Benito Ros, 30, is a Spanish master of trial biking, a sport where you have to navigate an obstacle course skilfully, without ever putting your feet on the ground for support.
Ros spent most of his childhood on his bike, practising stunts and tricks. When he was 18, a pro biker urged him to try his luck at a national competition for trial biking. Ros entered and won. He has never looked back.
Ros has since won many trophies, including seven consecutive World Championship titles in the 20-inch category and four World Cup titles. He also has five world records to his name. These include most consecutive jumps on the front wheel (235), the highest vertical side-jump (1.42m), and the most candles extinguished with the front wheel in a minute (22).
He will try to improve on two of his world records in Hong Kong tomorrow. Last Tuesday, the biker started his demonstration show with a bang by leaping spectacularly onto the stage. For the next hour, he kept up the intensity, pulling off one stunning stunt after another.
He jumped, twisted and improvised his way through a highly difficult obstacle course.
He made it all seem so simple – whether it was balancing on one wheel on a narrow bar, skipping over people lying on the ground, or leaping over a car. Ros seemed to defy the laws of gravity as he executed his stunts with effortless ease.
In fact, after Ros leapt up off the ground onto a 1.6m high crate with little trouble, the MC had to remind spectators that the best trial biker in Hong Kong struggled to jump up onto a barrel, which was less than three-quarters the crate’s height.
“Trial biking is a very skilful and elegant sport that is hard to master,” Ros says. “It requires a lot of endurance and success won’t come easily.” That is part of the reason why the sport remains relatively little known, he notes. “But I don’t mind this because I feel that I was born to be on a bike,” he adds. Yet he concedes that the sport has taken its toll physically. “I see myself doing this sport for four more years,” Ros says. “My knee is hurting a lot and my endurance is on a decline. After I retire, I might be a coach, an ambassador of the sport, or a distributor for bike parts. I will be happy with a [normal] life.”
But for now, Ros is focused on extending his streak at the World Championship next month. “I will continue to work hard and live by the code that ‘everything must be done to one’s best’, as my old coach used to remind me,” he says.
As for aspiring trial bikers, he has this bit of advice: “Everything is possible!”
You can see Benito Ros in action, including his two attempts at new world records, at 2pm tomorrow at Metro City Plaza II (exit A at Po Lam Station).
Benito Ros in action
Videos by Jason Kan