Motocross

Catching up with Kurt Nicoll

Author: Geoff Meyer

Posted:

Geoff Meyer caught up with Kurt Nicoll, one of the most important people in the sport at the moment. The leading play maker in the KTM factory team and an all round nice guy.
Kurt Nicoll. Photo: J. Barte
Kurt has many ideas about how important KTM's roll is in the sport and is excited about where the sport is heading. What's the future of Grand Prix motocross? The Japanese are talking about the market not being that big in Europe, but Europe in a whole is still our biggest market. We have a good market in Spain, a good market in England, some countries like Germany are slow, but we are still growing in Europe, so we are happy to be involved and we are also pleased with the way the Motocross Grand Prix series is run. I mean the development in motocross GP is great and the return in magazine and television coverage is great. The interest level is very good at the moment; you have to go back at least 10 years to find the interest bigger than it is now. I think it's very healthy at the moment. Do you still love what your doing? I work every day, but depends what you call work, motocross is my life, there is pressure, I have bosses who want success and that is all they expect. The pressure of racing, I already know that from my career, and I don't know anything else, so I still love doing it. I do a good job, and I enjoy it, when I get success. What has been your craziest weekend as far as travel goes? One weekend, I watched the qualification of a Grand Prix on the Saturday in Europe, and then flew to an outdoor national in America for the Sunday race. You know, it's not that tough, if you don't travel much, then it can be difficult, but if you're always on the road, it's not that difficult. For me getting on a plane is just like getting on a local bus. I am lucky that I do various races; I get to see a lot of races in Europe, America and all over the world. If I was stuck in one place for a while, that would be difficult. What about working with the Alessi family, is that fun? I get on very well with Mike, Tony, Jeff and the whole family. People have to remember Mike is 17 years old, he's made some mistakes, and he is in the spotlight, but there are plenty of guys who do worse than him, but they are not in the spotlight. I've talked to Mike about what happen at Glen Helen, and he knows he did the wrong thing, and he won't do it again. I think people come down way to hard on him, they expect him to act like a 30 year old, but he isn't, he's just a kid. I have huge respect for Mike and the way that family goes about racing. Mike is huge value for us, he races all over the world, he nearly won us the AMA 125cc title and he might not be that popular at the moment, but he's well known and gets us a lot of publicity. He is a really nice kid; he's just had some things go against him. The move he made on Leuret in Bercy in 2004, that wasn't that bad a move, I don't think it was dirty, just clever move of the track. I like him and he will come around, and there are not that many people who have the potential to be the best, and he is one of them. What about the rumors that Road Racing is draining the KTM bank funds? Our investment into the road racing isn't that big. Our involvement in MotoGP was not a good one; we tried to make the best of that, at the moment we have not succeeded. In 125 and 250 road racing we have good success in a short time, and the budget for racing those two classes is not higher than running the motocross team. Doing the road racing is not a big burden on KTM, it's not a money spinner, although we will produce some replica bikes for two teams and that will bring some revenue. The investment into the road racing is not anywhere near as big as many people think. What about your racing, will you continue in 2006? I really had another great season in America. The 2005 season I committed to a whole season and in the past I had only done it by chance. It was too much, I missed the Motocross of Nations, I hated that, it was also the first time Sebastien Tortelli rode for KTM. I had a race the same weekend and I didn't enjoy that. I will race some races still, but I will never commit myself to racing a whole series again. I mean I did the Indoor Enduro in Las Vegas, I will also do the Munich supermoto, but otherwise not much. Main Photo: Nicoll still races on some weekends
Credit: J. Barte

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