Ask Ping!

August 21, 2006 1:25pm | by:

Hi Ping

Love your column and the OLN commentary. The asparagus thing, it may very well make your pee stink but people didn’t get it cause no one eats the bloody stuff!
     Anyway, my question is, the New Zealand Nationals are due to start in a few weeks. It was great having you as a back marker for the King boys last year, any chance of seeing you again? Just kidding, it was really interesting to have you here and loved the international flavour you brought. After all our food IS slightly better than in Europe!
Mark Collier

P.S. What about the international invitational at Taupo (you’re favourite track) in October?
Oceania Challenge, Australia versus NZ.  Confirmed riders, Josh Coppins, Ben Townley, Joel Smets, Stefan Everts, Darryl Hurly, Shayne and Darryl King………?


 Hurley flying in New Zealand 

photo: Andy McGechan

Dear Mark,
I would love to go back to New Zealand! Of course, all of the riders you just listed would kick my ass and relegate me to official back-marker status. The sad part is that Shayne won’t return any of my e-mails so I have to way of knowing what’s going on down there. I would ask Townley but he’s either been in Florida or in a hospital since he landed here from Europe. You are right about one thing: your food is definitely better than the gruel they serve in the EU. I’ll bring some fresh asparagus for you to try.
See you soon-

It looks like pro riders are wearing new gear every moto.  I've read about the clothing manufactures having people "take care" of the rider by having the gear all ready for them for each moto. The goggles are prepped; the helmet is prepped; new pants/jersey/gloves are provided.  What do these guys do about their boots?  Are they getting new boots every weekend?  Who gets the lucky job of breaking them in?  Do the top guys get molds made of their feet so that custom boots can be made by the factory?  Does some "lucky" guy get to jump around in Bubba's boots to break them in for him?
Curtis. Harwood, MD

James and Beeker (right)

photo: Simon Cudby

Dear Curtis,
Next to the endless supply of sandwiches, getting new gear for every moto was always my favorite thing about riding for a factory team. Goggles were indeed prepped, pants jerseys and gloves laid out and made ready for each moto, my underpants pressed, lightly starched and folded neatly in your locker every Sunday morning…
     Okay, I made the last part up but I felt like it really emphasized the pampering that goes on and was thusly important to the scenario. Anyhoo, each major gear and goggle manufacturer has a representative in charge of taking care of its team riders. In fact, some have two: Fox had to split the job of taking care of RC and Bubba to make sure their gear was extra-super ready.
     Actually, I think it has more to do with Scott Taylor being close friends with Ricky and the fact that it would be awkward for him to handle James as well in a championship situation, which is exactly what they had in 2006, so James gets Beeker as his personal, um, guy. Lovingly referred to as “the white shadow,” Beeks makes sure James has all that he needs to win races and look good doing it—and both are pretty good at it.
     As far as the boots go, I think you are getting a little carried away. These guys have all the boots they need but I think most riders prefer to break them in themselves. Although, maybe I did see Beeker doing deep lunges behind the Kawasaki truck in a set of new Fox boots a few weeks ago. But he was probably just exercising a little in between washing James’ cars… Just kidding!

What’s going on here? I have a question that I hope you can answer: When did it become all right to just do supercross only? I know Jeremy McGrath did it first, and I think he paid his dues to our sport, and earned the right to do a" Supercross Only" contract. But now it seems that a lot of riders are going for that. I read that Josh Hansen is doing one now and possibly Reed. When did Josh Hansen earn the right to get that contract? Are these guys too lame to hang in the outdoors or what? After all, our sport started outdoors and thats where the real talent and determination are showcased. This is killing me. I want to see everybody that competes in the supercross series, to race outdoors and show us what they are
 really made of! I hope you can answer this question and shed some light on this for the many people who are wondering the same thing that I am.  Thanx, and keep up the great work,
Erick in Las Vegas

Dear Erick,
I’m not sure I’m the right guy to be answering this question since I had a Supercross-only contract with KTM at one point. Or, maybe I’m the perfect guy to answer the question? Here’s why I wanted to race Supercross only: National motocross races are hard. Really hard. Both 35-minute motos are brutal, qualifiers are intense, the practice sessions are muddy, the flights are long, the hotels are shabby, and, man, it’s just really hot outside during the whole series. It’s truly miserable.

Josh Hansen will promote his sponsors well in his new "two supercross-only" deal.

photo: Simon Cudby

The riders that enjoy overcoming those hurdles are the ones that succeed in outdoor motocross; I was always too much of a dandy to embrace the torture device that the nationals are. I didn’t like getting so muddy all the time. In supercross, you could wear the same jersey all weekend long if you didn’t sweat too much. The Supercross Series allows riders to stay in nice hotels in metropolitan areas. At the nationals, a Motel-6 is about as good as it gets because the tracks are in the middle of nowhere. I actually stayed in a pink motel (ye olde Knight’s Inn) during the Budds Creek National that was full of dogs because there was a dog show going on and they were the only place that would allow pets. My feet stuck to the floor when I walked down the halls. That actually happened. So gross.
     I can’t say why Reed and Hansen prefer the stadiums over the country but maybe they share some of my opinions about the two series, and they hope that they’re better indoors-than-outdoors skills will lead to a few more years on the circuit…. Actually, now that I think of it, I believe Li’l Hanny doesn’t actually have a “supercross-only” deal, but an even more narrow “TWO Supercrosses-only” deal that will allows him more time to focus on priorities like taming exotic cars.