His sporting idol is Valentino Rossi, and whether he’s on or off the bike, there is little difference between Rossi and this week’s bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup profile, Marianos “Nos” Nikolis. Describing himself in three words as underestimated, determined and courageous, 11-year-old Nos continues to take the mischievous yet focussed attitude of his sporting idol, and raise the bar.
Racing under his idol’s famous number 46, the youngster admits he listens to DJ Khaled’s immortal track, ‘All I Do Is Win’, to get into the ‘zone’ before a race. If DJ Khaled doesn’t get you on board, the Canberra native exhibits buckets of self-control and discipline behind that trademark smile, contributing to his current sixth place seat on the leader board and consistent improvement over the first half of the season.
A former Dirt Track competitor, Nos is a fully converted Road Race lover who can’t be without his lucky socks and undies on a race weekend. Collecting his first Road Racing Championship at the age of nine, Nos is being guided through the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup pits by former Motul Pirelli Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) competitor and larrikin, Giuseppe Scarcella.
Tell us about where your love for motorcycle racing began and why?
My love for began when I was about three years old, watching my older brothers and dad racing around the Motocross track. I started riding when I was four years old at a track in Canberra, on a bike without training wheels! I began in Motocross (MX) and then moved to Dirt Track when I was seven, involving higher speeds which I love!
I still ride Dirt Track recreationally , but I put all my energy into racing Road Race now with the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup and the Australian Junior Road Racing Championship.
Tell us about the first time you hopped on a motorcycle.
The first memory was when I was four, on a KTM 50 SX. I was a bit scared because of the noise and after my first experience I actually didn’t want to ride again. But a few months later I just changed my mind and was super keen to get back on the bike! I guess the rest is history!
Thinking back, tell us about one of your favourite memories growing up when it comes to motorcycling?
This is tough one! I have a lot of great memories! My most favourite is winning my first ever Road Racing Championship when I was nine. It was with Moto Stars and I won every race in the six-round series. I then backed it up with another Championship win the next year!
This year, my third year, I’m leading the 2-Stroke Australian Championship, and doing well in the 150 Production Championship with Moto Stars. This is all alongside my efforts with the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup.
I love all my experiences and take all the commitments in my stride. My school is also super supportive. My teachers help me keep up with extra work to complete whilst I’m travelling. I actually don’t mind school, so the extra work isn’t a chore, and instead I actually enjoy it!
What career do you hope to end up in? For example, WSBK or MotoGP racer?
I would love to make it to MotoGP! It’s always been my dream since I first saw Valentino Rossi on the big screen! I’ve read his and Casey Stoner’s books, and I’ve decided that I want to live in the MotoGP paddock in Europe and be a professional racer!
I think I’ll start with Asia Talent Cup, then hopefully Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, and then move to Europe to pursue a MotoGP career!
Tell us who your sporting idol is. How have they impacted you and your love for motorcycling?
I currently admire a couple of racers. My first and most favourite would be Valentino Rossi. His attitude, jokes and wit are awesome, and he pushes so hard, even as he gets older. I try and copy Rossi’s attitude in everything I do.
My second favourite is Marc Marquez. You just can’t ignore his talent, and his intensity lap after lap. I try to learn from and copy Marquez’s riding style.
My third and final is Wayne Gardner. I got to meet him at his movie premiere and had a really cool, in-depth chat about his journey. We also shared race secrets! I try and copy Gardner’s cowboy persona and craziness, to help push me to where I need to go.
What have you learnt from the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup?
I’m learning so much from the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup and continue to learn at every round. So far, I’ve learnt about slipstreaming, overtakes, how to ride in large groups, being part of a team, having the correct attitude for my sponsors and team, and most importantly how to correctly communicate how the bike is feeling to the Öhlins suspension technicians.
I find a lot of what I’m learning comes out of being on the bike out on the track with the rest of the team.
Tell us about your bike, helmet, leathers, gloves and boots. How are you adjusting to the new bike? How do you find the products that have been chosen specially for you?
I really enjoy the Yamaha. It’s so big! The bets feeling is knowing I have control over it, which makes me feel confident. I also love how it’s an even playing field because everyone is on the same bike, so there’s greater reliance on skill.
I absolutely love the Ricondi leathers! They’re the best fit and fitted me like a second skin! They don’t restrict, and the quality makes you feel super safe, should you crash.
My AGV is by far the best helmet I’ve worn. It’s so light that I reckon I could walk around all day with it on and be fine! I can also see everything, so there’s no blind spots.
The boots and gloves are so comfortable too. I have troublesome ankles, and these boots have been super supportive whilst also helping keep me injury free.
Images courtesy of tbg Sport