Unsung Hero: Phil Nicoletti

Unsung Hero Phil Nicoletti

September 4, 2012 11:35am

In a what-have-you-done-lately sport, privateer Phil Nicoletti is walking off into the sunset, his best result of the season in hand. He hopes he is leaving a lasting impression on teams as they begin to dig into their 2013 budget. It’s not a voluntarily decision, but one that’s reluctantly had to be made.

“It’s the last one for me. I won’t be making Elsinore,” he said. “To do it right, and to do it on my own, it’s just not in the budget for me. So I figured I would go out with a bang at Steel City.

For me it’s a bummer, but with anything in life sometimes money holds you back,” he added. “To make the trip all the way out to California and back to the east coast, it’s just impossible.”

Nicoletti rode to a career-high sixth in the second moto at Steel City.
Andrew Fredrickson photo

Just weeks before The Southwick National, Nicoletti was still uncertain on which class he would be riding after he and Eleven10 Mods mutually agreed to go their separate ways. Nicoletti showed up to Southwick on a 2011 CRF450 and flirted with a podium spot early before suffering a mechanical problem—a situation that Nicoletti has faced throughout much of the 2012 season. The New Yorker bounced back with a thirteenth in moto two, and headed to Unadilla, and pieced together one of his best rides of the year with an eighth overall. In a season that has been plagued Jekyll and Hyde moments—one good moto coupled with a mechanical problem or a crash in another—Unadilla proved to be a turning point.

The momentum swing would continue along the pristine hillside of Delmont, PA, home of the FMF Steel City National. A hard crash the week before Steel City confined the privateer to rest and relaxation, something that proved to be pivotal in the first moto, as the intensity caught up to Nicoletti and cost him a spot inside the top 10.

“The intensity got to me at about the 20 minute mark. I was in sixth or seventh and then faded back to eleventh—which I wasn’t too happy about,” Nicoletti said.

Nicoletti will not be making the trip to Lake Elsinore due to lack of funds.
Andrew Fredrickson photo

But as been the case all season, the persevering privateer rallied in the second moto and turned in a 450 Class career-high sixth—giving him eighth overall on the day.

A season that was just beginning to gain steam has been cut short. Nicoletti will leave the industry with a lasting impression of a sixth on a 2011 CRF450, and hope that's enough to score something for next season. It was the plan all along for Nicoletti, but one that still has to be a tough pill to swallow. As Nicoletti returns home to spend a few weeks with family and friends before heading back to ClubMX and the grid of another season on the horizon, we leave him with this weeks Racer X Unsung Hero Award.