell ill and she had to ride with fever and dizziness. Consequently she had a huge crash causing a clavicle ligament sprain on the right side. Laia took strength from the weakness and crossed the finish line in an amazing 15th absolute position. Once more she honoured her motto “Who has the will has the strength”.
During 2016 she also took part for the first time in several rallies to train for the next Dakar: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, ending in a great 6th position; Sealine Cross Country Rally in Qatar, where she had to abandon due to a crash during the second stage; and Atacama Rally, in which she signed a deserved 12th position after facing some troubles during the race, like pushing the motorbike for almost 1,5 kilometers walking due to a petrol issue.
In Dakar 2017 she finally got the 16th position at only 50 seconds of entering again to top 15 classification. Nonetheless with this final result Laia expanded her legend as the female rider who has finished Rally Dakar more times in motorbikes: 7 consecutive times since her debut in 2011, and the last fourth ones finishing between the best 16 men of the rally (16th in 2014, 9th in 2015, 15th in 2016 and 16 in 2017) and always wining the Female Trophy.
This year she focused on her preparation for the last Enduro World Championship but even the excellent training done, she lost the opportunity to fight for this more than deserved title. Luckily she could celebrate her individual victory in ISDE and sign fantastic results in Atacama Rally and Rally OiLibya Morocco.
After 8 months without competing in raids, she reached a great 11th position with her KTM 450 Rally in Atacama Rally. A few weeks later, she emerged again in Morocco where she finished in an amazing 8th place and only at 23 seconds of the seventh position. Besides fulfilling her mission she went one step further in driving and self-confidence which brought her to achieve meritorious results. Laia attained the third place at the second stage of the race, which will be noted to competition story as the best result of a woman in this discipline.