A look inside the life of Swindon Robins’ Aussie starlet
5:30am Monday 21st July 2014 in By Andy Warren, Deputy sports editor, firstname.lastname@example.org, @AndyWarren_
NICK Morris has achieved more by the tender age of 20 than most speedway riders do in their entire careers, but the youngster is fully aware of how many steps he still needs to take to reach the top.
In addition to a host of junior titles back home in Australia, the Robins rider has won a Conference League title, three Premier League crowns and an Elite League championship since moving to this country five years ago.
He knows nothing but success.
Having progressed from the bottom of the pile with Buxton through to Elite League glory with Swindon, also taking in stops at Glasgow, Scunthorpe and Somerset, Morris is now finding things a little tougher this season in his first campaign as a top tier heat leader and a number one in the Premier League.
If his past record is anything to go by then Morris will soon have conquered his latest challenges and moving on to the next stage of his upward trajectory, with the Aussie in no doubts the time will soon be right for him to look to Europe, specifically Poland, to further his career.
However, his very first experience on a motorbike might have been enough to convince most yong children a career in motorsports is not one for them.
“My dad got me a 125cc and it was on the driveway when I got home and that day I went out and bought the gear, but I didn’t have a clue how to ride a motorbike. I stalled it a million times I reckon but finally managed to get it going up and down the street a couple of times, before I got it flat out, couldn’t stop and ended up flying up the gutter.
“That was my first time.
“After that I started riding on this bit of land near where I lived and did that a fair bit until I was able to ride and learned to slide, and then got into the local club and raced at club days and things like that.
“I didn’t really think about racing professionally until I came over here when I was 14 or 15 and I started riding second halves and things like that and I didn’t really know how things would go when I first signed up with Buxton.
“I started scoring points there and I’ve slowly gone up and up and up, and here I am today. We’ve been improving every year which is the main thing for me but I still need to keep going, I need to go abroad and I need to test myself.
“I need to get into some stuff in Poland next year, get my name out there and see how I go. You have to start low really and maybe ride in the second division or the first division and work yourself up that way.
“If you can crack it out there that’s you made really and it opens so many doors for you to do the World stuff and things like that.
“I know it’s a hard life to live and the boys are never stopping because they are always on planes and in airports, but I want to do it and that’s the way I want to go.”
A number of Polish clubs have showed an interest in bringing Morris into their plans, most notably Bydgoszcz, but it is testimony to both Morris and his level-headed parents Lee and Wendy that they haven’t jumped into the most unforgiving nation in world speedway.
The temptation must surely be there, especially when you look at what his closest friend in the sport has achieved already.
Morris met Darcy Ward, currently sitting third in the Grand Prix standings at just 22, when the pair were racing each other in Queensland at the age of 11 and the two remain close friends to this day.
With Morris often compared to his friend, many forget just how much the Swindon rider has progressed and achieved by the age of 20, with Ward’s rise to the top by the time he left his teens quick to overshadow him.
However, while Morris himself is quick to admire and feel a sense of pride for what his friend has achieved, the calm and assured youngster knows his time will come as long as he sticks to his guns.
“Darcy and I have known each other a long time because we were racing each other since I was 11 or 12 years old, but I didn’t really start talking to him until I was a bit older,” he said. “ We did an Aussie 125 title together and really got to know each other then, and we’re really good friends.
“We don’t see each other very often but we keep in touch and talk on the phone a bit, and I saw him at the GP in Cardiff as he hooked me up with some tickets.
“We live near each other when we go back to Aussie too so we spend a lot of time together then.
“Darcy is awesome, you can never compare yourself to him because he’s really on another planet but it’s good to see how he does everything.
“People can think what they want about us and the way I’m doing things but I want to get to the top and I’m doing everything I can to get there.
“Everything’s happened for Darcy really quickly but that little bit slower for me, but I would love to be racing against him in the GP one day and that’s the plan.
“I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, work hard and see where that takes me.”
Behind every successful young rider is a supportive family, and Morris is no different. Lee and Wendy Morris have been the driving force behind their son’s career, getting him started in Australia before helping him take his first steps in British speedway.
The couple moved back to England a little over two years ago to be closer to Nick, with dad Lee admitting his son took to speedway almost instantly.
“He was sliding the bike within half an hour and he picked things up almost straightaway,” he said.
“Nick’s a bit of a natural at a lot of things and has some really good upper body strength, he was a really good climber when he was young and that’s really helped him I think.
“He started winning races at his second and third meeting and he’s kept on going ever since really. When he was nearly 15 we made the move here and he’s done really well.
“I think he got man of the match in his first meeting for Buxton and he’s done so much ever since. In three consecutive years he won the National, Premier and Elite League and made the step up every time, he’s done so well.
“He’s had offers in Germany and Poland but he doesn’t have enough equipment, which you really need out there and it’s best to have stuff based in Europe.
“We’ve looked into it and after riding at Somerset on a Friday he wouldn’t have time to drive to Europe, when we did the maths he didn’t have enough hours.
“If a German or Polish club offers a couple of bikes as part of the deal then we’ll do it, simple as that.
“He’s got the potential to go fairly far in speedway I think, although he’s had a little lull recently, but what he’s achieved so far is brilliant.”