Britain’s Jake Nicholls got off to a cracking start to his GP season at Valkenswaard with 6th overall, which is considerably better than last season when he was walking around the venue on crutches. From the outside looking in it seemed like two comfortable motos for Nicholls to start of his season with his new team JM Racing Nestaan KTM and to be fair they were but they didn’t come without their fair share of complications.
After talking with Jake we thought we’d share a little insight into the trails and tribulations of what a pro rider goes through and their drive and commitment to succeed on the world stage. Here’s Jake’s run down on a weekend that could’ve been even better, but very nearly was a whole lot worse.
“It was a good, solid start to my GP season. I got the holeshot in the qualifying race and led for five or six laps and that felt good and was good fun. I didn’t get too out of shape and I felt comfortable there so that was pleasing. Okay I made a few mistakes towards the end but it was still a good confident start to the weekend.
“We made some changes to the shock for the race on Sunday and I was feeling really confident but then in practice on Sunday I tried something different over the that triple section that some riders were nailing and it didn’t work out. I tried wheeling through it and the shock was maybe a little too fast and caught me out. The bike was a little greasy with all the spray to make it blinging as it was early in the session and I couldn’t grip the bike as I normally would. My legs just slid all the way up the seat and I pretty much did a handstand on the bike. I tried to save it but I came down directly on my head and that was it. I got up straight away but my legs were like a boxers that had been hit. I was wobbly and I didn’t know what had happened, I was lucky just to have a big whack to the head if I’m honest.
“I wasn’t sure if I would be able to race because my vision went all blurred. I didn’t go and see the doctor because I knew they’d sign me off and out of the race straight away, so I just went and drank a load of water and lied down for as long as I could before getting ready to go out. I slept for a bit, got up and had a good old British cup of tea and I didn’t feel to bad! So I got in my kit and went up to the start, to be honest I didn’t really know what was going on really, I was a bit confused but I think that took my first race nerves away and I rode relaxed and ended up equaling my best ever GP position. I rode pretty crap at the start of the race but then got my bearings and started to change up rather than revs the nuts of the thing!
“The second moto I didn’t get such a good start as the first moto holeshot, I think I was eighth and then I tried passing one of the Kawasaki’s and laid it down when I slid the front end out. I don’t know what happened really other than I lost 10 positions and then a few laps later something went wrong with the gear selector shaft and it was a nightmare finding the gears. I pretty much just had second and third gears and to change gear I had to get my foot right under it and lift my whole leg up all the time, so that was frustrating, especially with the sandy rutty jumps.
“All things considered it was a good start to the season. Saturday I was lying in bed thinking ‘I’m f***ed! I’m not going to be able to race now after a good Saturday performance’ but it turned out alright in the end and it’s better than last year when I was walking around on crutches! Getting sixth overall is great and I’m looking forward to Bulgaria because I’m not a sand rider really.”