Dany Torres had to do battle with injury and two-time winner Nate Adams to win the 2011 Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour title. So his second crack at the overall crown should be easy, right?
Not so, reckons the Spanish star, he thinks the competition will be even tougher this time round…
What has winning the 2011 title done for you? Was it a big deal in Spain?
To be honest, things haven’t changed much. I’ve had a lot more interviews with a lot of different media people but my life is still the same. When I arrived home from the final round in Australia last year, I had a great welcoming party from my neighbours in my hometown of Arahal in Seville. I have to say, it was a very emotional moment.
In the run-up to this season you had surgery on your right foot – is it the same injury you were carrying last year?
Yes, it was the same injury that I’ve been carrying since before Brazil 2011. It was bothering me during the whole season so I decided to have surgery. It’s been fine.
Last year's main contenders suffered a lot of injuries. How difficult is it to keep clear of injury?
Very! We practice an extreme sport and we pretty much perform right to the limit every time, due to the fierce competition. When you spend a whole season performing at such an intense level the probability of suffering an injury is very high. It goes with the territory.
Red Bull X-Fighters is all about consistency, so do you ever step back from some tricks because it’s safer, or do you just go for it?
Only the best riders in the world take part in Red Bull X-Fighters. We all want to win, so generally we don’t hold back, we give our all on each ride.
Do you have a fitness regime?
I normally go cycling, do a bit of weightlifting, stretching… but I spend most of my time on my bike. It’s all I really need.
You recently said that Nate Adams, Josh Sheehan and Levi Sherwood will be the guys to beat in 2012. Do you still think that?
Without a doubt! Those guys are at the top of their game. But I also have to add André Villa to that list. He’s a great rider. In this championship all of the contenders are very talented and any one of them could spring a surprise.
If you had to pick one quality in each of those guys that makes them so good, what would it be?
That’s tough. For Nate, I’d have to say his seriousness. He’s incredibly competitive. Josh Sheehan just has great tricks, such as the 360º and, of course, the double backflip, which he did twice in Australia last year. Levi’s got great tricks and does these impossible extensions, which is why they call him Rubber Boy. As for André Villa, he’s probably the most "delicate" rider out there, the one with the most style. He’s coming back from injury but he’ll be a contender.
What about you? What makes you a champion?
Ha! It’s really difficult to speak about myself, but I suppose I have the ability to learn new tricks quickly and I’m probably the rider with the most tricks right-side up or down.
There are some new venues this year: Glen Helen in the US, Istanbul, Munich… Is it an interesting calendar?
For sure. I like the fact that there are new stops but I will miss places that I love, like Mexico. I loved riding there.
The first stop is Dubai – can you repeat your 2011 win there?
I have great memories of Dubai because it was probably my most complicated victory and I had to work hard for it [Torres had a poor qualifying session and had to battle through the opening round to reach the head-to-heads]. I do think I am capable of doing it again. In fact, I think I’m capable of winning any of the events on the calendar. But it’s one thing to imagine yourself capable of doing it and a very different thing to actually achieve it. It’s going to be an interesting year.
Your dad is your mechanic and your girlfriend and baby tour with you. How important is it having family with you on the road?
My family is very important, but during the season there is one person in particular that I can't live without… my father.
Finally, can you win the title again this year?
You always have to put faith in yourself and that’s why I think I can win it again. But it will be complicated because of the high level of competition. On the other hand, I just hope that we all stay injury free.
The Red Bull X-Fighters 2012 World Tour starts in Dubai on Friday, April 13. Watch it live from 19:15-20:45CET
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