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10.14.11

ESPN Interview With Dany Torres

FMX - Torres Interview

This year's Red Bull X-Fighters season was a rollercoaster ride for quiet Spaniard Dany Torres. After claiming first blood and the victory at the Tour opener in Dubai, he crashed in a training accident at home. This caused him to come limping into the second stop in Brasilia finally unable to ride. Nate Adams then started running away with the series lead, but with Adams missing the stop in Madrid it allowed Torres to secure Tour victory number two at his home stop in Madrid.

Torres then crashed out of Rome (after one of the best scoring qualifying runs ever seen at an X-Fighters event) and re-opened the door for Adams. After an epic battle at stop number five in Poland, Adams came out the victor and looked almost assured that the season title would be his in Australia. But, as was the story all year long for almost every rider, Adams succumbed to a training accident at home too and took last place points in Australia while nursing a broken shoulder. Torres was finally able to claim the title he had been striving for and proved that he was worthy of the accolades that many in the FMX world had long labeled him with. I tracked him down in Switzerland to have a chat about his golden season.

ESPN.com: Can you describe this year and how it felt for you?
Dany Torres: This year for me, I think it was really hard. Leading up to Dubai I had a big crash and after that I wanted to try and ride in Brasilia, but I couldn't make it there. Finally we worked hard and now I am really happy.

You came into Brazil with the injury to your foot. Did you think then that there was no chance you could come back and win the championship?
Before, when I had the first crash at my home, I thought "Oh maybe I am done for the championship," and then when I tried to ride in Brazil there was just too much pain in my foot. Before I flew to Brazil I was in the hospital and the doctor told me that maybe I could ride, but he wasn't sure. So I went to Brasilia to try, but it didn't work out.

What was it like to travel all of the way from Spain to Brazil and sit on the sidelines watching those other guys ride?
It was really difficult for me, just sitting in the seats, you know? But I think this year was difficult for everybody, because everybody had an injury.

Is it a surprise to you how many guys got injured this year?
I think that this year the level is so similar and everybody wants to do the best and the more difficult tricks. I think it is because of this that there are more injuries. Everybody wants to push the limits higher and higher, you know? The problem is not the challenge of the courses, but that the championship is very, very important and everybody is pushing and pushing to do better.

Okay, so forgetting the bad stuff for a while, can you tell us what it felt like to win in your hometown of Madrid?
When I win in my country I feel really good because the victory was after my crash at home and the event in Brasilia. I thought, "Okay, now I have the first place in Madrid and maybe I can do more this year." I had two more X-Fighters stops left and I wanted to do the best for the rest of the season in Poland and Australia.

Was it cool to come out and finally get to ride in that Red Bull helmet -- be recognized as a Red Bull rider?
It was really important for me, most importantly for my confidence. Now I want to do more tricks and do much better. My helmet gave me "wings" (laughs) and with this recognition, now I need to push more. That helmet comes with a lot of pressure.

There were a lot of expectations of you coming from Madrid and into X Games, but you always seem to have problems there. Is there something about X Games or Los Angeles that does not work for you?
I went into Los Angeles to win, but I had some small problems. First was with the carburetion of my bike. I found some small problems with that during the training. The second was the ramps -- ramps are different in the USA and I was not used to them. The third -- and most-strange -- was a screw in my back tire. I was nervous because something just felt wrong during training and it turned out there was a screw in my back tire during the whole training. I kept telling my father (Ramon Torres) that something was wrong and at first we thought it was with the front of my bike and we didn't find the problem, because it was behind -- in the back tire. The screw was only causing a slow leak and the air was coming out very slowly, but Ramon was checking the front of the bike and what we thought was a problem with the triple clamps. Two hours later, when the show started, I realized "Whoa, I don't have air in my rear wheel!"

Well if you get invited back to X Games next year, how do you think you would do in Speed & Style? (Note: Dany was also an alternate for Speed and Style at X Games this year and was finally invited into the event at the last minute due to another rider's injury. He had to decline.)
I think that it's good for me to ride in Speed & Style because four or five years ago I rode competitive Supercross. I have a Supercross track at my home. I was the Spanish champion for Supercross and motocross.

Well hopefully next year you get invited in good time and not one-hour before.
Yeah, that'd be nice!

You travel around the world with your father and your brother. How important is family to you?
Really important. My father's my mechanic and goes with me everywhere and my brother goes with me to the Red Bull X-Fighters event because he likes to help me. He tells me sometimes, "Dany, maybe it's good if you change this trick." He sees things from outside of freestyle and I am always riding so I don't notice these things and what the other riders are doing. In Dubai, he told me "You have to change this trick in this round, because the judges are doing this and it would be much better to do this trick on another ramp."

That's really cool, but do you ever see a time when you travel with a different mechanic and not with your father or family?
No, I never think about that. It's really hard for me because I need my father as my mechanic and for everything else.

But what if X-Fighters had a "no smoking" rule? What would Ramon do then? (Note: Dany's father Ramon is famous for always having a cigarette in his mouth, especially during the long wrenching sessions when building and stripping down bikes.)
(Laughs) I don't know. If you told him there were no areas outside for smoking, maybe he would go to the toilet and smoke, or something like that. It would be a problem for him!

So when you are not riding what are you doing off the bike?
I ride BMX with my brother or play tennis, but usually it's something with the bikes. I can't spend two days in my house watching TV; I just have to take the bikes out every day.

You don't do anything creative like Nate Adams? You're not a musical guy, playing flamenco guitar or something?
(Laughs) When the weather is bad in Spain, like raining, I go to parties. That's all I do.

Do you have a special training plan to keep fit and injury free?
No, I just ride the bike. Every day I feel more comfortable with the bike. No gym, nothing. Every day I practice on my bike.

Well it works for you so far. If every rider was 100% fit, who do you think would be the biggest threat for the championship?
Wow, I don't know. Nate Adams, Josh Sheehan and maybe (Levi) Sherwood. Everybody is just so strong, but maybe those are the top-three.

Let's travel back to that recent Saturday in Australia: Obviously you had won the championship and were feeling great, but what did it feel like to sit and watch Josh Sheehan do two double backflips?
When I won the first head-to-head against Todd Potter I thought "Okay, now I am the champion, but I still wanted to fight for the win in Sydney." In the head-to-head with Sheehan I saw that he made two mistakes and after the second mistake he did a double backflip. I thought he was crazy and thought "Well, I can't do that."

So I think this is one of the most important questions for you: All year long we listened to you ride to Duck Sauce's "Barbra Streisand," how do you choose the music for your runs?
(Laughing hard and pointing at his friend/manager Martin Alzugaray) Martin and my brother! That song was from Martin and my brother had me riding to something from David Guetta. I like the music, but I don't remember the name, you know?

Well, thanks for the time -- I know you are really busy. "Muchas Gracias."
Muchas Gracias (said in MUCH better Spanish accent ...)

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