Ask Ping!

September 1, 2006 10:08am | by:

Dear Ping,
I love you, man! Your TV commentary is great, and all the stuff you do on Racer X is the best! Racer X is always the first site I check when I get online. I just have a question for you: What happened to all the motocross video games? There were some good ones coming, then they just stopped. RC had four games come out and I played all of 'em and I liked all of 'em. I know I'd rather be doing the real thing any day, and I dont spend countless hours in front of a TV playing my Xbox all day, but every now and then it's nice to sit down and play a fun motocross game.
Justin. Eugene, Oregon

Dear Justin,
Thanks for the nice words ... unless you're just trying to butter me up in case I have some new video games that you think I might send you. Yeah, I think I see what you're trying to do. But since you were laying on the compliments pretty thick, so if I actually had any video games at my house, there’s a possibility that I would send them. 

Isn't this everyone's favorite video game?

Unfortunately, I don’t. I never got sucked into the whole video-game craze. In fact, the last video-game system I had was the original Nintendo, and the last game I bought was Excitebike. For my money, they still don’t make a better game than that. The peaky jumps, the screaming fans, the hay bales, and the longest straightaway ever made that game a classic. It even had kickers that would throw you right over the bars if you didn’t wheelie over them. Justin, I’m not great at math, but I know they paid Ricky Carmichael a buttload of money to use his name on those games, and maybe they just didn’t sell enough of them to keep making new ones.

I was wondering if you could check in on the injured Factory Connection Lites-class rider Billy Laninovich. I swear I saw him in a Fruit of the Loom commercial crooning some sweet lyrics dressed up as the red apple guy. I'm a fan of Billy's, and I'm concerned he's turned in his riding boots for the glamor of late-night skivvy commercials. Unless he's filling a sponsorship obligation. I've attached a link ( of him singing a song called “Blue.” It's sweet. Can someone look into it for me?

Dear Steven,
Thanks for your concern. I called Billy today, and he is fine. He is still recovering from a knee operation he had several weeks ago, but things are going well. I asked about the commercial and it seemed to catch him off guard. He stammered something like, “Uh, well, um, what? What are you talking about? I have no idea, okay?” I told him that I had seen it and that he should just come clean, at which point he burst into tears. He explained that he had spent all of his money on bodybuilding products, weight-gain powders, and home gym equipment. He hasn’t made any bonus money in a while, and the Fruit of the Loom guys were offering some “sweet moolah,” as he called it, to do a little song-and-dance. Literally.

Boxers or briefs?

When he finished sobbing, I assured him that I would take his secret with me to the grave and never speak of his debut as a singing piece of organic fruit again. So whatever you do, please don’t go to and watch Billy sing.

Every morning I do some internet moto-ing, but last week I had to double-check. Being an ex-ski racer, I was psyched to see that Ping actually follows ski racing. There's not too many people out there that appreciate racing who didn't race themselves. Few understand the technique, execution, and aggressiveness that makes a great ski racer. In 2000, after about ten years of racing all around the U.S. and a few parts of Europe, I sold all my lumber and bought a brand new CR250R. Not to say I don't ski anymore—16" of powder will get me out of bed early—but I was burnt out, man! So I turned all my energy into riding moto and I've been hooked for the past six years. We don't exactly have many tracks here in central Idaho, but the trail riding is world-class. As for Daron Rahlves, he's a bad-ass! So strong, so aggressive, and never afraid to give 'er. He'll be missed this year on the World Cup, but I bet he'll be having tons of fun racing Skier-X.

I was happy to see that the U.S. Open is having a fast-lap race. I think that's how the qualifiers for Nationals should be conducted. The fastest should be rewarded, not just the fastest starters! I loved racing the clock on skis and imagine it's fun on a dirt bike as well.

Gotta go pound some nails. Come to Ketchum/Sun Valley sometime and head straight to Apples or Grumpy's, 'cause that's what all the good guys do.

Dear BJ,
Not so fast, BJ. I did do a little ski racing when I was younger. In fact, I was one of the faster kids in the 6-8-year-old division of the weekly Coca Cola Slalom Challenge races that took place at my local mountain growing up in Montana. I have several participant medallions to show for it. Okay, so maybe I wasn’t exactly lining up next to Alberto Tomba or the Hermannator, but I still had a passion for it. And, sadly, there aren’t many here in the U.S. that give a crap about professional ski racing. I’ve always been a fan of U.S. skiers, including the Mahre brothers, Tommy Moe, Picabo Street, Bode Miller, Rahlves, and any others that can compete at the World Cup level.

As far as the quick-lap races go, they can be exciting. Jeremy McGrath is also having an elimination race at his event that will be very cool. Now, what the heck are Apples and Grumpy’s? Is that a dive bar in Ketchum where old ski racers go to lie about themselves? I’d hate to walk in there and see one of my boyhood ski heroes face down in a puddle of Jack Daniels and vomit. Enjoy the trails this summer!