GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Nick DeFeo (T-Rex)

Tuesday Toolbox: Nick DeFeo (T-Rex)

Tuesday, March 1, 2022 | 3:50 PM
Tuesday, March 1, 2022 | 3:50 PM

This week Nick DeFeo, or T-Rex as some may know him by, talks how he got started racing, and moving into the GNCC circuit while also talking about his goals and how he looks up to Ben Kelley and Josh Toth. 

Season opener win for Nick DeFeo in 2022.
Season opener win for Nick DeFeo in 2022. Ken Hill Nick, let’s go back to the beginning. What got you started riding and eventually racing GNCC?

Nick DeFeo: My dad got me started when I was 3. I’ve loved the sport ever since then! Our first GNCC was back in 2017 and we fell in love immediately. Been racing them ever since.

You’re coming off a huge overall youth win at Big Buck. What’d it take to get out front and set the tone for the season with a win? 

That win really helped with everything! I’ve always done well at Big Buck in the past, but this year was even better. I got a good start and was able to pass Payton on the second lap. From there I worked to check out from the pack. Felt good on the bike all day.

You spoke about some lofty goals for 2022 after the win. What are those goals?

Yeah, it’s a lofty goal for sure! I want to win every race this season. And obviously, if I do that, I’ll be an Overall Youth Champion too. Those are the two goals. 1 race down, only 12 more to go.

DeFeo chasing that holeshot in the youth race.
DeFeo chasing that holeshot in the youth race. Ken Hill

You had some incredible battles last season with Cole Forbes. It was easy to see the passion and raw emotion from you after the race, you were committed then and you’re even more committed now. What did you do in the off-season to get better coming into this year?

Cole and I had some great battle last season. I got really tired of finishing in second as the year wore on. During this past off-season I worked hard with my trainer, Hunter Neuwirth and it’s paying off on the track now. Looking to keep things rolling in Florida.

Hunter is my guy! Keep your eye out for us in our Hawaiian shirts in Florida. A switch to the Kawasaki this season. Seems to be a good fit, you’re one for one on the year. How did the switch come about?

I love my Kawasaki! We took a risk changing brands, but I’ve always loved the feel of the Kawasaki. Both my 112 and my 250x are a great fit for me!

Obviously, you’re still in school. How do you balance school, training, racing, and traveling for GNCC?

Yeah, still gotta make time for school. I’m able to get some riding in on Tuesdays during the school year but that’s about it because I don’t really have any tracks or land to ride on around me. I make sure I’m working out at much as possible when I can’t get seat time. Getting to the races is still on mom and dad. I’m off school at 3:15 on Friday and we book it to the race.

DeFeo on the top of the box for the youth overall win at Big Buck in 2022.
DeFeo on the top of the box for the youth overall win at Big Buck in 2022. Ken Hill

What are your long term goals in racing? Have some fun as long as you can? Shoot for the XC1 someday? 

My long term goal is to go to the XC1, like everyone wishes. After my min [youth racing] life ends, I’m going to an A class, just not sure which one yet. Hopefully one day I’ll make it up there with the big dogs.

Who are the riders you look up to?

I without a doubt look up to my Connecticut brothers, Ben (Kelley) and Josh (Toth). I watched them over the years growing up in their racing careers. They were always the guys I looked up to when we’d get to ride together.

When you’re not racing or training, what do you like to do for fun?

Racing consumes a lot of my time. But if I’m not racing or training, I recently started riding a long board on the boardwalk. In the summer we all go to Rivers Morris’ house and go out on the river. We all got splat ball guns and have fun shooting those at each other. 

DeFeo celebrating his round one win with champagne showers.
DeFeo celebrating his round one win with champagne showers. Ken Hill

Alright, the one everyone’s been waiting for… Where did the nickname T Rex come from?

When I was little, I couldn’t get my goggles over my helmet with my neck brace on. So my dad started calling me T Rex because my arms were shorts.

Who are the people and sponsors you’d like to thank?

Huge thanks to Team Green Kawasaki for hooking me up this year (Ryan Holiday), Doug Douchette Kawasaki, FXR, ZRT Throttles, Evans, IMS, Scott Goggles, Ktech Suspension, Steve Daigle, Dunlop, and Hunter Neuwirth.