After an off weekend, Monster Energy AMA Supercross returns tomorrow night. That is the good news. The bad news is that our man on the starting gate Phil Nicoletti, well, won’t be on the starting gate once again. While the 250SX West Region is back in action tomorrow night, Nicoletti is continuing to recover from a wrist injury he suffered in February.
But he will surely be watching from home. So, if you have questions about the race this weekend, you can get your questions answered if you just send an email to Phil@racerxonline.com.
(Note: Some questions have been lightly edited for clarity.)
Totally enjoying this title battle between Tomac and Webb. Would have been cool to have a three-way battle but Sexton has lost some points for sure. Anyway, you did race for Canadian titles and good money up there, so you had to deal with some pressure. Can you describe what you think life might be like right now for Eli and Coop? Are they nervous every day and will they be for six more weekends?
I don’t think I can really compare pressure. Haha. I wish I could, but I believe there are many different kind of pressure levels. I guess it is all relative though. But of course they feel pressure. I’d assume it’s an ungodly amount of pressure. But the pressure isn’t just on Saturday. It’s also Monday through Friday when they are practicing as well. Finding that fine line of risk vs reward when practicing. Trying to block out all the noise and making every day as less stressful and calm as possible. I know first-hand, Coop is all business on race day. But he always like to keep it light and joke and not think about riding or racing for a little while. Being able to disconnect on race day from reality is a big factor. Taking an hour to get some buddies together to bullshit after practice and talk to each other. I could only imagine how tiring the stress is. That’s the variable fans don’t realize. Stress is a killer. You have daily life stress that normal humans deal with, and then you have AMA Supercross championship pressure situation on top of that. Think your cortisol levels would be a bit high?
It’s pretty crazy to hear how all-in parents are these days with their minibike kids, with training facilities and home school they can get them riding almost every day, it seems like. Do you think this will just lead to burn out, or do they literally just gain so much bike skill that no one can catch them?
I’ve said this before. When I was a kid, I would have loved to be at a training facility. But there is a life balance. For a kid that’s under 17 to be at a training facility 24/7 is a lot. I believe going to school is important for social skills. There are different kinds of people in the world, not just moto people. It’s good for kids to be diverse at a young age and learn that. It’s good to have friends that know nothing about moto as well. Kids can be a top-level amateur without a facility. That’s my honest opinion. There are A LOT of guys who have done that. But for me now, and guys like Justin Brayton, a facility like ClubMX is unreal for us as a pro. It’s completely turnkey for us. But for a 12-year-old kid, I think living at a facility 24/7 a lot. But I was very fortunate enough I had property with a practice track on it, so I was able to ride after school any day of the week. I know 99 percent of kids who ride moto don’t have that. It’s hard to be competitive when a mom or dad has to take a day off work to drive their kid to the track to ride on a Wednesday. Trust me, I know all the sacrifice and hassle that goes into it. So I know why facilities are such a big deal for families. Both parents can work while the kid is living his moto dream. I just know you can still succeed without it. Loretta’s is the bread and butter. It’s always the first week of August. School gets out end of May beginning of June. That’s TWO months to prep. Pros can get ready for an AMA Pro Motocross national in a month. If you’re not aware, that’s two practices and two, 30-min-plus-two's. Kids at Loretta’s need ONE, 20-min-plus-one per day, sometimes two. I’ll leave it there.
Love your column and attitude. I see a lot of videos these days focusing on riding techniques. You’ve been at the pro level for a while, what technique or theory do you think has changed the most since you’ve been around and studying how to go faster? Are there literally different fundamentals as time goes by or is it basically all the same?
For myself in general, my riding style has changed a huge amount. Even back from 2009 SX to 2015 SX to 2023 SX. I look at picture and I’m like, 'Wow.' But I think it’s just the way bikes are. The way they change. The way seup changes. It’s like anything, things evolve. The hang-it-out, IDGAF-attitude on a motorcycle style doesn’t necessarily work anymore. Not when you have guys who are going the same speed while expending 10 percent less energy. To make up 10 percent in fitness and riding is even harder, it’s almost impossible. So you have to change the way the game is played. I’m older and stubborn AF and it’s hard to change. It’s like telling your dad who is set in his ways to change. It ain’t happening. But the new age of riding style is coming into play at a serious rate. It’s cool to see, especially from younger kids on 60s and 80s.