Ask Ping

March 21, 2008 9:31am | by:

Dear Ping,
I read that you are planning to race your first ever Vintage Motocross in Boise? How did this come about and how do you think you will do? Have you ever ridden a vintage bike? Do you think you have the strength to pull in the clutch on a Maico? Have fun and I look forward to hearing about how it goes.
Ruthy in Chicago

Dear Ruthy,

Ping is racing a vintage bike!

Our esteemed publisher, the Fender-strumming, hockey-loving Scott Wallenberg, has been asking me to try one of these races for years. Scott is a former pro racer and he was even a factory Monark rider at one time…. I’m not sure about you but I still have no idea what a Monark is. I simply smile and nod along every time he gets going about “Swedish technology” and the way things were back in “Nineteen ot nine” before the sport got diluted for the mainstream audience. Well, since Racer X is sponsoring this series and the opener is at a great venue in Boise near his mountain chateau, I thought this was as good a time as any to give it a try. Scott lined me up a Maico 490, a Husqvarna 125 and a really old YZ 250 to ride over the weekend. The oldest bike I’ve ever ridden was the first bike I ever had, a 1983 Yamaha PW50. So this whole vintage bike thing will be totally new to me and I think it could go either way: I’ll come out of it with a completely new respect for the men that rode these beasts back in the day, or complete disdain for those ill-mannered piles of scrap metal from the past. I guess it depends on whether or not I get my ass handed to me by some old fart with leathery skin and an enlarged prostate. Look for the complete story in an upcoming issue.

Dear Ping,
After watching that stupid reality show to pick the next Crusty Crew member I figured out why I never liked freestyle motocross much. I mean, if you wanted to pick the biggest A-hole and cheater of the bunch and not the best rider they should have just decided on Shawn Highland from the beginning and not tortured the American public with this guy. He did not win in the end but it was a close call. This week I watched the Fuel Network and there he was again talking about those "wussy" motocross riders. I would like to see him get humiliated by a few of those "wussies" on a MX track.
Doug M. Morganton, NC

Dear Doug,
Regretfully, I sat through a couple of those episodes too. I don’t know why. I guess it’s the same reason why I point, laugh and watch when I see an animal pooping at the zoo. Or why I ogle brainlessly at a car crash along side the freeway or why I vote for Chikezie Eze every week on American Idol. Actually, I just like to say his name: “Chikezie Eze.” Fun, isn’t it? I agree with you about Shawn Highland though; that kid is an absolute waste of oxygen. He used to be a pretty decent racer years ago and then he made an attempt to get into freestyle competition. But after failing at both of those ventures he turned to the only thing that he could do to attract attention: being an idiot—with hateful tattoos to boot. And in the process he crapped all over motocross as a sport and the athletes that compete in it. The sad thing is that he didn’t even win at racing. I wonder what the next step down is for him? The Klan?

Hey Ping,
I need your opinion. I am one of those pissed off mini dads with a pretty fast kid on 85s. We are doing most of the nationals this year starting with the World Mini Grand Prix then Mammoth, Loretta Lynn's, Dodge, Branson, Arizona Open and the Mini O's. How important do you think it is for an up-and-comer to do the amateur nationals and what is the right age to start getting serious? Also, what about home schooling?  He is 11 and a straight-A student in the GATE class. I just can't see taking him out of school like most of his competition already has. I mean, he rides 2 to 3 days a week and races on the weekends. How much more do you have to do? Is it possible to make it to the pro ranks and graduate high school, maybe even go to college? What do you think, man? Pissed off moto papa's need to know?
D in SoCal

Dear D,
First things first: Homeschooling isn’t an option anymore. Last week the Second District Court of Appeals ruled that California law requires parents to send their children to full-time public or private schools or have them taught by credentialed tutors at home. The days of minimally educated parents creating their own obtuse children through the (black)-magic of homeschooling are gone. I, for one, couldn’t be happier. Yes, you can graduate from high school and still make it in the pro ranks. If he is riding three days a week and racing on the weekend then he is spending plenty of time on the bike. Give him some time to do other things and be a kid also. As far as the amateur nationals go, it is important to get to some of them.

Your son has to see the level of competition and compete with the best to have a realistic idea of how fast he needs to be. And if he is doing well at big events then potential sponsors will take notice. Obviously money and time are huge factors here but I would suggest getting to the big nationals in your area and Loretta Lynn’s for sure. I don’t think it’s ever too early to start teaching your kids that hard work pays off. A good work ethic is something that he’ll benefit from the rest of his life regardless of his occupation. Do the math on this one, D. There aren’t that many kids that make a good career racing motocross. And the kids that don’t get an education along the way might end up being the same middle aged men flipping your burgers and pumping your gas at McDonalds and Arcos across the country when they are done racing.

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