Interview: Daniela Guillen on her impressive start to the WMX campaign
The WMX series kicked off at Riola less than a fortnight ago and what a start to the season it was for Daniela Guillen. The first moto she kept Lotte van Drunen honest for half of the but impressed finishing second. In the second moto she dominated taking an impressive overall win at the opening round.
Guillen became the first Spaniard to win a round of the WMX series so history was made and now she will be trying to keep the red plate and championship lead.
We caught up with Guillen to discuss her impressive start and more.
GateDrop: We’ve just had the first WMX race of the year… what a performance for you! Has it sunk in yet that you won the opening round?
Guillen: I still can’t believe I’m holding the provisional red plate. I didn’t believe it when I finished the race, and I still can’t believe it now that I’m back in Madrid to continue with the training to keep up the level.
GateDrop: Coming into the season, I am sure you expected to win or at least challenge for wins in hard pack… but to do that in Riola a gnarly sand track! Did you really expect that? How would you describe the track? Very tough for the best MXGP riders in the world never mind WMX!
Guillen: I didn’t expect to win but I did feel I could do a podium because I’ve been training in the sand for the last one month and a half. The track was very technical but I still had fun on the bike. Even though I didn’t grow up training in sand tracks, I enjoy riding in them.
GateDrop: In the first moto you kept with Lotte for half the race, that must have felt good. What did it feel like battling with her and you must be impressed with her in the sand?
Guillen: Yes, she’s very fast. We are two young riders with lots of possibilities in the sport. It’s good to be battling with a rider around your age and on the same professional level.
GateDrop: The second moto was a dream for you, a comfortable victory – what was going through your mind through the race and then as you finished and knew you won the GP? The first Spaniard to win a WMX overall!
Guillen: During the race, I was focused on my riding and on not making mistakes to keep up with the race rhythm. When I finished the race I felt all the work I put in, especially, during the pre-season, had been worth it.
GateDrop: I also saw that you got a picture with Prado in the media centre on the day that he won – a special day for Spanish MX and a day you’ll remember forever!
Guillen: Yes, Indeed. The MXGP season couldn’t start in a better way for the Spanish MX and its fans.
GateDrop: Coming into the season what were your expectations for this year? Have they changed now you won the opening round?
Guillen: The expectations have been the same ever since I knew I was gonna be riding the WMX. I have to say that each year the expectations have been adjusted to approach the final goal: winning the WMX Championship and being the first Spaniard girl to be World Champion. We had been working hard for the last two years, and this is the level we want to keep on to be between the first-world women riders. I want to give a special thanks to GASGAS, and the RFME for the support and the trust they’ve put in me. Also to the WMX LastLap Team that accompanies me and works hard to make all of this possible and that helps put all the pieces together to be the future World Champion.
GateDrop: Just on the WMX class, I feel like this year the series is very strong and deep – maybe the deepest it’s ever been. How would you describe the class?
Guillen: The class this year is at its highest level, and that makes it even harder to be in the firsts positions. The class is growing and this is very good for all of us. We all could see at the Sardinia’s GP that 38 women riders were listed, while in the MXGP and MX2 categories, only 23 and 21 men riders were listed, respectively.
GateDrop: Switzerland is next, a new track for everybody… how are you feeling in the hard pack at the moment?
Guillen: I feel good about having a new track in the WMX race list, and even more if we’re talking hard pack. I shall do my best and I’m training hard to keep up the same path we’ve kicked off the 2023 season.
Interview: Andy McKinstry