Last year Jake Nicholls made the decision to retire from competing at the highest level – the MXGP World Championship. As the Brit isn’t competing at the GP’s anymore it means he has some more free time in his schedule.
Nicholls has already competed at a Canadian National this year and will be heading to America to compete an AMA National at RedBud. It’s an exciting year for Nicholls as he’s having a lot more fun and seems to be loving the Buildbase Honda.
The British Championship has been going great for Nicholls as he has the red plate after four rounds and a nineteen points lead, he’ll be hoping to win the series now he’s put himself in a great position to do so.
We caught up with Jake after the British Championship at Desertmartin.
Gatedrop: Jake, after seeing how well the first three rounds of the series went for you, maybe you’re a bit disappointed with how Desertmartin went for you?
Jake Nicholls: Yeah, a little bit. I mean I’ve been on the podium every time and won two from three but I still think it was a pretty good day. I just had a couple of spills which ruled out a podium but otherwise I haven’t lost any points in the championship. I can’t complain really with how the day went.
Gatedrop: You’re back here in Desertmartin, been a while for you! But what did you make of the track? It was a very fast and hard to make a difference out there which made the start important I think!
Jake Nicholls: Yeah, I raced here a couple of years ago and won. It was a bit slower, they put a couple of chicanes in and I preferred it then. This year it just seemed a bit fast, if you got a good start and got away then you were fine. It wasn’t my favourite today really because it’s just too fast for my liking but you know it’s so well presented and it’s a lovely track. Just a little bit quick for my liking but they did a great job with the dust. They watered so much the last couple of days and everything else. If they slowed it up a little then It’d be great.
Gatedrop: You were competing in a Canadian National Championship a few weeks ago, how did that go for you and did you enjoy it?
Jake Nicholls: It was good, I really enjoyed it. I did alright and got third overall. The level is high, it’s about the same as here really. There’s five or six really good guys over there. It was good, different and similar to a British Championship in a way. It was a one-day event and two forty-minute races so it was good. I got looked after and it was one of the bucket list things I always wanted to do.
Gatedrop: Another one of those bucket list things you’ll be able to tick off soon is to contest an AMA National as you’re set to do the AMA National at Red Bud. You must be excited for that and how did the opportunity come about?
Jake Nicholls: I just made the opportunity myself to be fair. I’ve always wanted to do it and now my schedule is a bit freer with not doing GP’s so I just made it happen really. I’m being lent a bike and it’ll be hard work because we have to do a lot of the work ourselves but I just want to do it really.
Gatedrop: As you said, you’ll be getting the lend of a bike. Any details of what machinery you’ll be riding yet?
Jake Nicholls: It’ll just be a stock bike but then we’re going to make it like my race bike here so we’ll take our bits over. It’ll be like my British Championship bike.
Gatedrop: What are your expectations heading into Red Bud? Shaun Simpson got fourth in an AMA National moto in the round he did!
Jake Nicholls: No idea, no idea at all. Yeah, suppose but that was a little while ago Shaun did that but I don’t know. Top ten hopefully, that would be alright. We will just see really, we’ll go and have fun and see where it takes me.
Gatedrop: You seem to be having a lot of fun this year, is being away from the GP’s helping with that?
Jake Nicholls: Massively, yeah. I just lost interest in it and over the last couple of years I just wasn’t enjoying it so yeah, I’m just enjoying it more and have a nice bike, nice team. We’ve a good environment and we’re working hard at home so it’s good.
Gatedrop: You said you lost interest in GP’s, what would you put that down too?
Jake Nicholls: Pfft, tracks, travelling, lack of support, the list goes on really. For all the wrong reasons, they’re trying to make it like MotoGP and it’s the end of a money field at the end of the day.
Gatedrop: Looking at the rest of this season, you’re leading the British series, is the goal to win the title now?
Jake Nicholls: Yeah, I just want to enjoy these races and see where it takes us. Ultimately that’s what I’m being paid to do so hopefully at the end of the year we can be there but I will just keep enjoying myself.
Gatedrop: A Canadian National and an AMA National – is there anything else in the works for you?
Jake Nicholls: No, nothing else. That’s it really, there will be no more Grand Prix’s or anything like that. They’re the only two series’ I’m interested in doing and that’s about it.
Gatedrop: I thought you might have been interested in racing at Matterley Basin in front of your home crowd, what did the decision to not ride your home GP come down too? It’s a nice track!
Jake Nicholls: Yeah, it’s a bit quick! I’ve just no interest in it anymore, it’s a tough world out there at the Grand Prix’s. I don’t want to slog my guts out to get tenth or eleventh at a
GP – I’ve done that so many times so I’m not going to prove anything by doing it again. I can’t do any better than that so. A few people say if you rode like you did there, you’d have got a top five or top six but I don’t reckon I would and I’ve nothing to gain by doing it. It’s only going to cost me out of my own pocket to do that, I may as well go and pay to do a race that I’ve never done before.
Gatedrop: Looking ahead to 2019, have you a deal with Buildbase Honda or is it a one year only deal?
Jake Nicholls: It was a one year only deal but the chances are that I will be here again next year. It’s a good outfit and it’s the best British Championship team by a mile so I can’t see me changing that’s for sure.
Gatedrop: Just on the Buildbase Honda, that might be the best non-factory bike in the world! We’ve saw what Townley and Irwin done on it and now you’re back to arguably your best..
Jake Nicholls: I love it. I enjoy riding it and I’ve got a good setup, it never changes too much at the races so I happy. Like I say, it’s all part of the puzzle of enjoying my racing a bit more.
Pics: Nigel McKinstry
Interview: Scott Leaney