Monster Energy/Star Yamaha pilot Colt Nichols speaking from the victory podium inside NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas five minutes after racing to his first main event victory in 2021, as well as his first supercross triumph since 2019.
“We were 1-2 and it felt like another day at the Yamaha track in California,” said the Oklahoman who was able to take the measure of his hard-charging teammate Christian Craig in the 15-minute main. “I tried to be patient and pick up on where he was going faster. That feels good, as I haven’t won in while.”
Q: Three 250SX East main events run thus far in 2021, and 3-2-1 race scores for you. So far so good, eh?
COLT NICHOLS: Yeah, 3—2-1 for the Houston rounds. I tried to position myself good. I didn’t want to come in like I did in 2019. I learned quite a bit from that season coming in and winning the first Anaheim and having the point lead for the first five races that year. Not that I didn’t want to win the first race of the season at Houston; of course I wanted to go and win the first race, and the second race, too, but it just didn’t really work out. But I put myself in good positions to capitalize where I could, and third was the best I could do in the first race, and second was the best that I could do in the second one.
On Saturday night, I finally got a good start in the main in this third race and I was able to win that one. I was really happy with my performance throughout Houston. I’m happy. I was a little nervous going in. I hadn’t ridden a few weeks before Houston. I had a little injury I was dealing with, so you just never know how it’s going to be until you get there, but overall, I was happy with the first three races.
Q: What was your take on how the race played out?
CN: I just tried to take the race away, and tried to do just do what I could. I stalked (Craig) all race, really, and got to watch his lines and see where he was pulling me a little bit, and then I saw the countdown clock and I knew how much time we had left, and I just did what I did. I was riding a really, really solid race and wasn’t making andybig mistakes, so I knew that if I was going to pass, I really had to push the issue. I did that. The lappers were crazy and we were both trying to navigate them. I was taking a little more risk with the lappers and that helped. All in all, a pretty clever race. I bided my time and found the right time to pass him, and it was just nice to win. It felt like a day out at the Yamaha track with me and him just kind of trading laps together, so it was pretty cool.
Q: While the main event was airing on NBC Sports, broadcaster Leigh Diffey noted that you and Craig had talked about trying to get to the front of the pack right into the first turn.
CN: Yeah, actually, the team laid into us pretty hard after the heat race, because we both started embarrassingly bad in our heat race. It was just not good. After the heat race and after we got back to the truck, the team was pretty vocal about it, and they were upset and told us that we pretty much needed to get our **** together! That’s exactly what we did. We came to the line and we were ready for that main. The team wanted us to step it up, and we did.
Q: What’s been your take on the competition in the 250SX East classification three rounds into your 2021 title chase?
CN: The first two races were pretty fierce because I felt like that pace between us five guys up front was pretty hot. I felt like all of us were pretty strong. Jett Lawrence is a little bit more inexperienced, but me, Christian, RJ Hampshire, Austin Forkner have all been in this series for a few years now. We’ve all won races and know what it takes to win. They are all really good ad talented guys with a lot of speed, and the pace really has been high. Even with Saturday’s race, it was kind of crazy how far up the lap chart we ended up getting. I think we lapped up to sixth place on Saturday. I feel like the guys we are racing on the coast are really fast and talented and whoever wins, has to pretty much earn it. The competition is good. There are three or four of us that are going really fast at the moment. It comes down to getting good starts and putting yourself in a good position to win this championship.
And with me, you know, I can’t complain about 3-2-1 scores. That’s pretty good, and we’ve improved each round. That’s exactly what I wanted to do, so I really can’t complain. I came into this season with a pretty good vision to really try and stay focused and to keep doing what I’m doing. We put in a lot of work during the off-season and I felt great ,and the most fit I’ve ever been coming into this season. We trained really, really hard during this break from Salt Lake City up to now to try and get to this point. The work has paid off so far, and it has been a big help.
Q: What’s your plan for the next couple of years?
CN: Well, the whole Star Racing team is moving to Florida. We’re doing that whole move. My sole goal right now is to go try and win this title. I want to win this 250 East Championship and after that, we’ll let the cards fall where they go. I have one more year with Star through 2022, and after that, hopefully we’ll move to the 450 class and see what we can do there. It’s insane. There are so many fast guys in that class right now. It’s crazy. That’s obviously everyone’s goal. Everyone wants to try to win and move up, and try to carry the momentum in with that big bike. It’s a learning curve, so the quicker I get in there, the quicker you can kind of learn and figure out where you’re at and see what you need to improve on and try to get a little better.