Ask Ping!

October 24, 2009 10:28pm | by:
Dear Ping,
I know you are busy with preparation for this next season and your wife probably has you on vacuuming and diaper duty, so I'll keep this short. 

First, I have to say how much I admire your vast accomplishments in the industry.  I know to include the ego boost to insure consideration of my letter.
Secondly, just a comment on a past column. I rode with Bandit on a benefit ride once in the forest outside of Prescott, and I couldn't keep up with him! The guy rocks.

Lastly, I have an insurance question. I am without coverage right now, so our bikes are sitting. What kind of insurance coverage do pros have – both factory and privateer? My sister-in-law had a collarbone break last year that required surgery and the insurance paid out 45K. Do the pros pay this themselves, do their teams pay, or do they have special policies?
Thanks and God Bless,
Chris Munhall
Phoenix, AZ
p.s. I think you deserved the Nobel over Hollywood's President.

  • This is my guy.
Dear Chris,

It was wise of you to include the ego stroke. I was on the fence about using this letter and then I re-read it and the pat on the back put me over the top. On to your question…

All pro riders that are competing in an AMA competition have insurance through the AMA at sanctioned events. This policy covers 80% of the expenses that aren’t covered by your primary provider. The smart racers also have their own policies but it is completely up to them to take care of it. I always had a PPO with a fairly high deductible when I raced. That way I was covered for any major incident but the premium didn’t kill me every month. I was okay to put up a few thousand bucks if the insurance company was on the hook for the other $50k that it took to plate a bone, replace a ligament or have my testicles enlarged through a risky elective surgery. Of course now that I have kids that type of policy doesn’t work out. Every other month I’m taking my kids in for an ear infection or check up or injury and it’s draining my savings. But as a racer it’s nice to be able to go to the doctor or orthopedic specialist you want. So, bottom line, it is all on the rider to take care of it. And I highly suggest they do. And I highly recommend they avoid a doctor named Gustavo that claims he can improve athletic performance by enlarging their testicles.


Hey Ping man!
I am a 46 year-old man now and have not rode a dirt bike in about a half dozen years (But just picked up a Harley--to grab a fist full of USA--just in case).  But since I was 10 to about 35, I lived and breathed dirt bikes (raced for about 10 years amateur).  The few heroes I had, were MX racers from the 70's and 80's--and RC.  Now with four strokes taking over (seems like a bit of fascism to me), and some of the riders I want to see not racing a particular series, I am finding I am losing interest in watching the best in the world do their stuff.  2009 is the first year, for example, that I have not attended the Red Bud National since 1985 (Lechien "I am too big for a 125" and his killer works Honda 125, stick in my mind on that one, and Glover cart wheeling through a fence and between motor homes, and still winning the race over Eric Eaton in the 500cc class).  Michigan,
the number 2 state for SX events raced, also lost the SX race, so I missed my normal SX round in 2009 also.
But, I think I found a new spark, actually an old spark come to life again.  I just happened to catch the US open, and saw Ezra Lusk was in it, and looked pretty good on Sunday (finishing 8th behind Wey).  I think the RCA dome still has a SX race in Indy and I would be willing to drive the extra three miles and take a motel to see Ezra on the track again---even if he finished mid pack.  There has to be more old guard in my position.  I am not sure if Ezra is racing the series, but I wonder how many extra old school fans he would bring in?  Or at least click on Racer X more often to see how well he is doing?  Look out kids, if Ezra finds 85-90% of his old speed, and can do it almost every weekend, he might make some of the high paid kids look bad.  That I want to see. (ho ho)  Now, if we could just get Ezra on a two stroke, I would attend the whole series nation wide. :)
Doug Johns

  • Ezra is smiling because he doesn't know where he is.
Dear Doug,

Glad to see you got back into the sport, even if it took an old fart like Yogi to make it happen. I can call him that because we are around the same age. I’m not sure if Ezra will make a full return to racing but I will be cheering for him if he does… and then rushing over to him after the races to hand him some ibuprofen. If you look closely at the races you’ll see a lot of “old-timers” in the crowd. Erik Kehoe runs the Red Bull Honda effort, Larocco is now steering the ship at Factory Connection and Mike Fisher is Kawasaki’s main guy. Mike who, you say? If you ever saw a guy fly over a berm at the San Diego supercross in the 1980’s and land on his head… that was Fisher. Stanton pops his head in occasionally, Mcgrath shows up at some and Jeff Emig has been the color analyst for the past two years. Is that not enough nostalgia for you? Show up, old-timer. I’ll bring the Geritol.


Hey ping I have a question and I can not wait till A1 for the answer. Is there any truth to the rumor that factory Suzuki has pulled up stakes and will not participate directly with a team. ????

Thank in advance ............. Please do not critique my writing as I am trying real hard not to make any mistakes! 

Tim/ Murrieta

  • Oh, he just missed the Puerto Vallarta trip, Vanna. As a consolation prize he gets... a wave from Vanna White in 1978.
Dear Tim,

Oh, man, you were so close! Everything was coming along fine, grammatically speaking, until you said “real hard.” The correct wording was “really hard.” On top of that you used a period and four question marks at the end of the same sentence, and you didn’t use any punctuation when addressing me in the opening sentence. So sorry, Tim, but you did not win the all expense paid trip for two to beautiful Puerto Vallarta. No bueno, mi amigo.

The truth with Suzuki is that they are partnering up with Yoshimura to help offset the cost of operating their team. They already share a building with them and since they are both Japanese companies they are trying to help each other out. Don’t look shocked when you see Dungey riding around soon with a Yosh exhaust system on his bike.