We spoke to rising star Nolan Lamkin about his career and future aspirations.
Nolan “Indy” Lamkin is a 20-year-old MotoAmerica Supersport rider and is one of the younger riders in the class, he has previously raced in the KTM 390 cup.
When did you start riding motorcycles?
I first started riding motorcycles when I was 2 ½ years old, when Santa Claus brought me a JR 50. My family has always loved motorcycles, so it was kind of destined for me [laughing]. My dad loved working on them, and my great grandfather used to own a Norton dealership way back in the 60’s.
What was the first bike you learned to ride on?
My first bike was that Suzuki JR 50
What was the bike you first raced on?
The first bike I raced on was that Suzuki JR 50 on a GoKart track 3.5 hours away from me. Then I moved up to a KX 65 a couple of races later.
Where was your first race?
My first race was at a track called Circleville near Columbus Ohio.
Lamkin on his Yamaha R6, he will move to the 2020 version for 2021.
What was it about racing that got you hooked?
When I first started racing, it was mostly about the speed, and the feeling of moving on the bike. It fit me much better than American Football or Baseball.
Nowadays I race for the feeling of everything going still, and it feels like you are on the bike and the world is moving underneath you, not the bike moving on the asphalt. That is the feeling I live for.
What series did you race in over the past few years before MotoAmerica?
I started out club racing in WERA on a Moriwaki 250, but I have raced in MotoAmerica since 2015 starting when I was the youngest kid in the KTM Cup.
List your accomplishments in those series’ (podium, winner, etc)
In club racing with WERA, I raced a Moriwaki 250 and won my regional championship and the national championship as well.
Still going to compete in SuperSport in 2021 or will you do another class?
I am still competing in SuperSport in 2021. We have a new crew chief coming on board for this season, and I am super excited.
What will you be riding for 2021?
I will be racing a 2020 Yamaha R6 in 2021. I got one of the final R6’s in the US and I have been documenting the build process of taking a street bike to a full SuperSport race bike on my social media and my website.
Goals for this season?
My goals for this season, are to do the best I can every time I go on track, and wherever that puts me at the checkered flag, or in the championship is great. To me it’s more about the process than it is the end result. The past couple of years we have struggled with some issues with the bike, but this year we are looking good with the brand-new bike, new crew chief and some other stuff behind the scenes.
Biggest challenges last season?
In 2020 the biggest challenge for me was we had some big issues with the rear end of the motorcycle. The biggest example of that was at The Ridge. In one sector I was only two tenths off the leader but in the final sector I was just getting annihilated. We were using a suspension tech who just had too much going on and didn’t get the time we needed to truly work on the bike. I then started getting into my head with my riding, because he just kept telling me to ride harder, but we had rear shock settings for a GSX-R 1000 on my Yamaha R6. It didn’t work out great [laughing].
Ultimate goals in the sport? MotoGP? WSBK?
Everyone’s goal with their racing is MotoGP. My goals are to race against the best people in the world and show what I can do with a proper setup, wherever that is. If that is MotoGP, WSBK, MotoAmerica or even CEV, that’s great. I really want to race in Europe.
Any racing heroes growing up?
My biggest racing hero was Nicky Hayden. Who he was as a person really affected me, about just being a good person. I was able to meet him a couple of times at the Indy MotoGP races when I was a kid and it was great. The other big racing hero was Danny Kent and that is why in 2017 I changed my number to 52, when it was 21 before.
The biggest influence on your career?
The biggest influence I have had on my career would have to be my dad. Everyone always talks about how their parents did everything to help them with racing. Hands down I have to say my dad and everything he did for me. The number of times he would drive us home from the races and get in at 3 o’clock in the morning and then take me to school at 7 am, and then go to work himself, is crazy. My dad really listened to me when I said I wanted to go racing, even when I said I wanted to Road Race instead of Drag Racing (which is what everyone in my family did). He listened and as much effort I was willing to put in, he would reciprocate. My dad is amazing, and I can’t thank him enough. Without him and his support, I don’t know what I would be doing right now.
Any advice for other young kids that want to get into racing?
The biggest advice I can give to any other young kids wanting to get into racing, is to listen more than you talk, and just be a good person. Bad news travels fast in the paddock so if you can just be a good person that will open more doors for you than anything else. That is why I make the videos that I do, just to help the younger version of myself out, and teach them things I wish I knew sooner. If it helps me out, then cool, but that’s not the purpose. Just be a good person and the rest will fall in line.
If you want to see more of Nolan check out his social media links below:
Featured images credit to – Brian J Nelson