Colt Nichols on his journey to the 250 East coast red plate

250 East coast championship leader, Colt Nichols, revealed in the press conference he could have given up on his career, but endured the privateer life in the hope of being able to get to to the level he is now as the odd-on favourite to win the 250 East title after his third win a row.

“That’s what you want to hope for, but to say that I expected to be here? I don’t know,’ said Nichols on the likelihood of getting to the top from where he was. “I guess that’s what kept me going in those times when I didn’t know if I was going to race or not. After the Team Green years, I did Arenacross. I got that set up through Ryan Holiday, the Team Green guy. Did that, and then that summer I raced in Costa Rica just because I had no other real option to go race. That was the only thing I could do to get paid a little bit of money! Then right after that I did Crossland Honda, just because Guy Cooper was the team manager. There to Rock River, then Rock River to here (Star Racing Yamaha).

“During those times, like the ’13, ’14 era, I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I could have very easily went the other way and went to school or done whatever, but it was always for these kind of moments right there. That’s why I kind of kept going. Robbie [Reynard] was a big factor in all that. He really pushed me and told me I could do it one of these days. So I just kind of leaned on him a little bit in those times. It’s riveting to be at this point. There’s still a lot more to go and a lot more I want to accomplish, but just to be at the point I am now, I’m definitely soaking it all in and enjoying it day by day. Just thankful, really, just compared to where I was at one point. It’s a huge step.”

image: yamaha
Image: Yamaha

On what his clicked for him this year Nicholls said: “Just maturity, understanding things a little more, understanding myself, what I need. That’s probably been the biggest difference just year to year. For this year, we did a lot of things different, even with my trainer, Gareth Swanepoel, that we had never done and I’ve trained with him for five years. So that was definitely a big step. Then just being with the team longer too and getting through an off-season healthy and actually doing some practice laps. Three of the five years I’ve raced with team I came into a supercross with about four weeks on the bike. So, that just makes it tough. Then you’re kind of playing catch-up and you try to move too quick, and then another injury would happen and you’re back to square one. So that was tough times, but everyone has their own little sack of rocks to carry and mine just happened to be the past few years.

And he hopes he can now inspire people to continue to go for their dreams even when things get tough: “That’s what I hope, that I can be some inspiration to somebody. There’s been multiple people that have come up to me and told me the same kind of thing. They didn’t know what they were doing. I’m like, “Hey, I’ve been there.” I remember buying air filters and chain lube and doing all this stuff. [Laughs] I was there. It sucked at the time for sure, but it was always for the bigger picture of what I thought I could do, and that’s just winning races. I really hope I can inspire some kids. That’s the idea, for sure.

Main image: Feld Entertainment Inc.