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By Jim Kimball
Photos by Brian Converse and Kyoshi Becker
Nick Schmidt’s turn as an AMA Pro has been somewhat parallel to Weston Peick’s. Both bigger built kids, they went straight to the premier 450 class rather than the race a 250. While after several privateer years Peick has moved on to a factory ride, Schmidt has continued life as a privateer, hoping that one day a factory team will come calling. So far, 2017 has seen Schmidt make many of the AMA Supercross mains, and battle with the factory guys. Along with his stateside success a trip to Germany saw him win the ADAC German Supercross Championship. We caught up with Nick to learn more about what he has been up to, and where he is racing in 2017.
NICK, IT APPEARS THAT YOU ARE DOING THE SAME PROGRAM AS IN 2016. Yes, it’s the same deal as I had last year with TPJ (The Privateer Journey) Racing. Ted Parks takes the bikes to the races, and we just have to get there. He hauls the equipment, and after that it is up to me to get flights, hotels, etc, and all that stuff. The series so far has been going good. I missed Anaheim II, because I had to go back to Germany and finish up the Supercross Championship there. I won the series championship over there, and was crowned The King of Dortmund, so it was good.
ARE YOU ABLE TO MAKE DECENT MONEY IN GERMANY? Yes, for sure. The money is good, and definitely it is just good to go racing over there. I had a lot of gate drops, and I did a lot of racing. It is a different format than over here; we race Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I do not get done racing until around midnight. Then we go back to the hotel, and sleep, and do it over again. So it is just good preparation as the series starts before Anaheim I. So I get a lot of racing in, and get the heart rate going, and It is just good practice really. I think that helped me out quite a bit this year, and although it was a bummer to miss one of the AMA races, it was worth it. I won the championship, and got the King of Dortmund title. I got second in Munich but other than that, I won a bunch of races. I was on the box every week — and then we got the championship, so it was definitely a good season so far.
THE GERMAN SUPERCROSS SERIES SEEMS GETS STRONGER AND STRONGER EVERY YEAR. Yes, definitely it is a competitive series, and there are a lot of Americans racing it. Actually the main events are mostly comprised of Americans. The team I rode for over there had won the championship a few times. Marvin Musquin won a championship over there, and Gavin Faith won it before. There are a handful of dudes going there every year; Kyle Chisholm has been over there — actually a whole bunch of guys. It is good to go racing. You can practice during the week all you want, but it is not going to resemble racing, and that is my biggest benefit from me going to Germany. We usually do the same thing every year, so switching up the program a little bit helped.
IN AMERICAN SUPERCROSS YOU ARE USUALLY THE TOP PRIVATEER, BUT YOU NEVER GET A FILL-IN RIDE FROM THE BIG TEAMS? I think just being more consistent is the key. Obviously better finishes will for sure help, but just have to keep plugging away, riding, and knowing my capabilities on the bike. I need to keep doing it, and getting the good results. If I keep getting the good results, and I am there every weekend, why not give me a shot? I just cross my fingers, and hope that we have a chance to race a factory bike. There is still half a season to go so anything can happen. It is definitely a bummer though about how some things have transpired. I am not taking anything away from Jake Weimer, but he has been there before, has had the rides, and the opportunities. My bike is two years old and we are making it work, but maybe one day we will get that chance, even if it were only a one-race deal, two-race deal — anything would be great. That is what we are all here for, and working for — to get a ride! So we don’t have to stress about flights, hotels, parts, and all this and that. It would be nice to show up to the races and not have to worry about anything except just riding my dirt bike. So, one day, hopefully we will be able to do that. We just keep plugging away and going for it. Weimer and I actually have had some good battles this year. But Jake is a good dude, and hopefully I will be offered a fill-in ride some day.
YOUR CAREER REMINDS ME SOMEWHAT OF WESTON PEICK’S CAREER. Yes, it is funny that you say that. I think everybody has told me that I am Weston Peick from a couple of years ago. I am in the same situation. Weston is a bad dude on the dirt bike; so to even walk in his footsteps would be something cool to do — because it worked out for him. He has a great ride now over at JGR. It would be awesome to be in that position one day, so we will just keep plugging away, putting our head down, keep cracking away at getting some points, and showing these factory guys up. Hopefully the cards fall in my favor at some point!
NICK, WHAT IS IT LOOKING LIKE FOR YOU AFTER SUPERCROSS ENDS? As of right now, I am going to be doing outdoors; at least I am going to be doing a couple of them. I am also going to go over to Europe, and do some of the GP’s. I am going to do like five or six of them. I am doing both German GP rounds, I am doing one of the Italy rounds for the Sturm Racing Team. That is the same team that I did the German Supercross series with. I will be on Suzuki over there. I am already signed up to do the five or six rounds. I’m just looking forward to that, going over to a different country and racing, riding my dirt bike. I’ll be doing what I love, so it should be cool. I hope to get some results over there, and then maybe I might stay over there; who knows? We will see what happens.