With the opening round of the 2024 Monster Energy Supercross Championship mere days away, we’re well aware of the information you’re craving—the knowledge and wisdom of one, Philthy Phil Nicoletti. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, and this week the paddock’s most prominent perpetrator of Philth opines on subjects of extreme importance, such as choosing favorite riders, fan interactions, and blitzing whoops.
And, as always, if you’ve got a question for Phil, send it over to Phil@racerxonline.com. He’s slated to race death-cross in California this weekend, so he should be in a fantastic mood during the coming week!
Two of my all-time favorite riders are you and Troll Daddy. Not so much because of results, but because of the gnarly professional path and the ridiculous drive you both had to succeed (not to mention the honesty and the humor).
My problem is that Troll has retired and you are seemingly getting closer to retirement. Can you share, ideally, how much more FILL of PHIL we can hope for as your fans? And after you move on, who do we get behind?
Give me a rider or two that best represents a young Troll or Phil. There needs to be some struggle and heartbreak. They need to be tireless in trying to break through a crop of riders with more privilege, opportunity, and talent. What young riders best represent a young Troll or Phil?
I appreciate the words, but I’m not sure if it was a ridiculous drive that got us here, between him and I, or we were just stupid. I’m going with stupid. But it has been a grind. There is no doubt about that. Holy shit. The time limit for myself is coming to the end much sooner than later. At the moment I still feel pretty good. Injuries nag, but my wrist dislocation last year is a real slap in the face. It hurts EVERY MINUTE of the day. But the rest of me, especially mentally, feels quite strong. That can always change in a blink of an eye though. Every time you get banged up it takes years off your moto lifespan, it feels. So we will see. If I’m not top 10, then I know it’s over.
As far as someone to get behind, I have no idea. There will be a changing of the guard soon. A lot of us between 30-35 will be gone here real soon. You’ll be watching a new crew that are all Gen Z’s. So good luck choosing.
We’ve all heard the stories of fans meeting professional riders and not getting what they wanted out of the interaction. Maybe a factory rider is an asshole because he didn’t go out of his way to give some dude’s kid a tour of the truck, or maybe another racer is full of himself because he didn’t let some sloppy, drunk chick sit on his motorcycle in the pits. Fans love to bitch about riders online, but my question for you is, when you were an angry young aspiring racer, what kinds of positive or surprising interactions did you have with pro riders.
I remember once I was at an arenacross and we went to Denny Stephenson’s pits and I repeated something inappropriate he’d said in a Crusty Demons movie, thinking it’d make him laugh. Surprisingly, he asked me to stop and be respectful of the little kids around. Not the response I expected, but still a positive one. You ever have anything like that happen before you became the jet-setting Grinch of a pro you are today?
-Perplexed in the Pacific Northwest
To be honest, my first interactions with professionals when I was a kid were really good. I still remember meeting Doug Henry, John Dowd, and Scott Sheak at my local track at Walden Playboy in Walkill, NY. Even top privateers like Carsten, Plotts, Crine, Stratton, and Wallace were all legends. They all treated me so good when I was a kid. Even when I turned A class and they were well past their prime, they treated me well. It’s wild to look at the timetable now though. I’m currently older than they were when I met them. Except for maybe Junkyard, haha. I always try and talk or take time to talk. I’m at a much smaller scale than Coop, Jett, Hunter, Eli, Kenny, or Chase. Just think if you meet 60 people, and dedicate one minute to each one of them, our whole break/lunch/debrief is smoked up. So there has to be some sort of a, ‘I’m a prick’ mentality. If it was a Tuesday, we could spend more time to bullshit. But fans do have to realize, the boys get paid for Saturday. I will always do my best to pause for a photo, and if you do, have the finger ready.
I remember reading somewhere that guys are hitting supercross whoops pinned in fourth gear, when they’re still in good condition of course. First of all, is this true?! If so, that must make them one of the fastest sections on the track! How do you even react at those speeds when dudes get sideways in front of you?! I wouldn’t even have the ability to change directions and avoid danger on flat, grippy loam when going that fast!
Second question is, how the hell do guys learn how to do that? Is it sink or swim? Survive or break bones? Do teams build “beginner” whoops for guys to learn how to blitz? It doesn’t seem like you could learn how to blitz whoops slowly, AKA safely. What technique did you use to learn how to tackle these supercross monstrosities?-Snowed-in Sam
No one is coming into the whoops fourth gear “pinned”. Especially on entry if there is a lot of space or a double coming in. They will definitely be pinned in fourth toward the middle to end. Coming out of corner into the whoops might be fourth but RPMs are low. If you were to look at throttle percentage, you’d be surprised how “not pinned” a dirt bike is on an SX track. The percentage of max throttle is very, very low. Max throttle is when you are taking a trip to Endo-nesia doing the ole, “donkey kick, with your butt puckered”.
As far as learning how to do it, it starts off with technique and bike setup. Starting off slower, with six-ish whoops is a great start. That way you can practice tapping each one. At ClubMX they have a proper whoop track with three sets of whoops. Small, medium, large. All the sizes in each set is the same, but they’re 8/10/12. It’s actually quite hard to do laps consistently on it. It’s one helluva workout. Don’t get me wrong, there will be a F$&@ ton of trial and error still, regardless. So, I wish you young ones well on your future endeavors in SX whoops.
Sidenote here, and I’ve said it before, if someone is just telling you it’s all about entry speed and that’s all the advice they are giving you, hand them your bike and tell them to show you.