Colt Nichols took to Instagram at the top of the hour to announce he has signed a deal with Honda HRC for 2023. The Oklahoma native joined the now-named Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing team in October 2016 and raced with the team through the 2021 season when he claimed the 250SX East Region Championship in Monster Energy AMA Supercross. Nichols was set to return to the team again in 2022 as well and compete in his final 250SX season before pointing out and being forced to move to the premier class in 2023.
Nichols and the Yamaha crew chose not to defend his title on the East Coast and instead go for the 250SX West Region title this year, hoping to become the first rider to do back to back titles on opposite coasts in several years. However, at the Anaheim 1 Supercross season opener, the #45 crashed early while leading his heat race, breaking both of his arms and suffering burns on his body from the machine’s pipe. That evening Nichols underwent surgery on his arms, and the injuries kept him sidelined for that final 250SX season.
He did not return to racing in the AMA Pro Motocross Championship and then thanked the Yamaha team for their hard work in an Instagram post in July, confirming his departure from the team.
Racer X learned last week that Nichols was in fact meeting with Honda HRC at the team’s test track, introducing himself to the staff, although he had yet to ride the race team’s CRF450R at that time.
Nichols’ Instagram post announces he has officially signed a deal with the Honda HRC program for 2023, his first season in the premier class. While Nichols did not specify the details in his post, a press release from the team confirms this deal is an AMA Supercross-only deal for 2023. The team press release also states Nichols will race a CRF450R alongside of #23 Chase Sexton, which confirms the departure of Ken Roczen from the team. Brothers Hunter and Jett Lawrence will compete in the 250SX Class of Monster Energy AMA Supercross before two-time 250 Class Pro Motocross Champion Jett Lawrence is expected to move to the premier class for Pro Motocross. Below is Nichols’ full post:
I know I’ve been very quiet on here but it’s been a wild few months since I started riding again In May. Lots of ups and downs and unexpected things happened but life has a weird way of working sometimes. I am very excited for the next chapter with the @honda_racing_us crew, couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to transition into the 450 class. Can’t wait to learn and race against the best in the business. Let’s get to work!
Below is the press release from Honda, confirming the deal.
Colt Nichols Signs With Team Honda HRC
- Oklahoma native earned the 2021 AMA Supercross 250SX East title
- Nichols will campaign the 2023 AMA Supercross series aboard a CRF450RWE
Torrance, California – American Honda confirmed today that Colt Nichols will ride with Team Honda HRC in the 2023 AMA Supercross series. Nichols joins Chase Sexton on the factory squad’s premier-class effort aboard a CRF450RWE, with Hunter and Jett Lawrence campaigning the regional 250 classes for the indoor series.
A native of Muskogee, Oklahoma, Nichols has enjoyed many successes as a 250 rider, with highlights including four AMA Supercross 250SX victories and the 2021 250SX East Region title. Now 28, and with eight years of valuable experience at the 250 level, Nichols is ready to step up to the 450 division, and the opening at Team Honda HRC was an attractive destination.
“First and foremost, I’m just thankful and blessed for this opportunity to come about,” Nichols said. “It seemed like a longshot at first, and now for it to actually be real, I couldn’t be happier to be joining such a prestigious team and be on a factory Honda. I’ve always wanted to ride for this team, and they carry a very large and awesome legacy. I hope I can contribute to that, get some good results and help the team in any way I can. Moving to the 450 class and racing the best guys in the world will be fun and very challenging, but I’ve got a great teammate to learn from. I’m really excited to get to work and get this thing going.”
“We’re very happy to welcome Colt to Team Honda HRC,” said Brandon Wilson, Manager of Sports & Experiential at American Honda. “During our selection process, not a single person had a bad word to say about him. He’s an incredibly talented rider and also just a nice person that we know will be great fit in the team. All of our current riders like Colt and liked the direction. With Colt being good friends with our official test rider Trey Canard, we think there will be a positive energy with everyone, which will lead to great results for the team. We’re happy to give him the 450 opportunity he deserves, and we’re all looking forward to A1.”