A wiry, toe-headed child, Jackson Nickolet looks like a boy that doesn’t stop — a boy that has burnt every excess pound of flesh in ceaseless motion.
Motion is where Nickolet, at 13, excels. He’s been all over the province this past summer racing his 85cc Kawasaki and winning while doing it. He now has two trophies that he smiles proudly when he shows them off — a foot and a half tall shiny cup with curlicues for handles, for winning the points championship for Northern B.C. and a glass plaque with his name etched in the surface along with his second place showing in the points championship in B.C.
It was Nickolet’s first season on an 85cc bike; last year he rode 65cc bikes in his rookie season — and Nickolet had trouble starting the season.
“At the beginning I wasn’t that good, but as I raced more I got better. I practiced a little more each week and practiced certain parts of the track to get better. I went to a few more races and started to win more,” Nickolet said.
With eight races over the course of the season, he had plenty of time to get a bit more serious during the season, which he did after seeing his results. After his first win of the season in Quesnel and finding he was fifth in the province on the B.C.M.A. website standings, Nickolet saw he had a chance of making something of the season and doubled his effort.
“I went faster and that’s when I started focusing on certain parts of the track, like the corners, going faster into them and coming faster out of them and taking bigger jumps and in the whips,” Nickolet said.
The whips, also referred to as a ‘rhythm section,’ are comprised of small jumps and bumps on a section of track that require riders to time their jumps to make sure they make it through smoothly, not landing flat, straddling a jump or smashing into the face of one of the small jumps.
“The big whips, it’s hard to go fast over them, but I just went fast over them once and it didn’t scare me anymore,” Nickolet said.
After his extra practices and newly-gained confidence in the rhythm section, Nickolet found himself sitting in first place by fifty points, but after a Terrace race, which he missed, the championship tightened up.
“It got tight after that, so I just had to win two more races to win and I won those,” he said.
With those too wins, Nickolet was the champion of the B.C.M.A. Northern Series, sitting 40 points ahead of his nearest competitor, a race win nets the winner 25 points. But there was a surprise still to come.
After winning the Northern Series, Jackson also took second overall on points.
“That was a surprise,” he said.
For the second place overall, Nickolet received a glass plaque to put beside his trophy.
It’s no wonder Nickolet has managed to win his class in his second year of racing; he’s been doing it a long time, seven year to be exact, since he was a wee little five year-old.
He hasn’t stuck only to the 85cc bike he won the championship on, Nickolet, like most motorsport enthusiasts, had hungered for more power, which he satiated with a bored out version of his 85cc bike. The extra 16 cubic centimetres gave Nickolet a little more fun until it blew up
Nickolet’s a Kawasaki man now, through and through, after his winning season in the saddle of a little green bike.
“I think I’ll always ride Kawasaki,” he said.
He’s has learned a lot about his ride over the course of the season and four rebuilds.
“We have to take it apart when it blows up and I always have to help,” he said.
All those rebuilds, along with the endless traveling, have required a community around him. Nickolet traveled in a pack of riders from Quesnel to help offset costs and offer aid when the unforeseen happened on the track. One of the perks of the group Nickolet fondly remembers is the breakfast parents would cook for the packs of children moving from race to race.
For those wonderful breakfasts and their help in putting together a winning season for him, Nickolet has a thankful heart.
“I would like to thank Fireside mechanical and Iris and my friends and family for helping me with my bike when it breaks down,” he said.
Next year, if he manages to grow a bit more, Nickolet will move up a class, onto the 250F that he already has. He’s excited for the change, but not everyone shares his enthusiasm.
“His parents are nervous,” his mother said.
“That’s just you,” he responded.