Albert Cabestany retired from the FIM Trial World Championship at the end of last season following a highly-decorated career that stretches all the way back to 1997 when he made his TrialGP debut.
From 2004 to 2016 the man from Tarragona in the Catalonia region of Spain didn’t drop out of the top five in the World and, during his 21 years riding top-flight Trial, amassed an incredible 15 FIM Trial des Nations titles, nine FIM X-Trial des Nations titles and, of course, won the 2002 individual FIM X-Trial World Championship.
After slipping to a disappointing seventh in the 2017 TrialGP series, Albert decided he needed a change and following 13 years with Sherco jumped ship to Beta and immediately fired back into the World top five before deciding to hang up his boots.
However, that wasn’t the last Trial fans would get to see of the 39-year-old and this year he returned on a Gas Gas to sweep the FIM TrialE Cup ahead of Kenichi Kuroyama (Yamaha) with a perfect two wins from two starts including a faultless clean performance at the series opener at TrialGP Netherlands.
“As a rider you always want to win,” said Albert, “so our goal as a team and mine as a rider was to fight for the championship. You never know what will happen and I always expected a close fight with Kenny. We had a good bike and it’s always exciting to have a Yamaha full-factory team in your class so it was a very exciting championship. I put maximum effort into this and in everything I do in life.”
Although an electric motor is very different to a conventional petrol-powered engine, Albert found that he didn’t have to change his technique.
“Basically it was the same, you just adapt your style to the kind of bike you are using. It’s the same if you ride a two-stroke or a four-stroke. Even two different brands of two-stroke should be ridden differently.
“The electric bike can be faster to rev so you need to be ready but I really enjoyed the experience of riding that bike and would love to keep working with TrialE bikes because the development is so exciting!”
Following such a long career in Trial, Albert could be forgiven for wanting to take a long, well-earned rest but – far from it – he’s channelling his energy into an exciting new project.
“It’s a little bit strange because you’ve spent your whole life fighting for one goal and then, in a moment, everything changes! I still have a great level and I could be fighting for podium places but, for sure, I’m not bored at all.
“I’m working on a website that will be online soon where I will teach people how to properly ride a trials bike, giving tips on technique and about bike set-up. That’s why I’ve spent this year riding almost every brand on the market to give to the final user the best advice.
“The members of the site will also have the chance to send me their own videos and I will tell them where they are making mistakes and give advice about how to solve problems.”