Ask Ping!

June 13, 2008 7:50am

Alright King Ping,
I've got a question for you. First, I will preface it with the admission that I am all but ignorant of the English language (especially the more obscure words that they torture those kids with in the national spelling bees). Well, a few months back, I saw a GNCC on TV and heard the other #101, David Knight, say something like "after that second lap I really got knackered." Now I could go ahead and assume that "knackered" means something as obvious as tired, but what fun would there be in that? Since it is not listed in my relatively small Webster's dictionary, I thought that it could mean "I got sick, annoyed, pissed-off, passed, a flat tire, thirsty, roosted, monkey butt, dirt in my eyes, slow, fast, wet or crapped myself, stopped in the bushes for a quickie and so on." And so the question, for those of us not in complete command of the English (and I do mean English) language, what does knackered mean? I need to know this because I may have gotten knackered on the second lap of a race myself and not even known it.
Ignorant Bob
Monument, CO

Knight was knackered

photo: Jason Hooper

Dear Ignorant Bob,
Admittedly, I hadn’t heard that word before either. Luckily for you and I, we have a few Brits on staff here at
Racer X and I called “The Gov’nor,” Simon Cudby, to find out what David Knight was talking about in his post-race interview. Knackered is an English term meaning, literally, castrated. Still, I don’t know if Knight actually had his nuts removed somewhere on the course, he smashed them on the gas cap on the second lap, or if his gonads just retreated inside him like a frightened sea turtle during the race. Only Mr. Knight can answer that for certain. One thing I do know is that unless your wife has your bits and pieces mounted over the fireplace, you have not been knackered.

Cheers, mate.

Although most of the times I agree with you and laugh at the way you handle readers' questions, I disagree about what you say regarding how ridiculous it would be for a rider to say they are going to beat James Stewart. I don't hear riders say that because, quite frankly, most of the riders are losers by definition; they don't win. Maybe they do in their personal lives, but not their professional lives. Only RC, CR, JS, and RV can claim they are winners. JL can too; he won last year. To quote a great winner named Vince Lombardi, "Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser. If you can accept losing, you can't win." That was as true then as it is now. I feel most riders accept losing.
The overwhelming desire to win is what makes riders, and people in general, great. MC, RC, Hannah, Ward, Johnson and the rest would try and beat your ass on a track even if nobody was there and no money was involved because they don't want to lose. It is not in their nature. I don't agree with that mentality. That is almost like playing not to lose rather than playing to win. Winning isn't everything, but trying to win is [also Lombardi]. I like that CR gives Stewart fits when he is trying to pass him because he doesn't want to give up his spot. (Only now it looks as though CR expects Short to do it for him?!) Tim Ferry should get a "Rudy" award for having heart. He has all the reasons he could think of to quit, but he still is determined to get better every year.

Anyway, keep up the laughs, I look forward to them. I watched you at quite a few races in ‘99 when you were on Primal. Why does Suzuki have problems keeping a "Lites" (loathe using that word) team together?

Dear Oscar,

Personally, I like a guy that is quietly confident and gets the job done without flapping his lips too much. Jeff Stanton was one of those guys and I always admired him for that. Lombardi also said “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” Maybe he was one of the best football coaches ever from which we will forever borrow inspiration, or maybe he was just a neurotic old man with a bad case of OCD that we have glorified over the years. In my humble opinion, there are a lot of things in this life more important than winning a football game. As far as racers go, I am sure there are some riders that believe they can win races. But after you don’t win races over and over and over, your own common sense has a tendency to quiet those thoughts, particularly in verbal form. There is a huge difference between accepting loss and accepting the fact that you aren’t yet prepared to win. Being successful in motocross requires a lot of puzzle pieces coming into place. You can sit on your couch with a stack of Pringles in one hand and a cold Bud Light in the other and rant about how disgusted you are that none of these “loser” riders want to win badly enough; that is your right as an overfed, ignorant American. But unless you’re actually lined up next to guys like James Stewart, Davi Millsaps, Andrew Short and the rest of them, your opinions aren’t worth two squirts of pee. Do you really think MC, RC, Wardy, Hannah and RJ were the only great riders in motocross? Again, spoken like a true armchair quarterback. Those guys were all amazing and had a little something extra that every other rider on the starting line was trying to get. But that confidence is elusive. Even if they never find it, I’m sure they would appreciate it, and I know I would, if you refrained from referring to them as losers. After all, they made it farther than most, you included, ever will.

P.S. Not sure what Suzuki’s deal is. Maybe they just always hire loser riders.


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