If you enjoy adrenaline and speed in sports, you probably already know the career of Laia Sanz, or also known as The Queen of the Desert: a true trial machine, he is enduro and rally . She has been trial world champion thirteen times, enduro world champion five times and has completed the Dakar Rally eleven times, where she beat her opponents in the women's category, achieving the best women's result in history.
Despite the fact that Laia began in the discipline of motorcycling when it was exclusively practiced by men, his effort and perseverance did not at any time stop his desire to gain a foothold in the sport. He has been able to encourage many women to get into motorcycling and has also shown that his talent is just as recognizable as that of a man who practices the same discipline. If you want to know more about some curiosities about the personal and professional life of the enduro and trial world champion, keep reading to find out.
1. Where and when was Laia Sanz born?
The enduro and trial world champion was born on December 11, 1985 in Corbera de Llobregat, Barcelona. It was there that, at just four years old, he got on his brother's motorcycle and began to be aware that the world of motorcycling really attracted him. Despite having grown up in Corbera de Llobregat, when Laia became independent she moved to Seva, a very quiet municipality located in the Osona region of Barcelona.
2. At what age did you win your first race?
It was in 1997 when Laia participated in her first men's championship with an 80 cc motorcycle and won it, but it was not until a year later, in 1998, when the Catalan entered the first women's European Trial Championship ( unofficial at that time), where again, he took victory. Laia was only 13 years old and had already competed against great opponents much older than her and with a long career, but even so, this did not stop her and she managed to win the number one position in said competition. It was at this moment that she decided that trial was her great passion and she enrolled in the Spanish Trial Championship, becoming the only female participant in it.
3.What is the career that has given you the most satisfaction?
As the Catalan woman has confessed in various interviews for national media, the championship that has given her the most satisfaction and one of the best memories of her career was the National Men's Trial Championship in 2000, where in addition to being the only female participant, won in the cadet category against great opponents. It was from that moment when Laia began to see herself as a great rival in the competitions she attended, and also, that victory marked a before and after in her sports career. In that same year, she placed first in the women's world championship and second in the women's European trial championship, and all her achievements began to be significant for professional sports.
4. When did you debut in enduro?
Despite considering herself a rookie in this discipline, the Catalan enrolled at the age of 24 in the women's enduro world championship, where her inexperience was not a problem and the Catalan finished third. This was a decisive step for the Catalan, who two years later would be making her debut in the Dakar Rally, a great dream for her since she was very little. After this first test in enduro, Laia won her first title in this modality in 2012, winning the women's world championship held in Italy. After this first victory, four more followed, making her a five-time world enduro winner in her category.
5. What was your first Dakar Rally?
In 2012, and after having positioned herself as enduro and trial world champion on numerous occasions, Laia Sanz fulfilled her great dream: participating in the Dakar Rally held in Chile and Argentina. She did it with the help of the coach and former driver Jordi Arcarons, who, in addition to instructing her, managed to take her to position number 39 with very good feelings. After this first Dakar came another ten, where she managed to position herself ninth in 2015 and break the record, this being the best result for a woman in the Dakar Rally.
According to the pilot there are many details such as the mechanics to endure or the danger that there is. We are talking about many kilometers of travel that can make you fall at any time. Sanz counted the kilometers that he has traveled in total and added up to 80.000
Upon reaching the final they gave him a 5 trophy.000 euros unlike Kevin Benavides, another Dakar champion, who received 50.000 For the pilot it is not a case of discrimination since she did not do it "good enough", according to her statements. However, he admitted that he would like the difference not to be so big. Sainz is proud not only of her awards but of having opened a path for all women in the world of motorsport. At the beginning of his career, he only competed against boys and created tensions every time he beat him. She says that since then, little by little, the career of women in these sports has been advancing without being looked down on.
6. Where was your first automobile outing held?
After having been proclaimed world enduro and trial champion on several occasions and having successfully completed several Dakar Rallys, Laia Sanz wanted to enter the automotive world with Francesc Gutiérrez, a driver with whom she participated in the first 24-hour race of resistance held in Spain in 2014. The team took position number 12 and also achieved victory in the A3T category with a Seat León Cup Racer. Both have confessed that it was a high-calibre mental and physical challenge that requires a lot of preparation, concentration and dedication. Laia also participated individually in the Seat Eurocup, in the Barcelona RX of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and in the 500km of Alcañiz.
7. What happened in the 2016 Dakar Rally?
Laia Sanz participated in the Dakar Rally held in Argentina and Bolivia with angina that forced her to drive with fever, nausea and dizziness. In this way, and due to her physical conditions, the Catalan suffered a fall that caused her to strain ligaments in her clavicle. Despite the difficulties, Laia did not give up the race and finished fifteenth. The enduro and trial world champion confessed after this Dakar Rally that you cannot throw in the towel at the first difficulty that appears, because that is what the Dakar is all about; It is a tough competition in which you cannot lower the bar.
8. What was the worst moment in the life of Laia Sanz?
In an interview that she conducted for Eloi Vila, she confessed that the hardest moment in her life was when she suddenly fell ill due to an inflammation of a heart valve that prevented her from getting out of bed during three months. He recognized in the TV3 program that it was the most difficult stage of his life because he was afraid of not recovering. Luckily, after a few months of rest and medical instructions, Laia Sanz came out ahead and recovered in a matter of weeks.
9. What awards does Laia Sanz hold?
In addition to the medals and trophies that she has won in trial, enduro and rally competitions, the Catalan has won multiple recognitions from newspapers, magazines and clubs since she began to stand out as an elite athlete. In 2007 she was awarded the Reina Sofía National Sports Award and in 2013 she received the Gold Medal of the Royal Order of Sports Merit, the most important title in Spanish sport.
10.Did she go out with Jaume Betriu?
Laia Sanz maintained a close relationship with Jaume Betriu, Spanish champion of this discipline. Both participated together in the 2020 Dakar Rally held in Saudi Arabia, where Laia won the women's category and he managed to win the position of best enduro rookie in the marathon category. In an interview they did after the Dakar, they confessed to having enjoyed the experience very much, but they also stated that it was hard to see the difficulties of both of them live.
At the moment the pilot wants to remain at rest and not force her body, so she does not think about Dakar 2022. However, the athlete's desire and her competitive attitude lead her to dream of wanting to fulfill new dreams like the ones she will face in a much more conscious way.
There is no doubt that Laia Sanz's career is inspiring and brilliant. She fought for her dreams from a very young age and faced great gender differences that did not prevent her from standing out among men and women. After having been trial and enduro world champion on multiple occasions and having broken the record for the woman with the best position in the 2015 Dakar Rally, the Catalan has more than demonstrated that she deserves all the titles she holds and that the dedication and the will are two of the most important maxims to achieve dreams.