01/11/15 - Andrea Tron: from Gas Gas official mechanic to freelance !

Andrea Tron, a familiar face on the world round fields. A high school diploma and a move away from engineering at the university, in order to accept casually a job as a mechanic, his great passion, in Gas Gas Italy. From 1999 to 2014, worker for Italian Importer of the Spanish brand, Claudio Favro, as a mechanic preparer of the team riders' bikes. And we mean - in order of appearance - Steve Colley (who attended the Italian Championship in 1999 and 2000), Fabio Lenzi, Daniele Maurino, Matteo Grattarola. But his experience is not limited to the borders of our country. The importer of the Gas Gas, Claudio Favro, also becomes responsible for the world championship riders of the Spanish brand from 2012. For Andrea begins a tour de force with a trip after another, surely envied by many friends of him, but there were not travel-vacations. To prepare the bikes for the whole team it meant working late into the night, just because a rider had experienced a problem and you had to solve it. Pilots ranging from world number two Adam Raga,to the seven-time world champion Dougie Lampkin, assisted in the famous Scottish Six Days, too or still in the world championship, British Michael Brown, French Loris Gubian , and of course Italian number one, Matteo Grattarola.

Unfortunately this experience was matured in recession, with cuts every year on the budget , because of the number of bikes sold were even less and less, such less to need to re-negotiate his contract with his boss, Favro. Not more worker for but self-employed payed for just the hours actually spent for assistance. Practically he become freelance, and though this was one of his dreams, he never imagined to realize it so early. At this point at the age of 35 he reinvented himself beginning with this start-up, and he is really proud of it, even if it takes all his time, penalizing what he can dedicate to his young wife Francesca with whom he shares the same house where he has placed his “atelier” , and the little baby Matteo.

How your new job is going? What's different?

Well, , working on your own after having worked for 15 years in the Gas Gas Italy as employed, is different. When I was there , I got whatever I needed because someone else (Claudio Favro) provided it and now when I work for them as self-employed it is still the same. On the contrary here it is up to me to organize everything with a bit more anxiety , but it is part of this new game.

Which are your clients right now ? Are those ones belonging to the racing world ?

Yes , the main client remains Gas Gas Italy , I mean I continue to prepare for them the racing bikes in Italian , European or World series depending on which competition I have to give the assistance. Then there is who knows me by seeing me on race tracks and contacts me, also who is not owner of a Gas Gas . Anyway, the 90% of my work is on Gas Gas , but I got requests on other brands, too.

You are known as an expert on the suspension, right? But not only it seems ...

Well, it is true in Italy, also because now the Tech company gave me this new assignment as Racing Service assistant in the world championship, so I work a bit more on suspensions than before, but my real job is 360 ° on the bike. It goes from the cylinder to the crankshaft, rather than the radiator, or the mapping of ignition... here you can see some bikes I'm working at. This job takes a lot a time and it is quite complex. Normally the client that comes to me wants something of special, and I am saying it for false modesty. But please do not misread me, I do not pretend to be considered as the real legends in this field, come out when in the past Italian trial manufacturing was at the top. There were famous technicians as Seregni, Viscardi, coming from SWM or Fantic, or even more lately, Riccardo Bosi or Paolo Grossi and I apologize if I forgot someone... at that time they have shaped the history of trial, because every day they worked on bikes to create competitive ones able to win a world championship. Now it was a bit changed, though Beta continues to have excellent technicians. What I really try to do is “to sew a custom-made suit”, because the standard bikes today, let's say it, are all already very good. As some senior in Trial was saying the trial bikes that do not fit very well are not those of today, but those of the 70s, the 60s... it is obvious that those of today are made for an average user, who weighs 75 kg and maybe is facing kind of average sections. Probably there will be someone for whom the level of the bike is too high and someone for whom the level is too low, someone weighs more, someone less, someone wants suspension slower, others faster ... and then as technician I try to make up for these shortcomings ... or better, I try to meet the special needs customer, that's it!

So who is your standard customer? One oriented to the competitions?

Well ... there's the classic " psychopath " of Trial : who wants something that his friend doesn't have and something to make his bike very particular, so that no one else has. Anyway the 70 % of my clients are racing ones. I worked for Kyle Middlenton Australia rider supported by Gas Gas importer Paul Arnott , or Stuart Preston in the United States , still Jack Burke in Estonia. I also helped a Belgian team, where Julien Russel clinched the Belgian championship title this year. I collaborated with John Shirt ( UK Gas Gas importer ). I'm happy when they turn to me for some special requests.

So you prepare a racing bike , in what consists to prepare a racing bike ?

Yes, let me correct you, I agree the preparation I do is for a racing bike, but even who is riding just for fun could need to adapt his bike to his riding. What it seems obvious for a bike ready to compete in TR1 class is not always real. I mean it must be more responsive, no mechanical plays, always precise, strong engine, precise clutch: the bike must be the best way to allow the pilot to make the technical movements to overtake any obstacle pursued. Many old trials riders used to say that when the bike does not penalize you, it already means that you get a bonus! The bike of Grattarola is very special, but if it were the one regularly sold it would be easier to use than the one designed for customers average. And many times it is just a matter of time. Many improvements are directly coming from the experiences made in the competitions. Once in the past the bikes had to be upgraded, now the standard bike is already powerful in itself.

I wonder if it can not happen you are asked for the opposite? To reduce the power in some engines to make it more appreciated by kind of “amateurs”?

Yes, it depends on the client, if you think the crankshaft of Grattarola is heavier and well balanced, I almost do a parallel with those who put some weight on their flywheel. Well, there are people that do not want to put it because they think it is for low skill riders, but this is not true. Sometime it is also necessary add weight to obtain different bike “character”.

Can we go through some details of your processing?

Right in detail, I am afraid ... as all the mechanics, I have some secrets, but here I have a crankshaft and I am working to modify the moment of inertia, here are anchors in heavy metal, Mallory, which has a specific weight of 19 and...

What happens if you change the moment of inertia of the engine?

Changes the character of the engine, depends on what you want to achieve, the engine may have more torque at low rpm, more rpm, be more ready in acceleration... we have to think that the motor shaft when running is like a “container” where we put force accelerating and when we close the throttle all the power will be released, this is the moment of inertia...

...and is it what you've changed adding weights ?

...in a sense, adding weight – explained briefly – is done to change the way to turn the shaft in its revolution, driven by the outbreak of the action of the piston, and so to change the way to use the energy given by the cylinder group. As a results you can have a motor more “ready”, or with more torque at low rpm , or with more rpm ...

Which was the strangest thing you faced in your work until now?

I have been a lot of strange things , to choose one now is difficult,... let me think, some of them I can not tell you ...

...please, without mentioning the sinner ?

... but more than the sinner, I wouldn't like to speak of the sinful, that are mostly the bikes themselves, ...of course the demands of riders or amateurs are sometimes strange and it is not possible to satisfy all ... if you take for instance the mono-shock that has a range of 60 mm, 30 mm limited by the buffers, there is someone who wants it helps him in the movements, I mean it push a lot when hitting big obstacles, but it also remains stable after... sometimes it is better that the rider tries to fit his bike, correcting his riding style or even some bad habits because their wonders can not be realized! pilots generally know what they want, maybe they do not know how to obtain it, but it is right that they will have, because only feeling very confident , they can give their best to achieve the results wanted...

Which was your best satisfaction?

It is almost as the previous question, to find the best one right now it is very complicated. Fortunately I do a job where there are many satisfactions. I am happy if the bikes I have prepared are the only to be able in finishing one tough section. It was amazing to win the first Italian championship (with Fabio Lenzi as rider in 2003) or winning all the lately rounds with Grattarola (7 this year + 7 last year). Or when Favro in 2012 asked me to do the mechanical for Gas Gas in the world championship, or when someone from Gas Gas come to me to ask for a piece of advice, or still when the bikes last two seasons without ever breaking, or a tough race ended up without problems, or when someone copies some of my solution, I mean, I see others adopting something that I thought first. They are small but also great satisfactions. Still when a pilot is looking for you to ask for a piece of advice . As you see I have many satisfactions I feel lucky …

What about your future? Are there some dreams to achieve, yet?

I like working as freelance. If I had to choose to be part of a team, obvious the HRC Honda Montesa team is the most coveted, but I guess they do not want me... I am already happy for my actual job. One of my dream is become in Trial what Pro Circuit in USA is for Motocross. A company that provides parts for all the teams, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda, KTM, etc.

But even to go out of Trial world?

No my field remains Trial , even if I happened to make engines for Enduro in a while, but my specialty is and I want to remain Trial .


Andrea Tron: da maccanico ufficiale Gas Gas a lavoratore autonomo

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