Despite a broken foot, calling Spain home and financially struggling from race to race, Sandra Gomez beat the odds stacked against her to become the 2015 AMA Women’s EnduroCross champion.
Forced to skip round one due to costs, Gomez faced an uphill task of winning the title. But wins at rounds two and three saw her pick up support from Husqvarna. Despite a lowly seventh at round four, Gomez secured a brace of top three result to put her in championship contention with just one round remaining.
Pulling a win out of the bag when she needed it the most, Gomez became the 2015 AMA EnduroCross Champion…
Congratulations Sandra, how does it feel to be an AMA EnduroCross champion?
Sandra Gomez: “It’s great. When you work so hard to achieve a goal like that it’s finally great to get it.”
It wasn’t an easy run for you either having spent the majority of it racing with a broken foot?
“I really wanted to be trials world champion and EnduroCross champion in 2015. When I crashed and hurt my foot one day before the start of the trials championship in September it was the worst feeling in the world. It was a silly crash that left me with a broken foot. Fortunately I could recover quickly and finish the EnduroCross season with my first AMA title.”
Has it been difficult to commute from Europe to America for the series?
“When I decided to race EnduroCross my plan was to do all races. I wanted to be in round one in Daytona but I didn’t have the budget to make it. I had to pay accommodation, flights and bike transportation myself. I’d have to fly to the west coast and find a way to get to Daytona. It’d be really expensive. So I decided to pay for the next two rounds, which I won. Both these rounds in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas were awesome. I got the win in both.”
Competition was pretty tight this year in endurocross, right?
“There were lots of good riders in the Women’s class this year. Obviously my greatest battles were with Rachel Gutish, Lexi Pechout, Shelby Turner and Morgan Tanke. Then we had some other great riders making selected appearances, like Maria Forsberg, Tarah Gieger, Laia Sanz and Emma Bristow. It wasn’t an easy season and I had to keep fighting until the end.”
Do you feel the 125 two-stroke is the right bike for you in endurocross?
“The 125cc two-stroke is perfect when the track is small and technical. But when the track is fast with lots of jumps it might be a bit slower. In tricky parts like rock crossings, the matrix or water sections, the power the 250cc or 300cc bikes have is an advantage. My Husqvarna TE 125 is a super light bike and that helps a lot in technical stuff. It also helps when you crash and need to lift the bike. The only thing I’d need would be an electric starter. Our plan is to keep racing the 125cc bike for some years in order to learn and improve.”
You also took on the Red Bull Romaniacs during the summer. What was that like?
“Racing Romaniacs was a tremendous experience. Actually it was my first multi-day extreme enduro event. I had a stupid crash on the last day going downhill. I couldn’t get back to the track so I lost two hours. I was seventh before that in Bronze class but finished 25th. Getting to ride your bike in the Romanian paradise is an experience of a lifetime. Also it was really cool to see my brother Alfredo compete. I’d never been to one of his extreme races before. Next time I might try to race the Silver class. I definitely want to return to Romania.”
What’s it like to have your brother Alfredo in your corner?
“I get along really well with Alfredo. I’m lucky to have him as a brother. We try to train together but it’s not possible every day. When I train for indoor enduro I always want to do it with him. It’s a great advantage to have one of the best guys around at home. Sometimes we also train together on road bicycles, mountain bikes, ski, running or just going to the gym. He brought me to enduro racing and helped me a lot in the beginning when no one knew who I was. From then on it was totally my thing to work hard and get better.”
What are your plans for next year?
“I have no fixed plans for 2016. The only thing I know for sure is that I’ll race the round of the 2016 SuperEnduro Championship where they’ll have a Women’s class. Then we’ll have to see.”
Finally who would you like to thank for helping you out this year?
“Of course my family and friends. This wouldn’t happen without them. But one of the best things with travelling and racing in the States was the people I met. I made friends in Salt Lake. I met Kurt and Laurette Nicoll and many fellow racers like Nicole Bradford, Ty Tremaine, Cory Graffunder and Dustin Headwall. I also can’t thank enough my Husqvarna team, the mechanics, Colton Haaker, Mike Brown and Tim Weigand. At the end of the season I felt I had a little family there.”
Photos: Drew Ruiz, Robert Lynn/Future7Media