Yamaha Motor Canada Presents MXP Chatter With Phil Nicoletti

Throughout our industry there are numerous stories about how people are being affected by the Covid-19 Virus and the shut down that has come along with it. Unfortunately, it appears that no one is immune to both the virus itself as well the uncertainty it’s causing. With the 2020 race schedule constantly being adjusted almost weekly around the globe, no one can really predict when racing will either begin, or in some cases resume. For top riders like Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha’s Phil Nicoletti, this uncertainty is especially difficult as his entire existence is built around being prepared for the opening round of the Triple Crown Series. The opening round of the outdoor series is currently scheduled for June 7th in Calgary, but many feel this may be cancelled and the opener won’t happen until July. To get an idea on how our 2019 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series Champion is coping with our current situation we reached out to Phil for this week’s Yamaha Motor Canada MXP Chatter.

MXP: Hey Phil, what is going on this morning?

PN: Just sitting here twiddling my thumbs. That’s about it!

(laughs) I think it’s the same for everyone. It must be hard for you guys right now with not knowing when racing will start. For instance, do you keep pounding motos and training or do you relax a little?

Yes, it’s been difficult with not really knowing when the first round is going to be. I had a really good few months of training and riding through February and March, but for the last few weeks I haven’t been riding. I’ve actually just been doing a lot of training off of the bike. I will most likely continue to do this for another few weeks and then I’ll get back on the bike.

The videos you did with Alex Martin last month in Florida were pretty entertaining. It looked like you guys were doing a lot of long motos and working hard.

Yeah, the videos turned out pretty good as we have always had a good time together. It’s actually been a while since we’ve ridden together. We used to train together all of the time a couple of years ago. Anyway, whenever we get together it’s always competitive and we really push each other. Also, Kenny rode with us for a few days so it was great to have him out there. He’s obviously on a pretty high level so it was good to see how we compared to him. Like I said, up until a few weeks ago I was pushing pretty hard and right now we’re just waiting to see what is going to happen.

So other than this lock down, everything has been going good on your end?

Definitely, my training began back in November and since then I’ve had some great training blocks and everything has been normal. Knock on wood, I haven’t been sick or had any really big crashes. Right now, I’m just waiting to see when we’re going racing. The latest I’ve heard is that we’re starting on June 7th in Calgary, but that obviously depends on a lot of things changing between now and then.

With no spring indoor races in 2020, Phil is now preparing for the challenging rounds of the MXTour. Photo by James Lissimore

I think that is the hardest part of this shutdown, no one really knows or can even predict when life is going to return to normal or when racing will begin.

I know here in the USA they’re planning on kicking the outdoor series off in mid-June in Florida, so hopefully it’s the same up in Canada.

That was going to be my next question. How are things in the USA or at least in the Charlotte area where you live? Are the streets vacant and the stores empty?

It’s really strange because most days you wouldn’t even know there was this virus unless you turn on the news. The weather is starting to get really nice down here so more people are getting outside and doing things. One of my buddies owns a bicycle shop and he’s sold more bicycles and parts in the past month than he’s sold in like three years. So even though we’re basically shut down and people are off work, they’re still getting outside and doing things. I don’t know, it’s just a really weird time in our lives right now.

You can definitely say that again. I saw on your Social Media that you’ve been doing a lot of road bicycling with your crew. Do those rides get pretty competitive or what?

They used to but not so much anymore, as I’ve gotten older and my training has gotten smarter. Every mile I do has a purpose. The days of who can get up the mountain faster are long gone (laughs). Now we all ride for training purposes, and lately a lot of it’s been just to get outside. We’re all adrenaline junkies and we need a fix; we’re starting to get a little stir crazy.

When we last spoke back in November, the 2019 season just ended and your 2019 Triple Crown Title was still fresh. Now that you’ve had some time to process both the good and the not so good, how do you feel about both last year as well as this coming season?

That’s a good question! There was definitely a lot of good that came out of last season, both with the Triple Crown title as well as the racing from round to round. I definitely learned a lot, and heading into this summer I’m feeling a lot more comfortable. I know the tracks, I know where to eat, what to expect from each city and obviously the faces are going to be more familiar. I really enjoyed last year in Canada and I’m looking forward to another successful season.

Phil is looking forward to more battles this summer, but he’s going to miss racing at the Blackwater MX Track in Prince George. Photo by James Lissimore

Also, if the MXTour does begin on schedule you’ll have two new tracks and cities to visit. No one really knows what Round 2 will be like in Drumheller, but I think you’re going to like the track in Kamloops.

I haven’t really watched any videos of Kamloops yet. I was waiting to see if we even end up going out west. But yeah, it’s always exciting going to new tracks. I am going to miss the track in Prince George though, it was great for racing and the people there were super nice. This summer I was actually planning on staying out west after Calgary and driving up to Prince George so I could take in all of the cool scenery. It’s too bad that race is off of the schedule for 2020, it was a lot of fun. Who knows what I’ll do now? If everything goes as planned then I may still stay out west and drive to Kamloops after Round 2.

Once again, though, that is the hard part of all of this. We just can plan anything yet!

Nope, that is definitely frustrating as we’ve spent all of our lives planning for stuff.

Exactly! We’re in uncharted territory. Well Phil, I’m glad to hear that you’re doing well and that you’re ready to go racing, whenever that is. When the Triple Crown Series does get going, I think we’re going to see some incredible racing.

I think so, I think the racing is going to be close and I cannot see there being any runaway wins. Hopefully we’ll get going soon and things can return to normal.

All the best Phil and thanks for this.

No problem! Hope everyone in Canada is staying healthy and doing well.