Ask Ping

September 21, 2007 7:33am | by:

Supposedly the only constant in life is change – but there is one thing in motocross that has not changed over the tens years I've being following it: Ugly European bikes.  Why do the Europeans have to ruin their bikes?  SO ugly! In Racer X's MXdN/MXoN preview I was looking at the bikes and thought ‘Barf.  No thanks!’ Crazy color schemes, weird sponsor logos and their numbers have always looked stupidly bad (if you could find them). Why?  Has the techno music melted their brains?  Is it their lack of good nutrition?   I look forward to your revealing of this mystery.

Go RC, RV and Red Dog!  Kick their ugly arses!

Paul Nash

Dear Paul,

They certainly have a different idea of what looks “cool” over there, don’t they? Most of the team bikes look like a box of crayons melted over the top of them. I actually think you might be on to something with the whole techno music thing because that constant thumping and synthesizer sound has a way of making you more dumberer. Sorry, I was just listening to a Moby song….
       Or maybe it’s the wine that flows like, well, wine over there, which has skewed their graphic design taste. Either way, I’m not feeling the shiny gold numbers and smorgasbord of colors on their bikes or in their gear. It’s not exactly a stunner that Feroce and Wulfsport gear aren’t the most popular brands on the market, is it? Try not to judge by appearances this weekend, Paul, and just enjoy the races. Unless one of those bastard countries beat us… then I want you to get over to their pits and heckle them like a Barry Bonds hater. Go Team USA (and nice gear, boys)!

Hey Ping,
 I have been seeing over and over the constant complaining over the scheduals of the riders and you always seem to side with them. Let me ask you this then? If this sport is to get to the NEXTELCUP level, do you think part-time riders will cut it? Do you have ANY clue what Dale Jr.'s obligations are? On a what, 37 week race season? That never ends with testing new cars, new tracks, sponsor obligations, and much much more than even bubba or RC has to deal with. Let alone 25% of the NEXTELCUP field races BUSH the day before. And none of them skip complete practice sessions without a real good reasons. Some have to fly hours from one track to another in just hours time. And at Budds Creek, Stewarts camp had a sign "autographs 11:00-11:20am!! What a joke? And to pay for them?? Get real man, thats a slap in the face to the fans. I watch guys like Kyle Petty sign till thier hands are ready to fall off, FOR FREE!!!  I am not the sharpest tool, but the AMA has just 100% dropped the ball. They are out of touch with the real issues here. I agree, the nationals are tough, demanding, hard, and just WORK!! I also agree post 9/11 has screwed up all kinds of travel time. But lets get this right, you (meaning racers) race a dirtbike for a paycheck, and a better and better paycheck every year that go's by I might add. You picked this profession, you knew what it was ALL about way back when. You started were???? Racing outside!!! Loretta Lynns, Ponca City, Muddy Creek, Mini-O's, and all the local tracks all over this great land. …. if ANYONE of you wanna give me your gift to ride, I'll give you mine as a steel worker in the oldest factory in this counrty at $13.41/hr. 48 to 60 hours a week. So maybe again you might wanna think about your job as a racer. Because to me, every part-timer just hurts the sport! …  I know you'll disregaurd this prolly, but this is the facts! And you should, of all people see this too.
rob harris
real life drive,
old school USA
Dear Rob,

You make a good point, even if it is a little long-winded and poorly constructed (grammatically speaking). Still, I take the riders side on this one. Dale Jr. doesn’t put in 100 miles on a road bike every week and upwards of eight hours of intense practice sessions (40 minute motos on rough MX tracks) every week. He doesn’t have to deal with twisted ankles and knees or strained ligaments during a season. Those NASCracker guys also pull down about 50 times what our top riders make. I know they have unimaginably demanding schedules but keep in mind that they fly around in private jets that are more posh than most people’s living rooms. They don’t have to deal with the nightmare that is the TSA and coach seats on commercial flights on a weekly basis. A bad flight for Dale is when he polishes off all the Grey Goose in his Gulfstream’s mini bar before he gets to his private airstrip and is wisked away in a chopper to the speedway.
       Now, don’t get me wrong; I see your point. It’s just that there are some things that could be done to make things easier on the riders and if these guys don’t speak up then things will never change. A guy like Kevin Windham that has been doing this for over a decade at the highest level has every right to speak up about deficiencies in our sport.
       I understand your frustration about autographs and rider availability that way. Since most of the riders started bringing private coaches to the races they are very elusive to the fans. Signing autographs for twenty minutes is unacceptable (though you never have to pay for them. If you are referring to the tickets- that is just so that people don’t stand in line for hours only to be turned away when he does stop signing). That is an issue that the teams need to address because fans should be able to shake the hands of their heroes.
       You have one thing right: not many people have what it takes to work a job as gritty as yours for that many hours a week. I tip my hat to you, sir. Motocross riders may have cool jobs but it's guys like you that keep this country going.


Dear Ping

What's the deal with MXdN rules for bikes? The riders talk about preparing there MXdN bikes for the race, which I assume are different from the AMA National bikes. The bikes have to be FIM legal, are the FIM bikes closer to works bikes or are they similar to AMA production based bikes? Do the FIM riders have better equipment than AMA National riders?

Roger D
Woodbury, Minnesota

Dear Roger,


he FIM rules (which govern the MXoN) are very different than our AMA regulations. First, all FIM bikes must have graphics and colors that look like a circus clown threw up on them. That’s just the rules, people: I don’t make them; I just abide by them (See first question for clarification). Also, they have a stricter noise code than we do. Our teams have to drop several DBs to pass the FIM tech inspection. They also run different fuel than we do. I don’t know the specifics but it is different than our regulations and it is more difficult to make power with their fuel. They also have no production-based limits on their race bikes like we do here in the U.S. If the teams want to run full works parts they can. Often times the manufacturers will test future model year parts and pieces on the GP bikes before they put them into production. So, sometimes they have better stuff than we do. In the end, fuel, noise and all the other widgets don’t really matter because the best rider is going to win. That’s what is so great about motocross.


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