Saturday, September 30, 2023

Colt Nichols on Anaheim 2 | Vital MX Interview

by Chandler
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Colt Nichols of Honda HRC started the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross term by making a statement – he raced to sixth at the opener and confirmed his potential in the premier division. It is never an easy path to the front of 450SX though and Nichols has run into problems at rounds two and three. Anaheim 2 was a true low point and so he was in a reflective mood in this exclusive Vital MX interview, presented by DeCal Works. There is a ton of insight in here, as well as a glance at how Chase Sexton became such a force inside of Angel Stadium.

Vital MX: Well, it was quiet night for you and I am sure that you would have liked to be in the top ten. Hey, at least you kept it consistent!

Colt Nichols: Yeah, consistently slow was the theme tonight! It was a struggle all day. It was just one of those days where I could not quite get it together. We were a little foggy all day, for some reason. Practice was a little rough. I’ve been priding myself on my starts and they just were not there tonight, for whatever reason. I struggled getting out of the gate. I had a good little crash in main two too – my bike was a little tweaked up. I thought we were straight going out for main three but I was like, “We are still a little tweaked!” It was too late. It was just one of those days, man, and it was a real struggle. We are healthy. I am happy to get out of Anaheim and start going to some east coast rounds. I really like Houston; I like that dirt a lot and that stadium too. I’m looking forward to going there. We have got fourteen more, but we have got to get a little more comfortable to get some speed. I am happy with where we are at, overall, and we are making progress. It does not seem like it, because the results have been going backwards… We are making progress. When I can start riding in the week a little more and get comfortable on a setting then we will be okay.

Site-Colt Nichols-2.jpg?VersionId=wQTmukVFWfSpkHnFW528jfEQC1vaEf
Octopi Media

How is your comfort level now compared to Anaheim 1? Sixth at the opener was great on paper, but have you made improvements on the bike since then?

I don’t know [laughs]. Honestly, I cannot tell. I knew that the bike set-up that we had at Anaheim 1 was quite a bit different to what a lot of guys were wanting me to even run here. I was like, “I have been running it for about three weeks so I want to leave it.” It looked great, but we have been trying some things. We have had a different bike set-up now, over the first three rounds, but I have been struggling with comfort all day. I think that having zero time on the set-ups that we are trying… I don’t know what it is going to do yet. It is hard to just show up and do that. I am a guy who needs to be comfortable and know what the bike is going to do in order to push it. We haven’t been there yet, but we’ll get it.

Is it one of those things where everything was new and fresh at Anaheim 1, so maybe that meant that you were not so focused on what was going on with the bike and you overlooked some set-up issues? Now that we are getting into the thick of the season, more of those issues are coming to light.

I think so, but I am not real sure. We were a certain direction at Anaheim 1 and felt like we were held back a little bit, so we wanted to go to the opposite of the set-up that we have. It seems that every time we try to do that, I am just struggling for whatever reason. I cannot quite put my finger on why that is. We will go back to the actual Anaheim 1 set-up and see what I liked about it. If there is something that we can take from it, cool, and if not then we will work on what we have. I just need to better too. I was just off all day.

Is that maybe where your starts have gone? You are making changes to the bike that are having an impact on the performance out of the gate, hence why you struggled there tonight?

I’m not real sure. It could be. They were just awful and even the practice start was not good. I do not know if it was just traction and the way that it was today… I did not have the best gate picks tonight and that kind of screwed me a little bit too. You are stuck way outside and that sucks! We need to be better in qualifying to set me up better for the heats and mains. It was a struggle. I am looking forward to Houston, for sure.

Site-Colt Nichols
Octopi Media

I feel like the thinking cap is well and truly on now. There are a lot of different theories and ideas in your head, so now you just need to work on those.

Honestly, pretty much and that is the frustrating part: You don’t know until you put it to the test at the weekend or even during the week. Like I said, I haven’t ridden during the week. Once I can actually get some laps during the week, then I will feel better about showing up on the weekend with whatever set-up I have. The thinking cap is fully on and it was on all day. I was just like, “I don’t know what the hell I am doing!” We need to figure it out. It is frustrating when it is like that but, at the same time, a lot of that is on me. I needed to be better from the get-go today and, straight up, we weren’t. It is okay. I would still rather be doing this than sitting on the couch!

Everyone likes to ask you about helping Chase [Sexton] out, but have you been able to take stuff from him?

I think that I will this week. This was the first week where they did a big test, fork and shock, where they made drastic improvements from San Diego to here. A lot of his complaints are similar to mine, as we like the bike pretty similar. I am going to try it. I just have not got to try anything yet, because we have not really ridden during the week. It is one of those things. We just need some laps! Once we get that then I think that we’ll be more comfortable, but I hope that I can try what he has. I think that will improve my bike as well.

Putting the bike to one side for a second, what have you been happy with today? What positives are you clinging to?

It was the starts and we did not have that today! Honestly, I don’t know. I am proud that I never quit or gave up at any point. I was fighting. When you are fighting around tenth to twelfth – I don’t even know what place I was in – it is just frustrating. I think that there is some stuff that we can take away. I thought that turning down in corners was a little bit better, with the way that the bike set-up was. I kind of struggled a little bit in some of the ones where I needed to follow the turn around. We have just got to go back to work and see if we can get a little better.

This post was originally published on this site

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