Ask Ping!Friday, November 16, 2012 | 12:00 PM
I have been into riding motocross my whole life. It is my passion, my hobby, my stress reliever, pretty much my favorite weekend warrior hobby.
Here is the thing. I have a 6 year-old son that likes motocross but does not want to try it. Is there a way I can get him interested without being the track dad? I think he would enjoy it but I do not want to pressure him into it.
The second thing is, I am now expecting a daughter…Got about 5 months left to go. For some reason knowing I have a daughter on the way makes me cautious about riding. I do not want to stop riding but I am honestly worried something major could happen. I don’t ride over my limits. I just enjoy it.
Any words of encouragement?
Thanks for the funny column.
Don’t worry about Junior not wanting to jump right into the moto fray. I know that some guys start early and attribute their success to an early beginning but others didn’t start until much later. John Dowd didn’t even see his first motorcycle until he was thirty. True story. I started riding a Y–Zinger at about four years of age but it didn’t come with a passion for competition. In fact the first couple races my dad signed me up for terrified me. I’m pretty sure I sat in my friend’s Pro-Trac trailer and cried right up until the first practice. I rode one practice and then refused to go out for the motos. Apparently the bike was too loud [it had one of those custom pipes that went under the bike] and the track was too muddy. It was everything my dad could do to keep from calling me a p#ssy. So we eased into it a little bit and before long I was hooked. The rest is history. I would suggest starting him out somewhere with no other riders and let him first enjoy riding the bike. When he is ready he will let you know.
About the daughter, well, I can’t really help you. Make sure you have good insurance and don’t ride like an idiot. Oh, and plan on losing 80 percent of your garage space to pink Barbie toys and bikes.
Across the great lands of America are motocross districts at the amateur level, as you know. Anyone you talk to can tell you about the "local pros" back where they come from or just "the local fast guy." Some of these fast guys or kids may just have that undeniable natural ability that we all wish we were born with, but either do not have the funds or desire to take their racing to the next level. What I’m wondering is, in all your days of motocross, what was the fastest "undiscovered" talent that you happened to stumble upon?
When I was a kid the pro rider that I looked up to most was a guy named Justin Martz. He won everything during the early 1980’s in the state of Montana. His mom, Judy, was an Olympic athlete who later went on to become a state senator. Justin actually got into NASCAR at some level. I don’t know if he was good enough to make it on the AMA pro level but when I was seven I couldn’t imagine anyone going faster. Once I moved to Arizona I was exposed to more talent. The two guys who stand out most are Shaun Kalos and Mouse McCoy. Both were unreal as amateurs but, for whatever reason, they never made the transition to pro racing. Kalos had some flashes but nobody really got to see what he was capable of. He had Ron Lechien skills without the habit of partying. I’m sure everyone has a story of a guy who could’ve and should’ve but just never made it. Hopefully we can read about some of them in the comments below.
I believe you are the riding coach for Adam Cianciarulo, right? (I hope so or I already looked retarded). I was wondering, since he's fresh out of the Super Minis and is just starting on the "big" 250F; how fast is his speed? Since you're an ex-pro, is he as fast as you? Faster? Are you faster, but just for a few laps until the fitness aspect comes into play?
Adam asked me to help him get ready for the Monster Cup since it would be his first time racing supercross on a big bike. From the first day with him at the supercross track it was obvious he has “it.” I’m not sure how to define that quality exactly, other than to say he has all of the pieces of the puzzle to be a successful pro racer; Red hair, short, rides a Kawasaki, lives in Florida. Wait, that’s a different theory. A couple of the pieces may still need to be moved around but there is no question he will be good. But I already knew his speed was there before we started. This past summer I rode with him at Racetown up in Adelanto. To this day I’m not sure if he was on a 125 or his Supermini but either way he took me down a peg. I had literally never seen Adam ride before that. I heard and read about all his wins but you don’t get a sense of how fast the best mini riders are on paper. So, I gassed up my 450 and jumped in a little ways behind him as he started one of his motos. I figured I would catch him, pass him and show him how old farts like me get down. But it didn’t work out that way.
The first lap I marked him and realized I hadn’t made up any ground on him. I turned it up a notch. The second lap… still couldn’t close the gap. By this point I’m in full sprint mode and riding a little closer to the edge than I’d like. The gap stayed the same. I pulled off eventually and tried to see where he was cutting the track. Meanwhile, several other former pro riders jumped in behind him and got their asses handed to them the same way I did. Dejected and a little confused I headed back to the pits. I realize it’s been a number of years since I lined up for a National but I still ride quite a bit and I was on a 450! Until that day I don’t think I had ever been out-dueled by a mini rider. Anyway, Adam is on the couch for a couple months healing up from shoulder surgery right now. So, technically, I’m faster than him at the moment. Well, if my hand weren’t broken I would be. Maybe we should have a foot race and settle it once and for all?
Have a question for Ping? Send him an email at [email protected]
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Check out THE MOTOCROSS OF 40 NATIONSin our Latest issue of Racer X available now.
The 2013 FIM Motocross of Nations at Teutschenthal, Germany, hosted teams from a record forty countries. Here’s how it played out for each of them. Page 90.