Ask Ping!

August 14, 2009 7:54am | by:

I thought I would come to the man with all the answers for this question.  I am a recent grad of truck driving school.  My dream job would be to drive a factory motocross hauler.  I really don't care for what team.  I was just wondering if you could help me by giving me any advise and maybe point me in the right direction.  I was going to scour the pits at red bud this year and try to get some answers.  But unfortunately I could not make it this year… Something about having a wedding to pay for and no extra money to go.  So any help would be great.


Dear Josh,

I get a lot of people asking how they can work their way into the industry. I suggest showing up at the races, sending in resumes and trying to work for smaller teams to get some contacts within the sport. That’s a bummer about missing Red Bud this year and it reminded me of a very telling poem I read recently. It goes like this… take from it what you will:

Once upon a time, a guy asked a girl... 'Will you marry me?'

The girl said, 'NO!'

And the guy lived happily ever after and rode motorcycles and went fishing and hunting and played golf and sailed a lot and drank beer and scotch and had tons of money in the bank and was on his computer 24/7 and left the toilet seat up and farted whenever he wanted.

The end

Think it over.


  • My team got it right
Hello Ping,

Do you know the reason for the new tiny side number plate numbers? I know the side panels have gotten smaller but many of the riders numbers are so tiny now that you either have to see the front number plate or the back of the riders jersey to see who they are. (That was a long sentence!)

Thank you,

Rick B.

Dear Rick,

The idea behind the smaller side plate numbers is to allow teams to use that surface area for marketing purposes. Since transponders make scoring completely electronic the numbers on the side of the bike are not necessary for scoring. Radiator shrouds don’t provide much signage space for a sponsor that is basically funding the race team. Sadly, many teams didn’t take advantage of the newly allotted space. I don’t know if they just didn’t know what to put on the side plate or didn’t know the exact rules about it but not enough teams take advantage of it. There is a downside. When you aren’t familiar with the riders and you are trying to identify them from any kind of distance it difficult to make out the small numbers. Is it worth it? Well, without more sponsors from outside the motocross world race teams are going to disappear faster than a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in a fat camp freezer. Teams that did utilize the extra space were able to get their supporters logos in a highly visible spot and keep them happy. As a team manager, it’s totally worth it.


For years I’ve watched the races on TV and even been to a handful of Outdoor Nationals but the one thing no one has ever been able to tell me, or in this case been forthcoming in divulging is…how fast are the racers actually going? 

I hear things like “wide open in fifth gear” or “that camera car is going 55 M.P.H. and they can’t keep up with the rider” or “this is the longest start of any track and they’ll reach top speeds by the time they have to think about the first turn.”  All this makes for VERY dramatic viewing and announcing but how fast is fast?

I have a feeling this statistic has been on the “don’t tell” list by both the Speed Channel and the AMA to protect the innocent…children who throw a leg over a bike and the parents who cringe when they leave their sight.  Any truth?

I mean after all, we’re talking about a race with a motorized vehicle.  Every other motor sport LOVES to tell you how fast their machines are going. 

I smell a conspiracy or a memo from on high.  Maybe Ping should field this question.

Keep up the great work; your magazine is always top notch.

Michael “Rodi” Rodia

Mt. Juliet, TN

  • Barcia scrubs over a jump at the breakneck speed of, like, 20 miles per hour.
Dear Michael,

Your question was passed on to me and I’ll be happy to answer it the best I can. You seem like a bit of a conspiracy theorist and you’ll be disappointed here. I think the reason that speeds aren’t announced is because they aren’t that impressive to the casual viewer. And even an enthusiast or racer has nothing to compare the speeds to. I would guess that top speeds on a fast track might hit somewhere in the sixty miles per hour range… maybe. If you’ve just clicked over from a NASCAR race or road racing or another sport where speeds are well over one or two hundred miles per hour, motocross speeds don’t sound that impressive. What the casual viewer can’t see are the bumps, ruts and variable terrain that dirt bikes cover while at those speeds. And they don’t understand how much more it hurts to crash on dirt than asphalt (as long as there’s decent runoff). Some Supermoto tracks have straight-aways that allow the bikes to hit 100 miles per hour and off road racing has some high speed sections as well. Both of those sports are quick to point out how fast the riders are traveling during that race. Average speeds at a NASCAR race are well over 100mph. Average speeds on a motocross track are probably between 30 and 45 miles per hour and even slower in supercross. It just doesn’t sound that fast on paper, does it?