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Kurt Nicoll interview - World Vets

Kurt Nicoll interview - World Vets

Jul 4

  • Interview

Kurt Nicoll is without doubt one of the best British motocross riders from a long list of very good Grand Prix riders and while he unfortunately never collected a World motocross championship, he did lead Team Great Britain to an MXdN victory in 1994 and was a long-standing rider for his country at the Nations.

He also collected more than a dozen GP wins (13) and was World number two on multiple occasions, often beating the likes of Dave Thorpe, Andre Malherbe, Georges Jobe and Eric Geboers throughout the season.

He moved to the 250 class in the 1990s and battled the likes of Stefan Everts, Trampas Parker, Greg Albertyn, and many more. His work ethic was legendary and his drive to success as good as anyone he raced.

Now, many years after he retired, he has achieved maybe more than many of his rivals as the head of KTM for some time, both in Europe and America, joining the promotional team of Nitro Circus and now with the World Supercross championship series organization.

The brilliant Brit will line-up on July 20 and 21 at the World Vets Motocross event at the Farleigh Castle circuit and we thought we would catch up to see how he feels about returning to his homeland (he now lives in America) and battling some old rivals and old friends.

Make sure to get your tickets for this one-off event at the legendary Farleigh Castle event at Spectators - World Vets Motocross

MXLarge: Kurt, can you imagine if in the peak of your career, back in the 1980s and 90s, that somebody would tell you, you would be racing at Farleigh Castle into your 60s?

Nicoll: No (laughing). Times have changed haven’t they. When I was racing as a kid, we had like Dads races and my dad was about 35, but now old people ride and race a lot more.

MXLarge: The veterans’ races have really taken off, starting I guess with Glen Helen and Mammoth in America and also other races in the UK and around Europe. Its great for guys like yourself, because I assume you just continue racing your whole life? What is it that makes you want to keep racing?

Nicoll: I just love racing, in fact, I love everything about dirt bikes and motocross. I always have done, and it’s been my whole life. I don’t know, I have done a bunch of other things since, and I just can’t replace that competitive feeling of racing and winning. I am still really competitive and even though I am only racing against old people, I still want to test myself against the other old people. That’s the fun of it.

MXLarge: I am 63, lazy and not into speed, so I see motocross riders, what they go through, and put their bodies through and I generally think motocross riders are crazy and what they go through. I can’t even imagine what that is like and old motocrossers are maybe even crazier than the current ones, because of the dangers. Does it ever cross your mind, the dangers?

Nicoll: No, and I completely understand the dangers and I have been injured a lot, same as everybody and I know it can happen tomorrow and it can happen at any time and the older I get, the more at peace I am with that. If I get hurt, I get hurt and crazy things happen. I have no problem dying on my dirt bike.

MXlarge: I raced as a kid and even riding around Indonesia on a scooter, that feeling of freedom and for you guys, who do it for a living, or have done that and are still super competitive, that feeling must be 100s of times better. Tell me, how do you expect to go at Farleigh?

Nicoll: It will be the first time I have ridden in the 60s class, and I am going to also ride the 50s class and I will ride a KX500 in both classes. I will be going there to win, like I always do. I know I am getting older, but I am also racing older people as well. I will be going there to win, as I always do.

MXLarge: You always stay in condition and seeing you; you don’t look a lot different from when you raced back in the 1990s. So, you have good genes, you don’t look as though you have aged. You must get on the start line sometimes and see guys who have ages, with big beer bellies or big beards?

Nicoll: Yes, I guess I can thank Dad for that (for those that don’t know, Kurts Dad, Dave was a former GP racer, GP winner and something of a legend in British motocross). I definitely have some good genes in me and the important things in my life are still to be fit and be able to compete. I ride probably five days a week minimum and if I don’t ride at motocross tracks, I ride in the hills. It isn’t that I don’t hurt ever day, because I do. Every morning, I wake up and know that I have abused my body for the last 40 years. We all get old, so I might as well get old doing what I like doing.

MXLarge: I watched your interview with Jeff and Doc Wob, and you mentioned you were very intense as a racer, and you might be enjoying it a lot more now. I assume you will be catching up with old friends at Farleigh. How enjoyable is that to meet up with these people, talk about racing and the memories, because you must have some nice memories from Farleigh?

Nicoll: Yes, I mean, Farleigh was the first GP race that I won, and I always did well at Farleigh. I love going back there. It is one of the iconic tracks. A track like that will never be used for a Grand Prix again, because things have moved on. It is nice to look back at old tracks like that, like Namur, Wohlen, Payerne and those places are gone, and Farleigh still remains. I think it is fantastic that we can all get together at a place like Farleigh Castle and reminisce and still be able to love what we are doing.

MXlarge: Did you go there as a kid when your dad was racing, or were you too young?

Nicoll: I don’t remember going to be honest. I am not even sure Dad raced a Grand Prix there, but I don’t remember going there. First time I remember going there was racing the 500 GP support race, when I was about 18 years of age. Like in 1982 or something like that. It just seems like yesterday.

MXlarge: Do you have one special moment from your career, racing at Farleigh?

Nicoll: I had many, but it was my first ever race I won in the GPs in 1987. I won the first race and then I crashed on the first corner of the second race, and I came through from the back to second. Back in those days and you would remember, because you were there, there were 30 of 40 thousand people. It was different times, and it was just an incredible atmosphere, when you were a British rider, it was pretty amazing.

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