Ask Ping!

May 9, 2008 6:30am | by:

Sorry to hear about your race team falling apart. Hope you find another ride for the summer. In the meantime, join the rest of us barely scraping by each month, won’t you? I wrote to you awhile back about this peeve I have about the weekly cries for help from local riders who get injured, the most recent one being this fella I will call Dennis….

I first want to say that I honestly feel for these riders and I do pray for them. What kills me is when I read that these riders do not have health insurance. Not that insurance is going to solve everything but at least it shows responsibility. What bothers me about Dennis' situation is that he is a racer. Racing costs money, some of which should go to insurance—skip the $800 titanium silencer and get some health insurance!

I really do think that this needs to be addressed. Not in a way that is demeaning but in a way that brings attention to the fact that a large population of the racing community does not have basic health insurance. We need to remember that there are other entities reading these posts that could use this info against us. Southwick requires riders and mechanics to show proof of current health insurance before being allowed on the track (with exception to the national).  Maybe it's something that you can bring up to the magazine.  

I just needed to get this off my chest.  Michelle gets mad when I start ranting and raving in the house. Hope all is well in the Pingree Family,
Eddie C

Dear Eddie “The Captain” Casillas,
I didn’t realize that this was such an issue; I just figured that people were smart enough to have health insurance if they were going to be racing motocross on a regular basis. In case there are still some people out there that haven’t heard, listen up: Motocross is dangerous. If you ride regularly, you are eventually going to hurt yourself. Maybe it will just be a scraped up forearm, but it might just be a broken bone, a concussion or worse. In case of the latter options, trust me, you are going to need insurance.

You can bet that Broc Hepler has health insurance

So, if there is anyone out there obtuse enough to be racing without health insurance, please do everyone a favor and get some. The titanium exhaust can wait. Or instead of buying beer every weekend for cooler, you could use that money. You could even start eating off the value menu at your local fast food joint and save money. I got two tacos and a junior bacon cheeseburger from Jack-in-the-Box last week for $1.98.

Eddie, this might have encouraged people to get health insurance. So next week, please send a letter about eating healthy because that food at Jack-in-the-Box is almost as dangerous as dirt bikes. I could use the reminder!

Dear Ping,
Have you seen Travis Pastrana's new movie Thrillbillies? I am hoping so because they have the sweetest tricycles I have ever seen. In the scene where they race them down the hill, I was amazed that they made such a fast and beefy tricycle. I was wondering if you could contact Travis and find out where I can get one. My friends and I are big fans of Travis and also Jackass, and we like to try some of the things that they do. If you could find out for me, I would greatly appreciate it.
James Stuart

Dear James,

Travis is busy

I saw the movie and I know exactly what tricycles you are talking about. And while that did look pretty fun I am a little concerned that you are so quick to imitate the foolish daredevilry that Travis, Johnny Knoxville, and the rest of their cronies engage in when a camera is pointed at them. The big difference is that they are being paid (and paid well) to do those things. You, on the other hand, are just acting like an idiot and you are definitely going to hurt yourself in the process. (And please see the letter above.) Besides, I’d have a better chance of getting Evel Kneivel to call me back right now than Travis. If you aren’t one of his sponsors or a family member he doesn’t usually pick up the phone; besides, when bells are constantly ringing inside your battered brain, it’s hard to tell which one really is the phone sometimes….

Dear Ping,
I am confused. Why is it that Mike Alessi has been racing around the country at local tracks and pro-am venues for the last month and a half? If he is part of factory Suzuki, shouldn't he be racing AMA Supercross? Or is this the typical "I can't win the title, so I would rather not race" idea? Why does every factory star get a boo-boo and then disappear until the beginning of the next championship? You were a factory guy; what is the deal? I thought these guys raced to race for their team. Is it the factory wanting them to get super-prepared for the next title chase or is it the rider and his pride? If every rider who was out of the points race stopped coming it wouldn't be much fun to watch.
Jason Hinze. Andersen Middle School

Dear Jason,

Why isn't Mike racing SX?

You pretty much answered your own questions with your follow-up questions. Mikey, as well as Stewart, Tedesco, Townley, Byrne, Langston, and the rest of the walking wounded, could probably have raced these last handful of SX races. They have all been riding at home and, in Alessi’s case, racing on the weekends. But remember that AMA Supercross isn’t something you can show up and do half-cocked; if you aren’t strong enough, fit enough, or if your timing isn’t just right, you stand a good chance of heading straight back to the hospital. (Again, see the first letter.) Not to mention the fact that your confidence will take a beating when you get worked by a bunch of guys that have been racing all season long. For most of these riders it is a smart move to prepare for the AMA Toyota Motocross Series and focus on having a good showing during the summer.

Still, I see your point. The Supercross class is definitely lacking some star power right now. When the top Suzuki rider is struggling to finish in the top ten and Bubba’s replacement is trailing him, well, it does suggest heading to the concessions and get some refreshments during the 450 class so you don’t miss any of the KTM Jr. SX Challenge.

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