Ask Ping!

April 25, 2008 7:32am | by:

You seem to be the perfect person to ask for an objective, qualified, and unbiased opinion on the Canard/Villopoto race last weekend. Was it "rubbin's racing for the title?" Was it "I gotta take this guy out or I'm gonna lose?" Maybe it was "The Good Lord Jesus Christ told me to take RV out." I must qualify my next statement: As I sit here typing into my computer, I have yet to see the footage. I am just trying to come to terms with what happened through listening to the webcast, and of course all of the arguing on Vital. I will be the first to acknowledge that as a rider and fan from Seattle, Ryan Villopoto can do no wrong in my eyes. Well, should we just move on? Should we cry, moan, and sulk around until the Las Vegas E-W Shootout where RV can show the world that he is still the fastest guy in the Lites class? Or, should we just pray to Jesus, asking him to kindly quit interfering in supercross?

You’re the man, Ping. Looked good in the Supermoto bangin’ with Ward too. (No, I'm not stroking your ego in an attempt to get my letter published) Of course, if it does stroke your ego and get my letter published, that would be cool too.
Aaron Bailey. Marysville, WA

Dear Aaron,
It’s funny how an aggressive, hard-fought race like that can bring out such different opinions from fans. Ryan Villopoto fans, like you, want to see Canard tied to a tree and shot for the “blatant cheap shot” he took at Ryan. Canard fans, meanwhile, saw it as a racing incident where two competitive riders made some contact and one of them went down. We all watched the same race, right? And if it happened in reverse you would be saying exactly what Canard fans are saying and Trey’s side would be screaming foul. Hey, that’s just the way it is when both parties involved are that passionate about it.

THE Pass

photo: Steve Cox

Here’s what I think: It’s a grey area. The pass looked a little bit forced to me but it worked out in Trey’s favor. It was a fast, sweeping 90-degree right-hander, probably one of the last places you should attempt a pass. I would bet that if you tried to re-create that scenario and have Trey attempt that pass ten more times, he would crash every time. I think he got a little lucky that he stayed on two wheels. That said, you have to give him credit for throwing it in there. The kid didn’t let RV (who has been dubbed the second coming of Carmichael) get to him. He chased him down and caught him after Ryan had pulled a little cushion and then he made a pass, an ugly and risky one, but a pass none the less. Trey earned this championship and I think RV fans everywhere should put on their big-boy pants, tip their cap to Trey Canard and congratulate him for his title. Besides, Trey is giving 200 percent every weekend. How can you beat a guy who doubles your effort on race day?


Dear Racer X,

1) Who is more African-American: James Stewart or Grant Langston?

2) At my local gym there are several types of people. The most prominent of these are: the fat people trying to lose weight, the middle-aged people who jog or walk or use the elliptical but don't do much else, and the young guys who always end up exercising in front of the mirror. And then there's me the motorcycle racer. Will you please perform (or have someone else perform) a real scientific peer-reviewed study showing how physically hard motocross and supercross are? I'd love to have modern empirical evidence. I'm pretty sure I am tougher than those mirror-loving torn-sleeve muscle heads and I'd love to have some proof.

3) Chad Reed really is one of the "grittiest" riders out there. How can he race with a broken scapula and NBA players sit on the bench for sprained fingers and toes? I know many NBA players are pansies and they have second-team guys that can fill in, but why the discrepancy? How much tougher is a pro racer than a pro baller?
Paul Nash

Dear Paul,

Here's the answer to question #1

photo: Simon Cudby

The answer to your first question is Grant Langston. James Stewart is an American; nothing more and nothing less. I don’t go around telling people that I’m a Norwegian-English-American. If James was born in Zimbabwe and could speak in that odd bush language with all the pops and clicks then I might give him the African-American thing. But the only thing popping and clicking on James now is going to be his knee. Langston, on the other hand, was actually born and raised in Africa. He only got his green card a few years ago, so GL could definitely be considered an African-American, or a South African-American.

Next, I don’t have any scientific research that shows how or why motocross racers are “tougher” than the mirror-loving juice-heads at the gym but maybe you should just see if you can knock one of them out. Just walk up and take a swing. If you don’t get the KO on the first poke, you can always run; we know their cardio sucks and they are too hopped up on ‘roids to be sprinters. Let me know how that works out for you.

Thirdly, Chad Reed is obviously pretty gritty. Or maybe motocross guys are normal and ballers are just an overgrown grouping of sissies? I think what it comes down to is that Chad put a lot of work into this championship and he isn’t letting it go. When you invest that much physically, emotionally and mentally into something you can endure quite a bit of pain to see it through. In fact, basketball players probably have the same capability. I’ll bet some of the games best players suffered through injuries during the NBA finals. When Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain had an injury do you think he turned away groupies after the game? I think not! He picked out the hottest ten women hanging around his locker room, went back to his hotel and ran through them like Mexican water through a tourist in Acapulco. You don’t become the sexual conquistador that he was by letting an injury slow you down. And, Similarly, Reedy isn’t going to roll over and let anyone have this title without a fight.

Dear Ping,

Gas to Minneapolis: $35.00
Hotel: $185.00
2 Suites at the Metrodome - $3,000.00
Alcohol & Food: $300.00
Not allowing us to hang a banner in front of our suite to cheer on our favorite team: Priceless.

So when they tell you it's all about the fans…bull$#!t. It's about them and the holy dollar. Thank God for the outdoor series where fans and banners are appreciated.
PS. Here is what the banner looked like. It was Retro night in our suite and everyone was wearing old Honda gear and shirts, and that is why our banner is using the old school logo. Thank you for your great column, I look forward to reading it and thanks for letting me vent.
Mark N. Reed
Studio H
Hormel Foods

Dear Mark,
Blatant American Express rip-off aside, I empathize with you. Maybe it had something to do with Honda being a Red Bull team and Monster sponsoring the series now. If so, it’s sad that true fans of the sport get crapped on over a pissing match between a couple of sugar-filled-beverage companies. I can guarantee you that you can hang your banner over the fence at Millville. Look on the bright side, Mr. Hormel Foods Studio-H-Executive: You get free chili for life. There’s your silver lining … or at least a brown stain in your boxer briefs.

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