Ask Ping!Friday, June 24, 2011 | 2:20 PM
I know you have a ton of knowledge in a ton of different areas, but I think I have a question that might stump you. What does “to stong” mean in South African?
Nice query, my good man, but I happen to know exactly what to stong means in the South African vernacular. Stong is another name for a swanky hotel room and it appears as though Rattray’s mechanic [and step-father, consequently] has spotted a pretty girl across the track and he is inviting her out to party. His guy just won and he was ready to throw down, you know? You don’t believe that? Would you believe me if I told you that To Stong was an old wooden ship used to sail the seven seas? No?
Alright, let’s just be honest here; Wayne was psyched that Tyla added more cushion to his point lead and his internal spell check was set to off. Tyla was definitely “Too Strong” at Budds Creek.
Well, the old "not if but when" happened to me two weeks ago. I was practicing at the track and took a pretty good spill. Long story short, I was taken to the ER and came away with a concussion, broken finger and pretty stiff neck. The ER doc's said wearing my Leatt and chest protector saved me from much greater and permanent physical damage. I've always been appreciative of life and don't take anything for granted. After my spill, I have a much more heightened sense of appreciation. Like you, I ride because I love to do so and it puts a big smile on my face. However, being out of work for a week and the thought of hurting myself again, and possibly more severely, has put a little damper on my zest for riding/racing (novice for now). I have a wife, two kids, mortgage, etc., that's making me think twice about getting back on the bike. Although you had a pro career in our sport and are now moving on to become a "smoke eater" and future Fire/Police MX champ, I know you still enjoy your time on the bike. You too have the same responsibilities as I do. Not looking for any answers here but just want your thoughts on dealing with the psyche of getting back on the bike after taking a good spill and weighing the risks/rewards.
Thanks in advance for your time and I appreciate the feedback.
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
I have that very same internal argument from time to time. Is riding my bike really worth the risk of injury? The answer is yes. To me it is a slippery slope when you start letting fear control your decisions like that. Before you know it you’ll be locked in a containment room like Howard Hughes, not doing anything for fear of injuring yourself. Look, I understand the downside to getting hurt. If you can’t go to work or provide for your family it can be a huge setback. So do everything in your power to limit the damage. Are you wearing all the protective equipment you can? Is it quality stuff? Are you riding on [relatively] safe tracks? There is a common denominator among most guys who get hurt and it happens to be jumps. Every time you leave the ground you increase your odds of returning to it on your head. There are good tracks out there without all the jumps. Have you been to The Ranch lately? They have a couple old-school tracks with no big jumps. What about strength and flexibility? Do you try to prepare yourself for the times when you do hit the ground?
Anyway, I don’t think it’s good for your mental health to give up something you love because you are afraid of getting hurt. Let the bumps and bruises heal and get back on the horse that threw you.
Why doesn’t motocross have any kind of cool post-season event like other sports? The NFL does the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, the NBA does the slam-dunk contest and all that crap… why can’t we have something cool like that? I know there used to be a race in Hawaii and I think I remember you being part of some race over there once. Why don’t they still do it?
There used to be a big supercross event in Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. I think the obvious reason that it didn’t last is that it’s difficult to ship bikes over there, or have bikes provided by such a small motocross community. All football and baseball players have to do is pack their uniforms and a couple balls [yes, I said a couple balls] and they are ready to go. I tried to help a promoter put on an event over there back in ’04 and it was a disaster. We had riders cancel on us at the last minute after we had purchased their tickets. The venue was supposed to be an arena in downtown Honolulu and they pulled the contract just prior to the event so we had to go to a different, remote location. Sponsors pulled some or all of their money when they learned of the location change. And to top it all off it poured rain on the Saturday night event. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The promoter lost money, riders didn’t get paid what they were promised and it left a bad taste in people’s mouths about supercross racing on the islands. Despite all that, we had a great time. And if someone decided to put another race on over there I would be the first one to get involved and help. You want to put up the money?
Anyway, how about the new Monster Energy Cup that’s scheduled for this October. The track is actually being designed by RC and MC as we speak and there’s a million bucks up for grabs. That’s pretty cool, eh?
Got a question for Ping? E-mail him at [email protected].
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Check out MY LIFE IN MOTORCYCLE RACINGin our Latest issue of Racer X available now.
Jean-Michel Bayle, the iconic superstar of yesteryear, raced motocross for the first time in twenty-one years at the Vets MXdN in England. Page 126.