Phil Nicoletti's 2021 season was short lived, as his run with the ClubMX Yamaha team ended due to a torn ACL before the RedBud National. Plus, his best buddy Alex "Troll Train" Martin had his season interrupted with multiple injuries. Yup, the typical bad news for Phil. But he's finding a way to dig deep, sacrifice, and help folks like you. Got a question? Send it to Phil@racerxonline.com.
(Note: Some questions have been lightly edited for clarity.)
Hey Philthy, you’ve been riding the mighty (but not always loved) YZ450F for a while now. I think Dylan Ferrandis will have an awesome second year in 450 supercross and with Eli Tomac coming over to Yamaha, what’s your thoughts? Will we see a Yamaha win the 450 supercross title? Is it a worthy machine?
I will agree with you in the Ferrandis take with having a breakout supercross season. I really feel like his 2021 campaign was pretty damn good. I swear he passed more riders in SX than anyone else. You definitely can’t say that Ferrandis and Tomac won’t be title contenders just because they are on a blue bike. I feel like the stigma of that bike has changed a lot in a matter of eight months. Whether it was the “new” Yamaha 450 team, or a rider that knew how to ride the Yamaha 450 to make it successful, it changed a lot of opinions on it. You should listen to the PulpMX show from a few weeks ago, I made Steve Mattes get KYB suspension technician Ricki Gilmore on the phone to get a better grasp on what Star Yamaha did to excel. Truth be told, I didn’t do it so the listeners could learn more, I just wanted to know for myself! All I all, it’s pretty cool to see this kind of progress. Then I watched Tomac’s video on the blue bike and he looks BADASS! They definitely are without a doubt title threat! But do they take down my guy CW2? Ehhhhhh I don’t know about that one.
Watch the interview with Gilmore below at the 1:03:35 mark of PulpMX Show #477:
With riders signing with new teams as of October 1st, rumors are that some riders have changed teams so they could have more freedom with bike setup. My question is, at the pro level why would a team not bend over backwards to make the bike so the rider is happy? At the end of the MX nationals it was reported that Cooper Webb made a change that he said the bosses weren't too happy about. Then his results got better. As a team would you not want your rider to be happy with his equipment? Seriously 99 percent of fans don't know much about a factory bike other than Honda is red KTM is orange so on and so. Are these teams to prideful to admit when they are wrong?
I don’t really know how to answer this, it’s pretty tricky. Every factory team tries as hard as they can to make a bike work best for a rider, absolutely. It’s the team’s job is to get the rider as comfy as possible, so he can go as fast as possible. Seems simple, right? WRONG…….that can turn into a headache quick. When a rider can’t feel what’s happening, and is struggling, and can’t carry speed, and finish where he wants to finish, then the mood starts to change. Then when you test, test, test, and still end up not comfortable, you get upset. The worst part is when you test on a practice day, and it feels good. You tell everyone it feels great, blah blah blah. Then you show up on Saturday, and after first practice on a new track, with new bumps and dirt, and you’re riding around screaming WTF under your helmet. Then you’re left doing full revalues in between practices and motos, and that’s not fun for a suspension guy or a rider. It definitely doesn’t help the confidence when you don’t know what the bike is going to do with the new setting, but the gate is about to drop and you’ve got to pin it. (And no, you can’t tell from an effing parade lap).
But to answer your question regarding Coop, I don’t really know. I do know KTM runs a gusset frame for SX here in the states and it makes a big difference in taking away some flex. The European team also runs a longer frame and different gussets placed somewhere you can’t see. Fair enough, seems logical. I believe the issue came into play when the U.S gusset frame was too rigid on the outdoor track and was limiting the comfort and speed. Why it took so long to get it done? Your guess is as good as mine. After a certain amount of suspension testing, and going round and round, you’d think it’d be a no brainer.
A while back I sent UnPhiltered an email asking about your dream team scenario. After listening to a previous PulpMX Show with you and Troll in the studio, I thought of my own version of the Phill dream team and would like to know what you think?
I want you and Troll together on the ClubMX team with Steve Matthes as a team manager! I really don't need Matthes to "manage" anything, just give him a title and make sure the three of you are part of the Troll Train Vlog. That’s all I’m really trying to accomplish here. You might have to negotiate with Troll on the revenue that the Vlog will generate, because I’m sure it will grow massively once you guys are in there. We know you hate the Vlog thing, but the Vlog will be comedic gold and will only create a bigger Philthy/Troll fan base. And the "Team Philthy Troll" merch potential (another thing you hate) will be endless. You hate Vlogs and merch, but I know you don't hate money! There's a good opportunity here. Your thoughts?
Thank you, I really look forward to seeing you and Alex racing in 2022!
Jim G from district 23
I’m gonna be honest. I can’t stand being around Troll Daddy for more than three days straight. Any longer than that I wanna Phil Nicoletti/ Mike Alessi him. So, if I ever did have to spend the year with him, he would end up receiving a mental beat down, even worse than the 450 supercross beat down he’s going to endure this winter. Good luck out here, Alex. But as far as the Troll Train Vlog, I’m not participating in helping HIS revenue stream, screw that! If I receive a Troll Train Check, then I’ll join in and it’ll be the rare thing that can make me smile, knowing I’m taking money from him.
To be fair, I don’t who would be worse to be around all day at a race. Steve or Troll? It’s a guaranteed headache though. Steve would be that arrogant team manager that wouldn’t let you change a rear sprocket or something stupid. He would have us running the same gearing at Thunder Valley like we did at sea level. Then he would tell us “run what ya brung bro” and say we’re just too picky about setup and just blaming for the bike for everything. After a few rounds I’ve that, I’d probably snap on him. Probably would be good stuff for the Vlog now that I think about it.
Ps. For you sensitive ones out there about to get upset, I’m kidding about going Phil Nicoletti/Mike Alessi on him. I would be very kind. Troll will also ride the 450 well. And I will definitely join the Troll Train vlogs……when he pays me.