Ask Ping!

Ask Ping!

June 17, 2011 9:30am

I thought you might be able to use these photos as evidence that at one time you were a badass. I don't know if you remember me but I shot for Racer X quite a bit when you were on KTM and after. I came across these shots going through my archives. I am widely know as a "Surf" photographer but Davey and Eric Johnson will remember me quite well. So use these to shut up any wankers that don't know your history. Especially when it comes to beating James Stewart. Congrats.

Mike Balzer


  • Is this considered old-school already?
Dear Mike,

Good to hear from you. I remember seeing a lot of your work back then and it was always quality. It’s hard to believe this photo was taken almost a decade ago already. It was James’ rookie year, January of 2002, and he had just won his first race the weekend before in San Diego. He was pissed because he didn’t win and Ivan was pissed because he hadn’t won a race yet that year. They might be smiling for the cameras but I was the only happy guy on that podium that night. Exactly seven days later in Phoenix my KTM would divide into two like an amoeba and my title hopes went bye-bye once again. This was the last supercross race I won. Thanks for the trip back in time, Mike!



Yo Ping!

I was curious to get your side to this chatter I heard in the pits at the Hangtown National. I heard this "Moto Dad" whose mouth was hitting the rev limiter about why his kid can't do well against the 250cc pros out there. He said something to the effect of "Give us Bagget's bike and we will be on the podium every weekend!” I also read somewhere where Dean Wilson's mechanic was saying that the Pro Circuit team motors were only built to last about one hour of ride time before being completely rebuilt. Here is the list of questions: Can racers still claim a fellow competitors race machine per AMA rules? Is there an unfair advantage in the 250cc class? Should there be another stepping stone "Pro" class where bikes can be more evenly matched without parents mortgaging their life on something that has to be rebuilt after an hour of riding?

Your infinite wisdom is greatly appreciated.


Temecula, CA


  • You'll need this to compete in the 250 class
Dear Ijustwannaride,

There is no bike-claiming rule in professional racing any longer. The only thing that you can claim is suspension in the 250 class in supercross racing. There are limits to what can be done and used in that division of racing and as such they have put a dollar value on a set of suspension. If you think that Blake Baggett’s stuff is working that much better than yours you can pull out your wallet and buy it. If a guy is planning on buying some kit stuff it actually might not be a bad idea to just roll into Anaheim, find a guy who is close to your weight and head over to the AMA trailer and buy his suspension. It would be set up well and ready to go!

I do think that there is a gap somewhere that a lot of riders fall into. I think that a 125 class would be a perfect stepping-stone class, but without manufacturer support it will never happen. Still, it would be awesome to see a group of young kids ripping on 125s that were closely matched in power. The cost would be dramatically reduced and it would give young pros a chance to adjust to the style and format of professional racing.

I doubt Dean Wilson’s mechanic actually said that, but if he did then he needs to work on his math skills. While there certainly aren’t engines designed to last through an entire season of racing, a motor built to last one hour wouldn’t get through a national. Riders put 90 to 100 minutes on an engine at any given pro national and that doesn’t include break-in time on the dyno, warm-up time, etc. #Somethingdoesntaddup.


Hey Dave,

I was just curious if you were ever angry about not receiving an Oscar nomination for your role as Trip Carlyle in Supercross: The Movie. I thought you were worthy, for what that’s worth.



  • Water sucks, it really, really sucks!
Dear Mike,

Sometimes truly great roles and performances go seemingly unnoticed by the powers that be. Leo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp are both still waiting on their statues so I don’t feel that bad that mine hasn’t come yet. I’m sure with the staggering success of the first film that a sequel is coming and I’ll get another shot at it. And the second time around maybe they won’t have the two-stroke sound over a four-stroke bike issue that plagued them in the original. And maybe they can come up with a more believable storyline and bring the cheese factor down about four-thousand percent and include some actors whose biggest role to date wasn’t Revenge of the Nerds back in the 1980s. Maybe. Or, maybe we wait another couple decades for someone else to try again to make a respectable film with motocross as the backdrop. NASCAR has Days of Thunder. Basketball has Hoosiers. Football has The Waterboy. Where is our Waterboy? Come on, Scorsese, pull your head of your rear end and make this happen! And be sure to cast me as a stunt double so I can cash in on the awesome per diem and craft services spread. I have my SAG card. Call me.



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