Honda HRC’s Colt Nichols brought home another 12th place finish at the Anaheim 2 Triple Crown on Saturday night to go with his sixth at the opener and his 12th last weekend in San Diego. The 450SX rookie has been consistent through the first three rounds with not much flash aside from starts, but it’s a good starting point for his first year in the class. Although he didn’t quite get a top 10 results among his 12-14-11 results on the night, he certainly fought among several factory riders in each of the main events.
We caught up with Nichols at the end of the night to hear his thoughts on his first ever 450SX Triple Crown as well as how he feels with three rounds down of his first run through the full 17.
Racer X: Twelfth on the night. Just kind of take me through how you felt out there tonight and what you thought of the Triple Crown.
Colt Nichols: Twelfth overall again, oof. It’s tough to hear. But the Triple Crown, man, honestly, I was looking forward to it just because I had been getting out of the gate really well. And man, today we struggled getting out of the gate. I don’t really know what the reason was for that, but I just couldn’t quite pull it together on the starts. Maybe stemmed a little bit from practice. We, I think, lined up eleven for the first main and that’s just not going to get it done. We’ve got to be a little bit better in practice, get myself a better gate, and see if we can be a little bit more in the mix. On the ground a little bit tonight, as well. I don’t know. Just didn’t quite have it today for some reason. It was a little bit of a frustrating day all the way around, kind of from practice on. So, we just need to be a little bit better. We’re struggling to find a little bit of comfort in some areas, but I just need to be better, too. There was times where I was a little too timid, a little too aggressive in some spots. This 450, you got to have a little bit more finesse in some spots and then a little less, a little more. We’re figuring it out. It doesn’t look like it because on paper we’re going 6-12-12, but I feel like we’re making some improvements in some areas. We just need to get back to starting good and giving myself a chance and we’ll be okay.
Not to say that the first two rounds weren’t intense, but how was the intensity of the 450 class in these shorter races for the first time?
I thought it was good. I was just back in the pack. It’s hard when you get back there, and all these guys are so good. You know, and if you start in sixth you can kind of put yourself in that group of guys. If you start in twelfth, then you’re kind of in that group of guys. So, it’s just one of those things. We just got to give ourselves a little bit more of a shot. Have a little bit more comfort and a little more belief in how the bike’s going to react to a few things. And once we get that, we’ll be A-OK. I’ve got faith in that. I like a lot of these races coming up. Going into Houston, I really like that dirt, like that stadium. So, hoping to bring some good vibes into Houston. But this week we got a little bit of work to do and try and get a little more comfort, and I think we’ll do that.
I know that you were integral in helping with some of the testing and development with the bike in the off-season. And I know Trey [Canard] is going to get back on the bike soon. How much do you think that will help in making some good adjustments and shifts towards some comfort for you guys?
I think it’ll be good, but even Chase [Sexton] after San Diego, they made some good improvements, fork and shock. Things that it’s the same kind of complaints that I’ve been having, too. So, I think that will help me as well. We just need some time during the week. So, once I can actually put in some laps during the week, and not just show up and kind of wing it on the race day, we’ll be a little bit better. Hopefully we can do that this week. Been kind of nursing a few nagging little things. I think this week we can actually get on the bike and do some riding. So, I’m happy about that. Happy to get out of Anaheim and San Diego. Put these in the rear view and look forward. We’ve got fourteen more of these. So, I’m excited. We’ll figure it out. It’s a little disheartening at times, but I know we’ll figure it out. I feel like I believe in my ability. I can ride this bike good. I want to represent this team the best I can. Bummer getting twelfth, but we’ll figure it out.
Is it exciting to head east now and get a little bit of maybe some softer dirt? Maybe not so much in Houston, but change it up a little bit, not have this hard west coast stuff?
Yeah, it’s weird because even these first two tracks, even San Diego was softer for what San Diego normally is. But it’s weird, at night with the open stadium, whenever the moisture comes up, it just gets weird. To me it’s always weird. I have a hard time trying to figure out how to finesse the bike around. The 450 class, you’re cutting a lot tighter everywhere. These tracks have been a lot tighter than I anticipated. So, just a little bit of learning. It’s a learning curve for me. We’re trying to build but at the same time we’re trying to learn really quick and pick up the speed really quick. So, it’s just a lot sometimes. But overall, all I can do is put my head down. Try and do the best I can. Try and find some more comfort, and once we do that, we’ll be good.