Hey Ping ,
I was watching an episode of Friends the other day and in the background I saw none other than the king of Supercross, Jeremy McGrath! I couldn't believe it, the "King" on a mainstream show and it had nothing to do with motorcycles. Do you know of any other "extra" appearances by MX stars in non MX TV or movies?
Thanks for the ask Ping column every week, it's the best!
P.S. for those wanting to see the Friends episode it was "The One with Princess Consuela"
I remember hearing about Jeremy working as an extra back in the 1990’s. Some thought it was to supplement his income while others speculated that he had been bitten by the acting bug, a theory later supported by his role in a series of 1-800-COLLECT commercials. But the truth is that Matt LeBlanc [Joey Tribiani] is a big motocross fan and through a mutual friend McGrath got invited to come play an extra on the set. If you watch the whiteboard in Joey and Chandler’s room it will often have drawings of dirt bikes on it. There is also Fox and other moto brand stickers on the refrigerator. How do I know this? Well, Friends is my wife’s favorite show so I own the entire series on DVD and have watched all of them, in their entirety, at least five different times. Oddly enough, I never knew which episode Jeremy was in and hadn’t seen his cameo. I’ll be sure to go back and watch the episode with Princess Consuela Bananahammock and her boyfriend, Crap Bag, played by a young Paul Rudd. Like I said… I’ve seen waaaay too much Friends.
I was wondering how much riding you've been getting in lately and what bike you're on. For awhile you were on a Honda and then I suppose that was a magazine test Suzuki that you were riding in a few vids on the website. I've always wondered how that works... Do the OEMS send bikes to all the magazines? How long do they have them for? Thanks in advance if my email is considered and keep up the awesome wit and comedy on the Racer X podcasts.
P.S. On average, how many times a week are you sneaking into the garage to dominate a pint of ice cream?
I’ve been riding once or twice a week lately. I have a Suzuki 450 and a YZ 125 sitting in my garage right now. I choose the Suzuki because it was the bike I was most comfortable with when we did our Racer X Tested Shootout earlier in the year. Yamaha offered to let me ride the 125 and I absolutely love riding that thing as well. The faster, bigger tracks I usually like the 450 best and anything tight or slow I bring my YZ.
The OEM’s have a certain number of bikes tagged for media use. It is up to them where they place them and as the economy has tightened up they are increasingly stringent about who gets bikes and for how long. As you can imagine, they just want some return for loaning a bike out all year. At the end of the year all the media bikes are collected, serviced and sold to dealers or employees at a discount. For me the worst call to make is to the manufacturer after I’ve blown a bike up. I had to do it this year when a little dirt snuck past the filter in my YZ125. I think I said something like,
“Hey, Tim, how are you today? Very well, I hope. I’m calling about the 125. It seems as though it lost some compression. Like, all of it.”
Don’t cry for Tim or the boys at Yamaha because we recently rebuilt the 125 and will have a cool video coming out soon featuring the rebuild.
As for the ice cream domination, it doesn’t happen as often as you would think. I’ve been trying to clean my diet up a bit and Phish Food doesn’t have a place in my freezer anymore.
Ben, Jerry… it’s been a great run. See you the next time I get depressed or maybe the next time I blow up a bike.
I know that you're now set financially forever using your writing skills for RacerX but after your professional racing career was over please tell us about the other jobs you considered within or outside the industry. And do you lose sleep wondering who the next whippersnapper writer is wandering the pits? I didn’t think so.
It’s funny you mention that, Larry, because as I was on final approach in my G6 this morning I yelled to my pilot something about one of the old jobs I used to have. I can’t remember what it was but it made my personal flight attendant laugh so hard she almost spilled a $2800 bottle of scotch on my custom Alexander Amosu suit. I would have had her killed. You know, I wasn’t always the made man that I am today. Sure, I started this morning with beluga caviar, a half a dozen mimosas and a deep tissue session with a personal masseuse who came with an outstanding letter of recommendation from my pal John Travolta. But it wasn’t always that way. There was the stint as color commentator for the national motocross series. That was a fun job, though my partner was about as well liked within the racing community as a new-onset case of herpes. There was the stint as a Supermoto racer, which was fun before the sport was run out of town. And then I spent a couple years managing the Troy Lee Designs Race Team. That was awesome and I’m proud of the work I did there, I simply wasn’t willing to be away from my family as much as that job required. Now I spend my time counting money and teaching my kids the tenets of capitalism by paying them for performing chores around the house and then charging them for meals, laundry service and even bedtime stories. There’s a two-for-one deal this week only on a Winnie the Pooh classic if you are interested.
Who’s the next writer to come from the motocross ranks? There are a bunch of very creative kids in our sport but the one guy who stands out in Adam Cianciarulo. He’s got a great personality and I think that comes through on video or paper. Don’t hold your breath though… I think he has championships to win first.