Ask Ping!Friday, September 9, 2011 | 9:30 AM
I have been reading your contributions over the years and watched you submerge into the MX world after active racing. I still mourn over the fact that you didn't pull it off on that Chinese factory steed (if wasn't for the transmission). So you went Supermoto, you went on TV, you went to the press and made it full circle as a team manager for Troy Lee. I see your contributions about motorsport events from all over the world, bringing me to the belief that enough people in the industry have good faith in your broad spectrum of MX expertise. Yet it seems that there is not enough bread to go around for you to support your family. Being a retired paramedic myself, I just can't see why you chose this path. I can't believe you will enjoy hanging around a hospital’s back doors waiting for the pager to go off. Your work is taking you to the places no one in his right mind would want to walk into; most everybody walks out where you have to go in. However, I'm not sure if you are out in the fields yet, sharing the cabin of a fuel-guzzling Ford V10 with way-too-soft suspension and a high point of gravity with a 260-pound co-pilot that somehow seems to know everything except how to stay away from a burger joint or a donut place. But if you are, then you probably learned that there is not a whole lot of glory in the daily happenings of a paramedic. I just wonder how you trade that for a life in moto? Is it easier on the family of yours? Does it pay better than a position as team manager? This comes from one of those suckers who always dreamed of a life in moto and never was near to make it.
Oliver from Germany
Thanks for reading over the years. The beating I took on that Sky Team Tornado is one that I may never get over. That bike still had the coolest graphics ever, though.
I get asked the question about my career change quite often. I am not yet working in the field as a paramedic but I am in the middle of my PM field internship with a fire department. I know the life of a paramedic working for a private ambulance company sucks. I wouldn’t wish that job on my worst enemy. The career I’m working towards is firefighter/paramedic, which is very different in every way, including pay. It’s a career that I’ve become passionate about and one that allows me to spend the time with my family that I want.
I know a job in the MX industry sounds better than a tall Hefeweizen, a bratwurst and a Volkswagon all wrapped into one, but it has its drawbacks. I’m not going to get into all the specifics and sound like a whiner, but the main thing, for me, was that I was away from home too much. Over twenty weekends a year at the races and long days in the shop mean I didn’t get to see my kids a lot of times before they went to bed and I was gone before they got up. That doesn’t work for me. The other thing you have to remember is that I have no intentions of leaving the industry. The job I have right here at Racer X is one that I love and hope to be doing for a long time. I get to be involved at whatever level I choose. I even get media credentials to all the races. Not a bad perk, huh?
I love everything about motocross. I ride. My whole family rides. Two of my kids race. I have my own track on my property. Someone is out there riding just about every day. But I hate supercross. I think it's a joke! Lites heats last eight minutes and the 450s last about the same. Fifteen minute mains? What a joke. I believe they do all the track maintenance just to stretch the night out past the hour it really takes to hold an event. My questions to you are, will there ever be a format change and why do the riders and manufacturers hold the supercross title with such high regards?
Don’t be such a grumpy old fart. You have to take supercross for what it is… a show. And there is some great racing that takes place during those fifteen minutes. I don’t know when the last time was you saw a supercross, but it’s good entertainment. And making the races much longer would be tough on the riders. It is literally an all-out sprint for those guys with heart rates [Oh, boy, I sound like Jeff Emig] close to 200bpm. Try sprinting up a hill for fifteen minutes and let me know how that works out for you. I understand you love racing and you want to see longer motos but those twenty laps seem like an eternity usually. The reason that series is highly regarded is simple…marketing. When you add up the number of people who see those races on TV and the number of fans that come to the races, it’s pretty impressive. Both motocross and supercross are in good places right now. Television continues to improve and despite the abysmal economy the stadiums and motocross venues are still filling up with fans. If you love bikes so much you should appreciate all forms and disciplines of racing. Let me bottom line this for you with a phrase you can memorize and practice saying before bed every night: Don’t hate… appreciate.
Dear Ping Pong,
Is Josh Hill back?
As far as I know, no. I saw him in a cast with a pretty good limp not that long ago. I hope things are healing well. It’s good to see someone showing some crack in honor of Josh.
Got a question for Ping? E-mail him at [email protected].
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Americans know very little about seven-time FIM World Champion Tony Cairoli, but in Europe he’s treated like royalty. Page 102.