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There is probably no other up-and-coming German rider who is currently as hotly tipped as nine-year-old Luca Nierychlo. The native of Central Hesse has just amazed thousands of fans with his riding skills at the Supercross in Dortmund and achieved his greatest success in his young career to date. We met up with the likeable, exceptional talent and asked him a few questions for you.

Hey Luca, congratulations on your great weekend in Dortmund. Can you start by briefly introducing yourself to our readers who don’t know you yet?
Hey guys, my name is Luca Nierychlo and I’m nine years old. I live in a small village on Lake Aartal in central Hesse. As you can probably guess, I like to ride motocross and have been very successful so far.

That’s right. Your young career has been very impressive so far. But how did it all start?
That’s easy to explain. Like probably many of us, I first came into contact with motocross through my father. He used to race motocross actively himself and so I was out on the tracks with him from an early age. When I was one year old, I always used my dad’s index finger as a throttle grip, so I soon realised that I wanted to turn up the throttle myself. That’s how it all began.

You have already made a name for yourself in the motocross scene. How has your motocross career gone so far?
I rode my first race at the age of five in August 2018. The MSR race in Laisa was my first time at the starting gate on a PW 50. After that, I was hooked and was able to work my way up through the various regional racing series to the German championship and the European championship.

In four years, you have established yourself as one of the fastest young riders in Europe. What fascinates you so much about motocross?
It’s quite simple, I just love jumping. The feeling of being high up in the air is the best thing in the world for me. That’s what makes the sport so special for me. Where else can you jump so far and so high? I also enjoy ruts in a berm, even if they’re not always easy to hit.

Last year in particular went very well for you. What were the most important stages of the 2022 season for you?
Last year, I rode in the German 65cc championship and also took part in a few races in the Dutch championship. I was also at the gate for two races in the European Championship. I was still very inexperienced in the German championship at the start of the season. But that got better from race to race. Unfortunately, I had a few crashes in the DM right after the start of the races, which made my life a bit more difficult. Even in the last race of the season I didn’t stay crash-free. I was able to win the first race, which was a great feeling. In the second race, however, I had another crash at the start. That ended all hopes of the championship title. But in the end, I’m very happy about the runner-up title.

For my first race in the European Championship, I travelled to the deep sand of Lommel. I travelled there with a good feeling. Even though the track was pretty broken, I was able to finish 14th overall after two runs. I didn’t expect that in my first European Championship race. I went on to Vellahn in front of my home crowd. The race was also brilliant. I got off to a great start in the qualifying run and was able to place among the top four riders. Unfortunately, I fell during the race and had to give up a place as a result. However, I was able to regain the position on the last lap and finished the race in fourth place. Unfortunately, I had a tough setback in the final. I crashed quite heavily and unfortunately had to stop the race early. I was then able to finish the second race, but unfortunately just missed out on the points with my 21st place. But now I know what to expect and I’m already looking forward to the new season.

The year 2023 started with a real highlight for you: the ADAC Supercross in Dortmund. What’s the first thing that goes through your mind when you think back to that weekend?
Geil! It was just awesome to be able to ride in front of so many spectators and in this huge hall.

We believe you straight away. How did you find out about your participation?
The golden tickets were sent out in advance to all the guys who received an invitation for the weekend. I saw on social media that many other drivers had already received a ticket. Unfortunately, none had arrived in our letterbox by then. It wasn’t until the day before the closing date that my ticket arrived in my letterbox and I couldn’t believe it. Of course, we signed up straight away so that we could take advantage of this exclusive invitation. Even though I was a bit nervous beforehand about whether and when I would receive an invitation, everything worked out perfectly and I was able to start my preparations.

You’ve already mentioned it: How did you prepare for the Supercross in Dortmund?
Yes, it wasn’t that easy. In the first week of January, the ADAC-Hessen-Thüringen training camp in Spain was on the programme for me, which was of course great. But I wasn’t able to train for supercross here. After a tough but very productive week with Collin Dugmore, I returned home and started my preparation here. I knew that good preparation would be the key to success. I was all the more pleased to have the opportunity to train with Carl Ostermann in the E-Dirt Arena near Bonn. Not only was I able to rely on Carl’s help here, but Collin Dugmore also showed me what is important in supercross. In the end, it wasn’t a lot of training, but it was very effective and I left Dortmund with a good feeling.

Have you ever ridden Supercross before?
Yes, once. That was back then on the 50cc bike at the Mini SX Cup in Trebra.

What is the biggest difference between a supercross race and a motocross race?
It’s clearly the narrow track. In motocross, everything is very wide and faster. In supercross, there are actually no real tables, just doubles, which of course I really enjoyed.

Now, of course, we would also like to know how your weekend in Dortmund went.
For us, the weekend started on Thursday. After school, we packed up our camper and made our way to Dortmund. We arrived in the evening and of course my first stop was the hall. My goal was the track. I first had to orientate myself a bit to find everything. I’d been to the Supercross in Dortmund once before when I was two years old, but of course I can’t remember anything about it – except that TylerBowers won. Once I had found the track, I did my track walk. I really liked the track and the ground seemed just perfect. After that it was time for bed. On Friday morning, I could hardly wait to get back into the hall. Because I really wanted to see the first training sessions and all the racing teams in the paddock. That was a little highlight even before my first training session. But there wasn’t much time to watch, because I also had my first training session in the morning. I was a bit nervous, but when it started the excitement faded. The first training session went really well and I was able to jump a few doubles and felt very comfortable on the track. Then came the first timed practice and that went really well for me. I can already say that I was able to set the fastest time in all qualifying sessions and was therefore always the first to be called into the hall. That was of course a super cool feeling.

Where do you think you made the difference in the qualifying sessions? The competition was also very fast and generally much older than you.
I think the key points on the track were the washboard, which I always entered a little faster and where I also jumped the last two hills, and a small double after a left-hand bend. I was one of the few riders to take this jump in the first training session and therefore had a completely different rhythm in the next section. This jump should also pay off on Saturday.

Now a question for the dad: What did you say to Luca before his first start on Friday evening?
Marco: Of course I was excited too. As a father, you’re probably even more energised than your own child. Shortly before the start, I tried to calm Luca down a bit with simple encouragement. No matter what happens, he should enjoy the show, concentrate on getting off to a good start and then try to put into practice what we’ve been training over the last few years in the best possible way over the six laps. Then everything would be possible. Of course, I never thought it would turn out like this.

Now we’re curious. Luca, how were the races in front of thousands of spectators?
In the first race on Friday evening, I got off to a quite acceptable start and was able to enter the first corner in second place. That put me in a good position for the race. But unfortunately I made too many mistakes at the start of the race and the gap to Jamiro Peters was too big for me to launch another attack. Jamiro was super fast that day and simply made fewer mistakes, which meant he deserved to win on Friday. So I finished my first race in the Westfallenhalle in second place, which wasn’t quite my goal after qualifying, but that’s racing. I still had two more chances to stand at the top of the podium.
Saturday’s schedule was similar to that of Friday. Practice sessions were on the programme in the morning and afternoon and then the race in the evening. I have to say that I almost fell off my chair on Saturday when the paddock opened its doors to spectators. I would never have thought that so many acquaintances, friends, fans and new faces would want to see me. It was unbelievable. My dad had special autograph cards made and I was allowed to sign so many autographs that my hand was already aching. But of course I was very happy to do it. But now I’d like to tell you about my race. At the start of Saturday’s race, I entered the first corner in second place and Jamiro was ahead of me again. So I knew it was going to be a tough race. As Jamiro was travelling at pretty much the same speed as me, it was difficult to attack him or use a different line to overtake. But I didn’t let up and waited patiently for my chance. It took until the penultimate lap for me to get a chance to overtake. Jamiro had already made a mistake on the aforementioned double on the previous lap and let it slip. That was my chance and I knew I could do it. I jumped the double cleanly and was able to take the lead to the screams of the fans. Now I had to stay cool. I admit that I was very nervous on the last lap and could hardly wait to be waved off. I managed to cross the finish line in first place and I could hardly believe it! It was indescribable. The whole race was so much fun. And even though I didn’t really notice the spectators during the race, the atmosphere was really special. After the finish, I realised for the first time ever how many people were in the hall cheering me on.

The starting position could not have been more exciting. Each of you has won once and finished second once. So the title of “Mini-Prince of Dortmund” was to be decided on Sunday.
Exactly, that was pretty exciting for me. Whichever of us crossed the finish line first would win the overall classification. I got off to a much better start in the last run and was able to secure the holeshot. I entered the first jump section in the lead and rode my usual line through the section. Then I entered the sandy left-hand bend. I was leading into the bend when I suddenly felt a small bump on my rear wheel. I didn’t think anything of it at first, as I didn’t know what was happening behind me. Fortunately, I was able to absorb the blow easily. Now I was at the front of the field and I didn’t want to give up the lead. It wasn’t until a few laps later that I realised that Jamiro’s bike was on the barriers and that he had probably crashed into my bike on the first lap. After that, it was clear to me that I just had to get to the finish somehow. I slowed down a bit to reduce the risk and make it to the finish in one piece. And after six laps, I was actually the first to see the chequered flag and can now call myself the mini prince of Dortmund, which makes me incredibly happy and proud. I would never have expected to start in Dortmund and then win two races and leave the Westfallenhalle as Mini-Prince.

Not only did you win two races and the title, but you also got an extra prize.
Yes, I got an e-bike from Mr Frosty, which I tested directly in the paddock. Thank you Mr Frosty.

Not just us, but also thousands of fans are impressed by your performance and don’t begrudge you the victory! What do you remember most about your three races?
My two highlights were definitely the overtaking manoeuvre on Saturday and the holeshot on Sunday.

Let’s move straight on to the 2023 season. There’s been some news about your team. What are your plans for the coming season? Which events will you be competing in?
Yes, I was already able to compete for the AK-Bouw-Hutten-Metaal Junior Team in Dortmund and I’m very proud to be supported by such a big and well-known team. My team-mates from the Netherlands are super cool and super fast. Of course, that’s great for orientation. When the first kit arrived, I was really amazed. It’s a huge support for me and I hope I can repay the trust placed in me with lots of great results. I will be competing in the German Championships and the European Championships. The aim here is to qualify for the grand final in Loket. It won’t be easy, but I’ll do my best! As preparation, I will be racing in the Belgian and Dutch championships. The competition here is very fast and sand riding is also good training for me and will help me in the future. I would also have liked to go to the World Championships in Romania, but unfortunately you can only compete there at the age of ten. So I’ll probably have to be patient for another year. But it’s already firmly planned for the next one.

Can you already talk about goals for the seasons?
In the German championship, I clearly want to win the title! In the European Championship, I’ve set myself the goal of finishing in the top ten. It won’t be easy, but if I do my best, I can achieve that too. If I get an invitation to Dortmund next year, I would like to defend my title.

What are your long-term goals in MX racing?
Even if it still takes a while, I definitely want to ride EMX 125 one day. Of course, my biggest dream is to compete in the world championship. I would like to become a Red Bull rider there.

At nine years old, you are often the youngest rider on the grid in the 65cc class. How do you deal with that?
I don’t normally mind at all. But in Dortmund it was pretty late by the time the race started in the evening. I think the slightly older boys had an advantage here as I was pretty tired. I’m normally in bed by 8pm. In Dortmund, however, the start wasn’t until 10.30pm. On the whole, I don’t see the age difference as being that serious. The decisive factor is how you perform on the course. Of course, it’s fun to annoy the older guys a bit.

Please tell us one more thing that we don’t know about you yet.
I’m left-handed, but I do most things with my right hand. Especially stepping on the gas.

Thank you Luca for your time. We wish you every success on your journey and look forward to seeing where it takes you. Any final words from you?
I also have to say thank you and would like to take this opportunity to thank my family, my coach Collin Dugmore, my team and all my supporters for their help!