Ask Ping!Friday, May 25, 2012 | 9:30 AM
How are things? Hope all is well in SoCal.
The reason I am writing you is to talk about speed…speed kills, right? And if it doesn’t kill it sure as hell hurts when you are hitting the ground going fast. What I am getting at is I have been involved in this sport for a while as a racer and rider and what I have seen over the years seems to be an increase in deaths and injuries at the races and during practice and more and more top riders seem to get injured more often.
I think the reason for this is not the tracks; the tracks are better now than ever. I think the reason is the advent of the 4 stroke. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my KX450’s and if you want to take them away, well, you better invent a 2 smoker that is direct injected with a broad power band. Anyway I think the simple answer here is everyone, Vets, Pros, B riders, C riders are all going faster than ever on these bikes. A 5-mile an hour difference on impact is huge and can make a big difference on being injured or getting up and riding away. So what I am saying are asking are 4 strokes really death/injury machines?.....
What do you think?
First of all, I don’t think it’s fair to call any motorcycle an injury/death machine. If you eat at McDonald’s too often you could call a fork an illness/death tool, but I think we all realize it is the tub-o-lard on the business end of the utensil that is the problem. That said, there is absolute validity to your notion of increased injury with increased speed. Four-strokes are easier to ride and much faster than the two-strokes of the past and riders are simply going faster. So, while there may not be more crashes than before, the crashes that happen are at increased speeds. When looking at a traumatic event you have to consider kinetic energy and force. Kinetic energy = mass x velocity (squared). That means that speed is an exponentially significant factor in a crash. Force is mass x deceleration so the quicker you stop the more damage you are likely to incur. Sometimes a rider will roll out of high-speed crash unscathed or land down the backside of a jump, which will slow his deceleration. Chad Reed at Millville last year comes to mind. That’s the best you can hope for.
I don’t know the answer but a good start is to wear all the protective gear you can, get your bike set up properly and ride within your limits. Otherwise get really good insurance and make sure you have a loved one willing to wipe your ass for a while when you do break yourself off.
I see that Hughes is stepping up for Hangtown, why not you?
I see that Ryan is injured now and I am not. That’s why. Sometimes you have to know when the ship has sailed.
Lets get the classic “you have the best article on the website” out of the way even though it still needs to be said. I have a question about all of these new trends:
First off, the nicknames are about as boring as you can think, RV2,JS7,RD5,CR22,RC4..Really? Can't we come up with anything better than those oh so exciting names and get back to the good ones like in the JGR commercial, The Bomber?
Secondly, what is up with all of this swag? Arm swag, head swag, leg swag? Just another one of those things I guess, even though I must admit it is quite amusing to watch the best of the best throw some fun back into it.
Oh ya, forgot the entire reason I wrote you was to ask why the riders grab their helmets over the triples in supercross? Is it just to make them loosen their grip and not tighten up?
I’ve been over the nickname thing a hundred times and, sadly, it’s just going to have to run its course. I’ve suggested some nicknames to young riders but they look up to the top riders and want to have simple initial/number nicknames like them…Like lemmings off a cliff. And it doesn’t end with nicknames. You want to know where the helmet grab started? Ricky Carmichael used to do it when he first started racing professionally. It was out of necessity at first as his helmet would push his goggles down into his line of sight and the grab was actually to adjust his goggles. After a while it just became sort of a nervous twitch that calmed him down during a race. Eventually, every young kid with dreams of supercross stardom began grabbing the front of their helmets on bigger jumps to emulate the GOAT. Like I said… lemmings off a cliff.
I haven’t seen the arm or head swag but the leg swag, as performed flawlessly and in abundance by Justin Bogle, can look pretty fun. Hopefully he doesn’t lose his leg swag when he gets his ACL repaired soon. If he does, maybe he can make arm or head swag popular?
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