By Jim Kimball
Photos by John Basher
Nick Schmidt has somewhat followed the career path of Weston Peick. Forgoing the 250 class like Peick, Nick has taken the privateer route to forge his path in the 450 class. The 2016 Supercross series has been going well for the “Milestone Assassin.” Schmidt has made almost every Supercross main event, and in doing so, he sits 22nd in points.
We recently spoke with Nick to get his take on his 2016 Supercross series. At this point, Nick can only hope that a factory team recognizes his determination, just as they recognized Weston Peick’s.
Nick, share some insight into your 2016 Supercross season. It has been good so far. I think that I have made every main event except for Anaheim 1. I just had some bad luck at the opening round. I’ve been working hard to earn points. I would like to get in the top ten at one of these rounds before the series is over.
People always talk about how stacked the 450 Supercross class is. This year in particular, it has been difficult for a few factory riders to make the mains. That’s true. I didn’t even think about that until a couple rounds into the series. I was on the line for the main when I looked around and thought, “Oh my gosh, I am the only privateer to have made it in.” It was pretty cool seeing that I was the only guy in there not under a semi truck awning. I’ve really been just trying to put my head down and ride like I know how to ride, and not worry about all the factory guys lined up next to me. So yeah, it has been a good season. I try to stay healthy and enjoy racing my dirt bike. I hope that this ends up with a fill-in ride this year, or a factory ride next year.
At times this season there have not been a lot of Suzuki’s out on the track, with riders missing races. Has Suzuki stepped with any support or opportunities for you? Suzuki does help me out some with bikes and a parts allowance. If I need some little stuff like brake pads during the race weekend they’ll help me out. I don’t get any factory parts or stuff like that, but my own guys really help dial in my engine and suspension. It would be awesome to get the parts that Baggett and Stewart have. Hopefully one day I can get the trick stuff. Like I told you, I am just going to put my head down and keep going for it.
People following Supercross this year that may have wondered why you didn’t get any fill-in opportunities when some of the factory Suzuki riders–Blake Baggett, James Stewart, and Broc Tickle–have been sidelined. I didn’t even get a phone call. I wasn’t really planning on anything happening, but it would have been nice to have someone talk to me about it. You never know what is going to happen in this sport. It’s difficult to know what the team managers are thinking, so I just try to not worry about it. I am happy for the guys that have picked up those fill-in rides. On the other hand, they have already had opportunities to race on a factory team. It would be nice to see someone get the opportunity for a factory fill-in ride who has never had the opportunity for a factory ride before. Even if one of these teams would just give me a two-race deal to see how I did. Like I said, the concept of these fill-in rides is awesome, I just think it may be nice to give that same opportunity to someone who has never been on a factory team.
What do you have going on after the Supercross series ends? As of right now I don’t have anything. I am open to any opportunity, whether it is here in the States, Canada, or Australia. I will ride any series at this point! I just want to ride my dirt bike and show what I can do. I am actually a better outdoor rider than a Supercross rider. It has only been the past couple years that I started picking up Supercross. I love outdoor motocross a lot, so if I get an opportunity to ride the outdoors this summer that would be sweet. I just have not really had the chance yet. The first time I raced a National was last year at Washougal. I did it completely by myself with no mechanic or expectations. It was tough, but I qualified 14th. As I said, I am not sure what I will be doing after Supercross, but I will for sure be ready if anyone calls me!
Where do you see yourself in the final points standings after Las Vegas?
My goal is to be top 20 in points. I know that there are 26 factory riders, but finishing top 20 is important. And then I would love to get something lined up for for outdoors.