Even though he failed to qualify at Anaheim II, Nicolas Schmidt rattled a few cages at the opening two rounds of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series by finishing 14th in the 450 class at Anaheim I and 20th in the 450 class at Phoenix.
The 23-year-old from Marysville, Washington, is currently living in Riverside, California, with his fiancé, and riding a Honda that his grandfather bought for him with help from the TPJ/Fly Racing Program.
Cycle News caught up with Schmidt at Anaheim II to learn a little bit about him.
How long have you been trying to break into Supercross?
This is my third year doing it. I got hurt the first two years so hopefully this will be my first full year.
How is it going so far?
My goal at Anaheim I was to make the main event and that worked out for me and I finished 14th, so I’m just looking to do better every time I race.
How did you feel about your performance at A1?
I was actually pretty stoked. I thought I could get into the main, but it’s such a stacked field, it’s a stacked field, and to end up getting 14th was a dream come true.
Why did you decided to break into the series in the 450 class?
People say I’m a bigger guy, plus the 450 class is easier on bikes. A 250F costs too much to race, motor-wise, and a 450 you can just throw a pipe on it and go.
How do you feel about competing against the factory riders?
Well, you just have to do what you can. The suspension and motor parts that the factory guys have that the rest of us can’t get, that stuff makes a pretty big difference. But I’m just going to keep plugging along and hopefully something will come along.
What do you do as far as training?
About two weeks ago I started training with Buddy Antunez and Weston Peick, and that’s been going good and it’s helping my confidence. He’s been helping me with my speed and my laps.
You are riding with the TPJ/Fly Racing Program. Tell us how that works.
Yeah, they take your bike to all the races and provide you will Lucas Oil products, air filters, bars and stuff. Plus, they give you a place to pit out of and feed you. If you’re a privateer the option is to park out of the back of you van, so it’s a big help.
Will you be going back east to the races?
Yes, I will fly to those, and I’m still working on the details, because money is tight. But hopefully I can stay in California and practice during the week and then fly out east for each race.
How are you making it now?
My grandpa is a big part of my program, he’s the reason I am making it now, him and my dad.
Growing up in Washington, how do you like the California tracks?
I like the ruts; I think that’s my strong point, so I am looking forward to going out east. I like tracks that are a little more technical.
What about the outdoors? Which are you better at?
Some say I’m better at outdoors. I grew up riding outdoors, and hanging it out there is my style, where in Supercross you’ve got to be a right on point and hit all you points.
How loose is your style?
A: When you see my foot off the pegs you know I’m having fun.