Ask Ping!

November 3, 2006 7:24am | by:

Mr. Pingree,
I'm a fan of yours, I enjoy your humor and I appreciate your knowledge of motocross and, well, that's about it I guess. 
     On October 9, you included in your column a letter from Doug Johns, "one angry sunnovabitch." Do you happen to know if that is the same DJ who has built so many one-off and trick off-road and motocross bikes? Years ago, down in Tecate B.C., Mexico, I had the pleasure of riding an amazing motorcycle built by Doug Johns. It was a KX125 frame with a KDX 200 engine, the frame was nickel-plated and the whole thing was beautifully done, the craftsmanship was first rate and the ride was spectacular. I had seen the bike profiled in Cycle News or some magazine and they had raved about it too.
     The point here is that if your DJ is the same guy I'm talking about, then you need to reach out to angry ol' Doug, bring him back by reminding him of the days when we all would occasionally stumble upon one of those wildly trick four-strokes, the bikes that were so well put together and cool that we couldn't believe we actually liked it. Tell Doug that we need guys like him to keep building those near perfect two-stroke bikes that the factories never wanted to build for us—those bikes will be even more appreciated than those old for strokes were. If I knew for sure that Doug Johns would build it, I would give up my green valve-and-cam bike for a green oil burner like the one I rode in Tecate. Believe me, if every 250F rider had the opportunity to ride Doug's 200cc KX, many of them would prefer his bike to the thumper! It was truly a wonderful bike.
     That's all I have to say. Sure, it wasn't much of a question for you to tackle, but until you get through this experimental stage with your hairstyle, well, I just won't be able to take you seriously.
Jim Pool. Escondido, CA

Dear Jim,
I honestly don’t know if the Doug Johns you are referring to is indeed the man behind those great motorcycles. The fact is, I am only responding to this letter to give a brief, if not sad, explanation of my recent hairstyles. You say you can’t take me seriously, and I completely understand; I can’t take myself seriously, and that’s before I even get up and take a look at my hair. The thing, Jim, is that my hair is in what stylists and “manscapers” call a transitional period. I went through a dark-colored phase, and that has morphed into the mess you see today. It’s like I was going for the long and shaggy look, kind of like Owen Wilson but without the crooked nose, only it’s turning out more like Ashton Kutcher from That ‘70s Show. I’m going to give it approximately 60 more days, and if I can’t look at myself with a straight face, it’s back to the short, clean military cut that I’ve had for so many years. Hey, does Doug Johns do hair? Regardless, thanks for your honesty.

Everyone drools over the exotic factory parts. So why is it that Racer X doesn't show more tricked-out pics of the tricked-out parts? You have to admit, that never gets old.
     Speaking of tricked out parts, you're a mini racer. What is it going to take for you to do a few articles about mini racing? By the way, speaking of minis, I know you're not a fan of TTR125 and CRF150 Langtown mini, but come on, that's good times! Be easy on us 150cc mini racers.

photo: Simon Cudby

Dear Tone,
The technical stuff has never been a priority here at Racer X, but there are some very cool works parts that show up on each of the team’s race bikes, and we’ll do our best to display them here at As far as the minibike stuff goes, I just haven’t had a reason to write anything about it lately. The only really big event all year is the MiniMoto SX in Las Vegas, and we cover that regularly. I would love to come and ride the Langtown event, but I’ve never been invited. That race is so undercover that only close friends and relatives are even told when the dates are. I would love to come out and ride a Honda 150 at that race, so if you have any connections with them, put in a good word. Now that I think of it, Ryan Villopoto just put a mini track in his backyard, so maybe we can put something together over there. Stay tuned.

Hey Ping,
I seen on the internet about who's having what numbers for 2007. I was wondering about Ernesto Fonsaca's number 10? Is that up for grabs or are they retiring that number out of respect for Ernie? I personally think they should retire it.
Tim Yadlosky. Herrick Center, PA.

P.S. I sent a question to you two months ago about broome-tioga not running Nationals. but you never responded. They called saying it was going to be in Decembers issue, we'll guess what? it wasn't. How about responding this time. Thanks.

photo: Simon Cudby

Dear Tim,
Sorry about not responding immediately. That was my bad, man, and I apologize. When I get a letter as professionally crafted as yours, I usually jump all over it. Let me get right on to answering your questions before you really get upset. First of all, Ernesto gets to keep his number for 2007 because he earned national points this year. You are talking about Ernesto Fonseca, right? Because I don’t know anyone named Fonsaca. Number 10 will be available starting in 2008 unless the AMA retires it for Ernie. As far as Broome Tioga is concerned, I still haven’t read or heard the official announcement—that that round of the series is rumored to be moving to a facility in Texas. That’s because official information has not yet been released, and I’m sure the reason that information wasn’t in the December issue is a result of the delay.
     Tim, I hope that satisfies your need for more from me. If there are any other questions I can answer for you, I promise I will stop whatever I’m doing and reply immediately, if not sooner. Please don’t send a pipe bomb to my office. Thank you.

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