Phil Nicoletti on People He is Thankful for Ahead of 2022 Thanksgiving – Racer X Online

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You can bet that “Filthy” Phil Nicoletti will be arguing with friends and family this Thanksgiving Day just like you, but, probably with more intensity. Phil isn’t afraid to tell anyone what he thinks, and no doubt the family turkey day isn’t an exception. So, we’ll let Phil and you enjoy the holiday stress and arguing by getting this week’s UnPhiltered posted early. Enjoy the stuffing!
Email [email protected] if you want in next week.
(Note: Some questions have been lightly edited for clarity.)
With Thanksgiving upon us, I want to know what Phil is thankful for. Can you share the people that helped your career the most over the years?
I am certainly thankful for your contribution to the sport, most people would agree that you have been terrific to follow over the years!
Happy Thanksgiving!
Jimmy G
District 23
Jimmy G,
That’s a great question. To be honest, the list would be endless. But there are a few key people who have saved my career, and have kept me on the straight and narrow. First and foremost, my old man. If it wasn’t for him, I would have been a lost cause. He gave me the tough love and thick skin you need to have in this sport. Another key factor in my life was the Maresca family. Dr. Maresca was a huge supporter of mine from when I was a 16-year-old kid until I was well into my pro career. I failed in the first two years in the sport and nearly got spit out the back. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have been able to claw my way back. There was no reason for the help, he just wanted to support a kid from New York and I’m forever thankful. The next influence in my career is Thomas Fitcher. I met Thomas in 2013 when his company, N-Fab, sponsored a team that I was on with. From 2013 until today he is still involved with me and my programs. He sold the N-Fab company, but still helps support myself and ClubMX with his good friend Greg Adler and his company, Off Road Warehouse (ORW). You can see it in our butt patch, which over the years has transferred from N-Fab to ORW. Also, I have to of course give a nod to my old friend Coy Gibbs. I’m still in shock that he’s gone. He and Thomas became great friends and that helped me when I was racing for JGR. Next would be the Willis Family. They took me to almost every amateur national, regional, or just small bullshit race I couldn’t really make it to. If I couldn’t get there, they would always take me. They took me in as their stepson. Always! Even if there was never room, they always had my back. Really, there are so many people that have cared for me through the years, from amateur to professional, it’s an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.
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Saw your video on last week’s UnPhiltered about training laps at ClubMX. Watching you ride, it’s hard to visualize the spots you could go faster and make up time. How do you guys work on improving lap times in practice? Do you have the data analytic stuff that breaks the track down in sections, and compares riders against each other, or is it all stopwatches and rider feel?
How much can bike changes improve time, say, through the whoops? It seems like whoop speed can be a huge variable between the slowest guys and the fastest, but then I remember a story about David Vuillemin getting pissed at the riders he was coaching and blitzing a set of whoops in jeans and tennis shoes to show them how it’s done.
Anyway – great to see you riding and looking fast – good luck!
The tools we have now at our disposal are unreal. There are so many gadgets that can help with where you are losing speed. But to be honest, when you’re practicing with the same dudes every day, you know where they are better and where they are not. The greatest tool you have are your eyes. I know it’s hard for some people to be smart enough to use them at times, but it’s true! But there are other things with suspension that make huge differences. Biggest thing is the young kids coming up, they get supercross suspension they don’t know what it’s supposed to feel like. Trust me, I’ve ridden some of their bikes and I’m like, “Ehhhh, that isn’t it.” But they have no way in knowing what is or isn’t “it.” Especially when it comes to the whoops. In the whoops, if it isn’t set up in the right directions, forget it. They might be okay with it while the whoops are fresh, but when they get cupped, it’s over.
It’s like anything in this world: it’s really hard to work on weakness. It’s hard to swallow your pride and work on what is actually killing your speed. For instance, I struggle with corners and getting the bike to lean early and letting it roll. Jeremy Martin and Enzo Lopes are phenomenal with that. I SUCK! But I try and work on it. I can hammer whoops and they struggle. But they put in the work in the whoops. Over and over. You’re only as good as your weaknesses allow. 
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I am a diehard moto fan, but I also love the NFL as well. Both sports have individuals risking their physical health to compete and have athletes who suffer serious injuries almost each and every week. Something new in the NFL scene is the Q-Collar, a device players wear on their neck that is supposed to help limit concussions—one of the major injuries in the NFL. Do you know much about this device? Basically, a U-shaped device that applies a slight pinch a vein in the user’s neck, which creates an increase in the blood in the skull and make a sort of cushion around the brain. This cushion acts as an extra airbag and is aimed to help prevent concisions from a hard hit. While motocross does not have the one-on-one head-to-head hits football does, concussions are still possible due to crashes. Is this Q-Collar device something you could see trickling into a motocross rider’s gear set? And, yes, I know this sport is different from those stick and ball sports but are there any other safety devices from another sport you could see making their way into the moto scene or vice versa?
Rick from Pittsburgh
I really wish I was educated to give a thorough opinion. But I’m going to be honest: I haven’t got a clue on this. I don’t have a PhD in physical medicine or rehabilitation to answer. I am however going to give my “judge a book by its cover” opinion and say it looks a little hocus pocus to me. To say that can help limit concussions, I’m not so sure. Nor do I care to research about it because Weege doesn’t pay me enough to do this column to put in that kind of time. The closet thing I can say I to safety for myself is my 6D helmet. There is no other helmet I would wear. That’s no bullshit. Been with them since 2017, and it will be the only helmet I wear. But I’m not too sure what device would overlap into moto. I’m always mind blown with the Halo in F1 and the abuse that thing can take. I know it’s not a device we can utilize but it’s crazy what can deflect off of that thing.
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