Former Grand Prix podium finisher Jake Nicholls is still assessing his chances of making a return to the highest level of racing but insists there will be no stopping him if he gets behind a start gate in 2016.
The luckless 25-year-old has had to cope with a mangled finger, broken arm and injured back in the past two seasons all of which have limited him to brief Grand Prix and British Championship appearances. He had to withdraw from the rest of the 2015 campaign with a back complaint that has ultimately cost him his saddle in the Wilvo Forkrent KTM team for next year.
“My back is now starting to feel good but is has been so complicated,” he explained. “I’ve had x-rays, MRIs, CAT scans and all they have shown were stress fractures that I picked up when I was eight years old. The problem wasn’t getting any better and further inspection turned up a bruised bone with a lot of fluid around the vertebra. I have been taking a large amount of ibuprofen for the last three weeks to get the inflammation down.”
“It has been so frustrating after a such a tough, prolonged period of recovery,” he added. “It has been a big test and so hard mentally. I got to the point where I hated the sport because of it and it was horrible having that feeling of not wanting to ride. Recently I have been watching the races again and really wanting to be in the gate.”
Nicholls is now looking around to see where and how he can orchestrate a comeback. He almost reached the peak of the MX2 class in 2013 – a podium result at his home Grand Prix the highpoint – and showed some top-10 potential in MXGP before almost severing his finger in a British Championship accident that ended his 2014 term mid-season.
“I can kind of understand it [losing his place at Wilvo Forkrent KTM] as I have done p*ss all for two years but it was still hard to take that phone call,” he says on the end of his two year tenure with Steve Turner’s British set-up. “I get on well with Steve and believe I always will but I just felt so hard done-by with it all.”
One option for #45 is to take a step back and consider British Championship and wild-card Grand Prix appearances but at 25 Nicholls still has energy and years ahead of him to aim for MXGP again.
“I have no clue what is next to be honest, and is it quite scary to think about it,” he continues. “I’d love to be back in MXGP but I won’t be racing if I have to finance it. My days of that are long gone. I love the sport and have such a vivid dream to achieve something in it but I will not pay to do it; like other people I have a house and mortgage. If I have to race in a domestic team to build myself up and come back strong then so be it. I will be one determined b*stard next year if I am on the gate.”