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Ask Ping

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Dear Ping,
I watched the MXoN on the internet pay-per-view from MediaZone. I was appalled at the way the English announcer went on and on about Everts being "the greatest motocross rider who's ever been and ever will be ... and he's beaten the Americans today." Blah, blah, blah. Never mind that the American rider with ten AMA outdoor titles and five AMA supercross titles (Everts has no supercross titles) wasn't even riding. It got me thinking about what would happen if the U.S. was allowed to enter not one but three teams in the MXoN. Team 1: Stewart, Villopoto, Tedesco (you know, the team that won); Team 2: Windham, Short, Preston; and Team 3: Milsaps, Alessi, Wey. I'd bet you a year's worth of Racer X Holeshot money that Team USA 1, 2, and 3 would fill up the MXoN podium. Your thoughts?
David Thornton. Vancouver, Washington

Stefan Everts leads James Stewart in England

photo: Simon Cudby

Dear David,
I hear what you’re saying. I thought I was listening to Lord Alfred Weigandt for most of the race. If you don’t know who that limey blowhard is, well, you’re lucky. Look, I realize that Stefan Everts is an amazing rider. I’ve been watching him since he came to the U.S. in the early 1990s to try his hand at supercross. He didn’t exactly set the world on fire during that trip and, consequently, never raced a U.S. supercross again. I watched him race with McGrath at the Manchester Supercross and finish a respectable second. But those tracks are much more arenacross than supercross. I also was in Unadilla when he came over just a few years back. I think he finished in the top five, and he was really fun to watch. He is a modern version of David Bailey: smooth, precise, creative, and surgical with a motorcycle. He is an amazing rider, and ten world championships is an unimaginable feat. But t
he real motocross world championships happen right here in the USA from January to September every year. The AMA series are where the best racers in the world aspire to compete. Period. Why Everts chose to stay in Europe, I don’t know for sure. But I think it has a lot to do with the fact that he doesn’t like supercross. He is comfortable racing the GPs, and he had a great career over there. That said, RC would have owned him all weekend long if he were healthy. Ricky has been able to close any amount of time on Stewart all summer and then pass him and pull away. I can’t think of a race since Southwick when James could keep Carmichael’s pace for more than a lap or two. And James said he was taking it easy in that final moto to protect the win for his team. It was a very smart move, even though I think if James needed to pass Stefan for the overall win, he could have. Or he would have stacked it up trying. That’s just how James rolls. Everts is an icon in the sport, no doubt. But the real king lives in Tallahassee.
PING

Ping,
With your credentials and street credit in the motocross community, can we PLEASE put an end to the Supercross/Supercross Lites and Motocross/Motocross Lites classification mess? This has been nothing but a joke to all us MX fans, riders, etc. I understand wanting to take motocross to the next level like NASCAR, and the professionalism in the sport has come leaps and bounds the past ten years, but I thinks this is a step backward. Without going out on a giant limb, I think I can safely say that come Anaheim 1, it will be all 250F and 450F bikes on the starting line. Change it to the 250 and 450 class! I know you’ve talked about this before, and this idea is not new. What about the MX1/MX2 names? Anything would be better than the stupid names we have now.

One last rambling before I go. The numbering system. Once again, trying to be like NASCAR, but it gets stale seeing the same numbers on the same riders year after year. What is the Number Cruncher bit going to be like in two years? It was refreshing to see Stewart run #7 this year. And there’s nothing as cool as seeing a big #1 on the rider that earned it. If a NASCAR driver leaves the team, the team owns the car and the number. By lap five of the Daytona 500, you already recognize your favorite driver, no matter the team or car number. If you attend a National in 2007 and cannot understand why Villopoto is on a green bike and is #1 and then Carmichael is on a yellow bike and is also #1, and it cannot be explained to you in less than 30 seconds, what are you doing there? Wal-Mart has an employment opportunity for you.
Eric C. Lewiston, Idaho

Dear Eric,
The permanent number thing is here to stay. Let it go. It’s better for marketing and for the casual fan that doesn’t follow the sport so closely. The classification names suck. They have always sucked and they will continue to suck until they are changed. MX1 and MX2 is a much better name for each division. Let’s hope someone with the horsepower to change the names gets the message.
PING

Ping,
First of all I just wanna say that your race commentary is awesome. My question is, do you happen to know of any big rider-team changes in the next couple years? Maybe Bubba on a yellow bike in the near future or Villopoto moving to one of the big four teams anytime soon.
Brad. Chicago

Tim Ferry is going green, again.

photo: Racer X Archives

Dear Brad,
Thanks for the props. Now, here’s the inside poop on the silly season. Tim Ferry is riding for Team Kawasaki. Did you hear that? That is a fact. I even saw him testing here in California last week. On a related note, I heard a rumor that Michael Byrne is moving to Atlanta to start an Outback Steakhouse franchise. That’s just a rumor, though. Tommy Hahn will be a member of Team Honda next year on the 250F, while Short and Millsaps are moving to the 450 full-time. I also heard that Brittney George is going to be the team’s official BBQ operator at all the races. Since she started dating Millsaps, Cliff White told her she had to be a productive member of the team or get out of the Honda pits, so she grabbed a stainless steel spatula and started flipping chicken breasts. I heard that, like, fourth-person, though, so it could be inaccurate. I also heard that Ben Townley is going to be taking the national number he earned this year and leaving the #101 alone. Actually, I’m trying to get that rumor started, so feel free to spread that around. I don’t want to have to hide out at the Pro Circuit race shop and harass him until he agrees to give me back my number, but I will do it. You’d be surprised how little dignity I really have. Okay, that’s all I really know right now. Hope I helped.
PING

 

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