Ask Ping!Friday, January 9, 2009 | 10:14 AM
Dear Mr. Pingree, I would like to know if you know where I can get an autographed Mitch Comstein sticker.
Hey, you know Mitch Comstein? That’s funny because he was my roommate in college. He was a good guy. Went to school for four years, did pretty well. His last semester he got kicked out; something about putting at night with the fifteen year old daughter of the dean. Really sad. I don’t know if he has stickers to autograph but I’ll pass along some words of wisdom that he gave me. He said, “A flute with no holes isn’t really a flute. And a donut with no hole… is a Danish.”
Gunga, gunga, galunga.
What's up man? Big fan of the column and your general outlook on life...so here's my question...My buddy Dave and I were having a discussion that circled around how much the top mechanics make. Now I know you can't drop actual numbers here, but maybe you could throw out some ballpark numbers ranging from the guys that tag along with a privateer all summer to the top spanners for the factory teams. In addition to that I was curious what a factory team manager pulls down...I figured that Jeremy Albrecht probably pulled down some good money as James' wrench not even taking into account the bonuses I'm sure he received from all of James' success. I threw out a number around $500k for a team manager salary.... is that way off base?
A good wrench can make a decent living. Let’s just say you are working for a guy that is winning titles for a factory team and he is kicking down championship bonuses and race win bonuses. That guy is making over a hundred grand. If you are working for a cash-strapped privateer you are basically donating your time because he can barely afford to get to the races, let alone pay someone to put gas in his bike. There are many different levels of pay depending on what team you work for and which rider you have. As a general guideline, riders pay their mechanics a 10% bonus on their winnings, but that is usually cut a little short. As far as team managers go, you are way off base. I doubt that any of the team managers are making more than $150K per year. If they are I need to sit down with Troy Lee and do some renegotiating.
I am a super huge fan of your articles... I was wondering what you thought of Jason Lawerence (however you spell his stupid last name)… anyway what you thought of him cutting the track on the first race out at Anaheim 1??
I have two teenage boys and their father, so let’s say three teenage boys, that watch supercross faithfully! I of course enjoy the fun as much as they do. But to see a person act and do things the way he does makes a mom really stop and think about what they are watching. Of course we turn it into a learning experience of someone you DONT want to act like or be like. But my husband and I have followed the sport since our marriage in 93, it was few and far between that you saw a person act like that guy does. And now it seems commonplace for him to be an idiot. I just wondered what your thoughts were on that?
First, the track-cutting incident was handled the best way it could be by all parties, in my opinion. Jason cased a jump and couldn’t slow down enough to make the turn. If he had spun around and crossed back into the lane where he went off he could have been putting him, and other riders, in danger. Keep in mind that he can’t see who’s coming on the other side of those jumps. I don’t like the fact that he turned left and hit the throttle without giving much consideration to his options, but I still think he did the right thing. And the AMA docked him one position, which seemed relatively fair as well. I think he gained enough time to make up one extra position and they took that away from him. As far as him being an “idiot,” well, there’s one in every village, right? Every community has its good/bad dichotomy. Dianne Sawyer has Katie Couric, Gwen Steffani has Amy Winehouse and Spongebob Squarepants has Plankton and his vile Chum bucket franchise to offset his cheery nature. Wow, sorry about that last one but my kids are watching cartoons in the other room and it’s creeping into my thoughts. Anyway, for every fair-haired boy (Dungey) there will always be a longhaired punk (Lawrence) that thinks its cool to flip the bird to congeniality. There have always been guys like Jason in our sport but none of them have been talented enough to warrant any media or public attention. The fact is Jason is amazing on a bike and his future in this sport is really in his own hands. The only thing you can do is make sure you point out to your kids what is acceptable and what is unacceptable in terms of behavior. And if they get out of line… paint their back porch red.
Got a question for Ping? E-mail him at [email protected].
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Australian Dean Ferris hopes to follow in the footsteps of some of his legendary countrymen. Now contesting the FIM Grand Prix series, he made a huge impression at the Motocross of Nations. Page 138.