Young rider raring to race

Mad for motocross . . . Jack Nicolaou, of Fairfield, on his new Yamaha YZ65 motocross motorcycle. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Motocross rider Jack Nicolaou (10) on his new Yamaha YZ65.

I hear you are set to represent Dunedin in motocross?

Yes, I’m racing in the YZ65 Cup in Pukekohe on February 24.

What’s the YZ65 Cup?

All riders must be riding a Yamaha YZ65 and be aged between 7 and 11. The race is held during the third round of the MX Championship.

How did you get selected for the race?

Yamaha dealers across New Zealand were asked to invite a rider to represent them. I’m sponsored by Koarse Graphics and Yamaha dealership MCR, which selected me.

When did you start motocross racing?

About 18 months ago.

How did you get into it?

I was riding my quad bike at Titri Park near Waihola last year and I saw motocross bikes racing, and my parents bought me a four-stroke Thumpstar 70cc a couple of weeks later.

From riding that, I knew I wanted to race motorbikes.

After that I got a two-stroke KTM 50cc, so I could race in a 50cc class for riders aged 6 to 8.

How did your first race go?

It was quite muddy and I liked it. My chain broke during the final race and I placed fourth on the day.

When did you get your YZ65?

In August last year, I was one of the first people in New Zealand to get one. I needed a 65cc bike to race in the class for riders aged 9 to 11.

How is racing in the new class?

Fun – the bike is faster and has better suspension than the KTM.

How many riders are you racing against?

More than 20.

How long will your race your YZ65?

Until I move to the 85cc class next year.

Have you made friends through the sport?

No – everyone is there to compete. Most riders begin racing at the age of 5 and they progress through the grades together and I was older when I started the sport.

Although I do have a friend from school who rides and my 7-year-old brother Tai is racing in the 50c class and is quite good.

Do you give Tai racing advice?

Quite a lot but he doesn’t listen to it.

What’s your best podium finish so far?

I’ve had a few seconds.

Have you had any crashes?

Only at home – I tried jumping over the pond and I fell on my face – I was all right and got back on my bike.