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British Championship

Chatter Box: Jake Nicholls

Jake Nicholls on his dominant day.

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Jake Nicholls had one of the most dominant days of his career on Sunday, as he swept both motos at the second Maxxis British Championship and took control of the championship standings. Nicholls, who has gelled extremely well with the Buildbase Honda squad, took some time to discuss that outing, his current outlook and much more.

MX Vice: There is not really much to say, is there? Perfect day. Good starts. Led pretty much every lap. You had to work around EBB each time, but you did it pretty quickly. Did anything go wrong at all?

Jake Nicholls: Not really. The second race to start, they ripped in front of the gate that I used in the first race, but I sort of wanted to use that again. So the second start was not quite as good, because it was so loamy out the start straight but, other than that, it was good. Just got into the lead and put my head down. The bike was riding really nice, to be honest with you. I was just enjoying it. It was so predictable and I could just sort of push. I was gaining confidence with the bike every lap.

Then the second race was a bit weird. The fence went down or something. Someone hit the fence coming down one of the hills, so it was like double waved yellows for four or five laps. I was like, is it red flagged or what? All of a sudden it disappeared. I was not jumping that step down and I think a few were. I did not really know what to do. Other than that, it was a good day.

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Jake Nicholls now leads the MX1 standings by seven points.

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I just spoke to Bobryshev and he said for the inside gate, you could kind of get onto the hard stuff? He was on pole, so obviously he had that choice. Had you been on pole, would you have gone there? Was the second gate in from the inside no good, because you could not get on that hard stuff?

No. I did not even look at it, to be honest with you. The thing is with that, I was always like, if I don’t get a good jump I’ll wait in the middle. I had a bit of a backup plan. Whereas when you are down the inside, if you get a good jump, you are sort of… So I just tried something different. It worked out alright, really. Like I said, they ripped it pretty deep so it like dragged the bikes down. It felt like we were in first gear going up there. Bike pulled up well.

Do you feel like you have got more time to enjoy these now? Maybe before you’d come off a podium and immediately be like, “what do I need to fix for Russia?” Do you have a bit more time now to breathe and take stock of the situation?

Yeah, massively. Saturday, I do not work Saturdays. I pop in there, normally fill my van up with diesel and just have a look around. I’ll drive to the track now. It’s just nice to get here at like 4:00 whereas when I was doing GPs I’d just sit around on a Saturday just relaxing and spending time at home. I’d get here at like 7:00 at night and then be rushed. Then to get back from here, because I’d be getting ready for something else.

Whereas now it’s like trying not to think about going back to work tomorrow morning. But it’s good. It’s a nice situation. I’m lucky I work for my father, so there’s a bit of leeway there, but at the same time I work hard with the business. I’m putting the work in with the racing as well. I think it’s sort of showing a little bit in both ends, really.

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Nicholls claimed his nineteenth moto win in the Maxxis British Championship on Sunday.

MPS Images

Does it not make you think a little bit when you have Evgeny handled today and he is getting eighth in MXGP? Maybe if you could take this positive outlook, great team, everything working vibe to MXGP you could push it a little bit and get to where you want to be? Does that even enter your mind?

Not at all. It’s funny, really. I’ve said to you before, I’ve said to everyone, I’ve got so much respect for the boys doing the GPs. They are all so quick. He was eighth last weekend, but the tracks are different. This is a British track – I’ve rode it since I was young. My bike’s set up for these tracks a little bit. There is a little bit of that, but I rode well today. I think if I rode how I did now in the GPs, yeah, I might do alright, but I don’t want to do it. I’ve got no interest in it.

I watched Portugal and for the first time I actually thought I’d be up for riding it, because it looked slow and technical. But I don’t miss it one bit. It’s no disrespect to any of the boys doing it. Total respect for them. But I don’t want to do it. Last weekend I raced the championship at Wakes Colne – we had a really good day and came home just happy. I guess driving home I might think about it a bit, but it’s different. It’s so different.

I know what your answer to this is going to be, and I probably shouldn’t even ask it, but maybe you’ll surprise us. HRC need a rider. That’s kind of a dream for a lot of guys. If they did come knocking, would you at least think about it twice and maybe look at it in a little more detail?

Yeah, of course I’d think about it. Factory Honda is the epitome of a factory team, isn’t it? So I would definitely think about it. It would be a tough old decision, but my priorities lie with the business and with the Buildbase Honda team these days. I don’t know where it would go, but I’m enjoying myself at the minute and really want to keep it that way. We’ll see. My bike at the minute is really, really good. Just enjoying it like I did when I was a kid. Different worlds now.

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Canada Heights also marked the third time in his career that he has swept both motos.

MPS Images

Someone said something to me the other day and I kind of shrugged it off, but it’s got me thinking now. A few people reckon that this is the best you have ever rode on a 450F. Are you kind of feeling that way?

Yeah, I do feel that way to be honest with you. I rode well on the 250s the last three years I was on them. Then I had a bit of a tough go at the 450s. I did my finger, then I did my wrist and then I did my back on the second year. Then the Husqvarna year I had a good year. But I was always like thinking about just finishing the year. I wanted to get through it, because I’d had such a bad two years. Then last year it just went obviously bad again.

Honestly it was so much to do with bike set-up. The Husqvarna and the KTM, it goes without saying, they are fantastic bikes. But setup-wise it was just, I don’t know, you get into that thing in the GPs of “he has got this, so you should have this.” There’s a lot of that. It takes a strong character to be able to get out of that and I wasn’t strong enough to say no, I didn’t like that. I ended up going along with it. I think that’s got a big part of it.

The Honda works so well, especially on our little gnarly tracks. It seems to just work fantastic. I think I’ve bonded with that. I actually grew up on Hondas, so perhaps there’s a little bit there as well. Mark Eastwood would ride the bike that I race and does my suspension. He rides a Honda 450F himself, so he knows how the bike acts. He knows my style. It seems to work alright. There’ll be tough days going ahead I’m sure, but I just want to keep enjoying the racing. Whatever happens, happens really.

Everything is clicking at the moment, obviously. Is there one thing with the bike set-up or on the physical side that you are looking to improve going forward?

You can always be fitter. Don’t get me wrong, but I think my main thing is not doing too much. I put the hours in with work and I train as well. I think nowadays I’ve actually got a better balance, because I’m training less and riding a little bit less. But my body seems to react to that better. Whereas GPs, some of the boys are so fit. They ride for three days a week and then do a GP. I can’t even ride three days a week and do a British. Hats off to them. Some of them are beyond normal; I don’t know what they’re up to. But I’m really happy with where I’m at, I’ll keep pushing and I’ll keep practicing hard. We can always be quicker. Everyone can be quicker. I’ll keep trying and go in the right direction.

Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: MPS Images

British Championship

Andrew Short confirmed for the 2024 VMXdN at Foxhill

No Short measures for Team USA

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The promoters for the annual VMXdN Foxhill have announced that former factory HRC, KTM Factory Racing and Monster Energy Yamaha rider Andrew Short will be racing at the legendary Wiltshire Grand Prix circuit over August bank holiday weekend (August 22nd-26th) as part of the American squad.


Words: Press Release | Lead Image: Supplied


Short has had a stellar sixteen-year pro career, during that time, he earned over 50 podium finishes and nine wins, he is also one of the nicest guys you could wish to meet. One of his personal highlights was being part of the American Team that won the 2010 Motocross of Nations held in his home state of Colorado. 

After he retired from professional motocross at the end of 2016, Short then worked as a team advisor and brand ambassador for Factory Honda HRC before making a big transition to compete in rally racing and take on the ultimate rally race – the Dakar.

After a steep learning curve, he was able to become competitive in rally and even took his first win at the 2019 Rallye du Maroc, a leadup to the 2020 Dakar. He raced for the Rockstar Husqvarna team as well as the Monster Energy Factory Yamaha rally teams.

After a nasty injury while riding at home, he is now back to full fitness and bang up for the challenge that is Foxhill, the greatest 2-stroke event in the world. Short will race a 2002 YZ 250 built and maintained by the crew at DocWob. Team USA won the inaugural event in 2022 and finished 3rd behind Team GB and Team Northern Ireland in 2023. 

The race is already creating a huge buzz with new and returning legends being announced weekly, it really is a whos’ who of the sport through the golden heydays of the 90’s and 00’s era.

Labelled by RacerX magazine as “the Woodstock of two strokes” the event simply goes from strength to strength.

With ticket sales up year on year, the promoters have been blown away at the response to the event and are urging spectators to purchase tickets asap. Could this be the first outdoor motocross event in the UK to be ticket only? Camping passes will be capped at last year’s numbers as simply putting it – it was full!

Ensure your place at the most anticipated event on the British MX calendar by booking early.

Saturday, Sunday, Weekend and Camping passes are available at https://vmxdnfoxhill2024.eventbrite.co.uk

Keep up to date with all the VMXdN Foxhill news

www.vmxdnfoxhill.com 

www.facebook.com/vmxdnfoxhills 

https://www.instagram.com/vmxdnfoxhill/

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Arenacross

Injury Update: Tommy Searle

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Dirt Store Kawasaki star Tommy Searle has disappointingly been ruled out of the Belfast Arenacross due to a thumb injury suffered in the first round in Manchester. Here’s the post below.

More to follow. But in the meantime, we wish him all the best for his recovery.

Lead Image: Dirt Store Kawasaki

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British Championship

Apico Veterans are seeing red for VMXdN Foxhill 2024

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With the annual VMXdN Foxhill firmly entrenched as being the “must attend” meeting of the year, it’s no surprise that we are already getting news of team entries! The annual event takes place at the iconic Wiltshire GP circuit on the August bank holiday weekend (22nd-26th). 


Words: Press Release | Lead Image: Supplied


The first team to be announced in the Wright Engineering National Team Race is the Apico Veterans Squad, these guys are back in force and plan on building on their 2023 success. Now on Honda’s in their assault on the British Championships, we have heard they are building a few 2002 CR 250s as we speak in preparation for the event! 

Returning to the squad is Northern Ireland’s Martin Barr. Having raced all around the globe in an illustrious career which has so far spanned three decades. Barr has raced for world-leading manufacturers Husqvarna, KTM, Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha since turning pro after leaving school at 16, having already won the British 85cc Supercross Championship in 2001. The victories and podium finishes have continued throughout Barr’s career with a win and second-place finish in the Red Bull Pro Nationals championships, a second and third place in the MX1 British Championship and 2nd in the MX1 Red Bull Pro Nationals Championship over the years. Barr has also represented Ireland 14 consecutive times at the MXON. A top geezer and first-class MX rider.

Jamie Law also returns to the Apico Veterans Team. JLaw, as he’s known around the paddock, is one of the most experienced riders at British championship level and a two-stroke advocate. After 20 years as a professional MX racer, JLaw took his first-ever British championship podium in 2022 at the series opener. He is still competing and training like he always did. 

The new boy on the squad is youngster Tom Grimshaw who raced in the 2022 and 2023 event but is now on the Apico Honda squad for his “day job”. After a successful youth career racing British, EMX & World Championships, Tom moved into the adults ranks again racing British Championships, EMX & World Championship events, proving due to his size he’s more of an open class guy as he can certainly ride one properly and his aggressive style will be a thing to watch on a 250 2-stroke in the natural valleys of the Wiltshire Grand Prix circuit. This team is packed full of talent and experience to boot, and they will take it to the line when the gate drops.

Dylan Brown will take the role of team manager. “I know the guys very well and for the most part the riders are Vets’ age. We’ve always had a family vibe at the racing with Martin & Jamie for many years and Tom fits right into our program. It’s a brilliant weekend to have the guys together with their families for a weekend of fun once again (though it does get serious when race time comes around lol). Again, we plan on raising money for the Air Ambulance, so please swing by the pits to view some special bikes on display under the Apico tent.”

“Team entries are coming in thick and fast and some of the names already signed up will be keeping our marketing department busy in the coming months.” Dave King – Promoter VMXdN Foxhill

With the increasing attendance in its first two years of the VMXdN Foxhill festival held over the August Bank Holiday weekend has advised that they must cap the quantity of camping slots available due to space and safety limitations, and they are anticipating that all camping passes will be sold prior to the event opening. 

“Last year we were almost at capacity and with the increase already we are expecting to sale out prior to the gates opening on August 22nd” explained DocWob – Promoter VMXdN Foxhill. “We expect the 2024 event to be ticket only, so it’s advisable to pre book to guarantee your place, you certainly don’t want to miss this one.”

Tickets for the four day festival are available from: https://vmxdnfoxhill2024.eventbrite.co.uk

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