Phil Nicoletti has a long road back to racing after smashing his wrist in the whoops at Oakland, so since bonus money isn’t coming his way anytime soon, he’s still stuck answering questions for us at a minimum-wage scale. We have all the leverage right now! So, take advantage and email the Muc-Off/FXR/ClubMX Yamaha rider yourself at email@example.com. He has time to answer questions, that’s for sure!
(Note: Some questions have been lightly edited for clarity.)
What is it like to race with guys like Tomac, Sexton, Kenny and Webb. Do you ever get intimidated as far as the racing goes and what can you say about the talent these guys bring every week?
Nowadays, I don’t get nervous to ride with those guys at all. To me they’re just normal Joe Blow’s. Back when I first got into the 450 class in 2013, I was a bit nervous racing Reedy, Stew, Windham, and Shorty. Back then I was Sexton’s age, and I was racing them. Those guys to me were legends when I was a kid growing up. But racing RV and Dunge wasn’t that big of a deal because I raced them my whole life. As far as now it’s not a big deal at all. They are just normal dudes!
First off heal up soon so you can get back to kicking ass! I'm wondering what your thoughts are on the media hyping up Tomac on the all-time wins list I feel like they're disrespecting Villopoto and Dungey who both have four titles but there’s never any mention of this. I think its bull shit! Titles are more important than wins, right? Ricky might as well say “I don't care if you pass me in wins I have five titles.” Yet they only ever mention McGrath, Stewart , and Reed. Does this piss anybody else off? I mean, come on, Tomac couldn't even beat Dungy for a title! Can you talk to the SMX broadcast team and have them please put up the stats for titles along with the total wins?
I mean, I agree with you 100 percent but the problem is that Tomac is passing legends on a record sheet. So, they have to talk about it because it’s an insane stat. But you are right though. If they are just going to show the wins, then they should put the number of titles that are just underneath or above them to go along with it just so it can put things into perspective a little bit more. Because to me, RVs FOUR straight championship runs are completely underrated. I know MC had four straight, as well as three straight, and could have potentially been EIGHT straight (which is absolutely mental!). I think race wins are badass, but it should always be listed by titles first and then race wins tallied in! Just to keep shit into perspective.
Thanks for adding all your Philthy to the sport. We definitely need it. I'm going to get right to my question:
I started watching SX and MX as a rabid fan during the Villopoto years. One thing I’ve noticed recently compared to the Villopoto era is how podium interviews don’t turn into listing ones sponsors after half answering a question anymore. Some riders don’t even mention the sponsors at all anymore. Has there been a conscious change to how podium interviews are conducted and answered?
I think it comes down to the point that it’s mostly the same guys on the podium every weekend. I’m all for a more open podium speech rather than just listening often name of sponsors. But unfortunately, the sponsors really help pay the bills for what we love to do. But in our sport if you can’t tell that Cooper rides a Red Bull KTM and wears Thor and that Eli rides a Monster Energy Yamaha wearing Alpinestars gear, then you’re a lost cause. If you don’t know what the top athletes in the sport are really branding, then you’re not really a fan. If you don’t know what gear or goggles or helmet they use then you can’t be a keyboard warrior on Instagram or a message boards. You don’t hear other athletes in other sports listing off names of sponsors. I’ve never heard LeBron James listing off Nike, McDonald's, Blaze Pizza, Beats Electronics, Sprite, Upper Deck, State Farm Insurance, Audemars Piguet, Dunkin' Donuts, Samsung, Kia, Verizon, Intel on every interview. And yeah, I did the Googling for you guys because no chance in hell I knew all the companies he reps, nor do I care. I know, he does big commercials instead that shows that he uses those brands. I know sponsors need their time to shine as well. I get that 1000%. But I like organic interviews, ones with a bit of emotion. I hate robots. Oh, I also hate ramblers. I’m sure you know which ones they are!