Ask Ping!

Ask Ping!

February 1, 2013 8:45am

Dear Mr. Pingree,

After reading some of the posts on RacerX online, can you explain how a track can make you crash? I thought it just lays there and does nothing. If it does make you crash, how does it know which rider to pick on?


  • This looks like a nice little track who wouldn’t hurt anybody.

Tracks are sneaky. You think they are just chilling there, all made out of dirt and stuff. But as any fan who has ever had their favorite rider go down knows, tracks are not cool. They will make you crash when you are doing everything right. Anaheim 1 screwed up Stewart’s knee in practice. That was so uncool. Phoenix just wanted to see Davalos do gymnastics in that heat race and stupid Anaheim 2 this year made Kevin Windham retire! I was so mad at that track. Honestly, the Anaheim track is just being a dick this year. I hope Dirt Wurxs makes some more congenial tracks in the next few weeks because right now these tracks are, like, total jerks.




Hello Mr. Pingree,

As the smartest person in the moto industry, I thought I would see if you could shed some light on something that has been puzzling me for some time.

Over the years, we have heard a lot of criticism from riders over what obstacles are used by track designers in the first section after the start.  Just a few examples would be a triple in the first section, a right turn, or in the case of the recent Oakland debacle, whoops right after the first turn.  My question for you is, what should track builders use to make the starts less hazardous and keep more riders healthy?


Justin Johnson



  • Light the candles.
Dear Justin,

Way to slide in the completely over-the-top compliment at the beginning of the question. Total self-esteem booster…thanks.

In order to produce a safer course for the racers lets use my enormous brain and make a quick checklist of the obstacles that should NOT be built in the first couple of straights after a start.

1. Triples: No, no, no. Way too sketchy with twenty guys all bunched up, scrubbing and jacked on adrenaline.

2. Rhythm lane: Negatory. Really, you want to have guys going up and down in different patterns with other dudes all around them? Nice try but this will end badly.

3. Whoops: Absolutely not. After what I’m calling the ‘Turn Two Crash Fest of 2013’ last weekend I think it’s safe to assume that whoops are an awful idea out of turn one.

4. Sand: What is this, Belgium? Look, Hasselhoff, if it were safe on the beach we wouldn’t need lifeguards. Am I right? Seriously, am I? I’m not sure where I was going with that.

5. Finish Line Double: Don’t give Shaheen another reason to say, “Light the candles.” Please.

So, what does that leave us with? Flat straight, sweeper turn or quit racing and start competing in a new sport. So glad we solved this issue today.




Dear Ping,

Saw where you almost made Vital melt down this week. Do you think Feld is really taking advantage of riders and teams or is it just a typical overreaction by fans of the sport?




  • Idea: Supercross but without any jumps. Safe or stupid? Or both?
Dear Charles,

In my quote I said that teams are “Being bled from every angle.” That was in reference to a team like MotoConcepts who have to buy bikes, buy their hauler, buy parts, hire staff, hire riders, get bonus insurance for their riders, pay entry fees, buy credentials, pay for travel, expenses, etc. It is crazy how much it costs to run a team.

Somebody took a comment I made on the Pulpmx Show and twisted it just enough to make it sound like I was taking a dig at Feld Entertainment. The truth is the guys at Feld, specifically Dave Prater, Todd Jendro and Michael Prince have always been incredibly receptive to input from riders, managers and team owners. Anybody in this industry will tell you the same thing. On the show we were having a discussion with Mike Genova about the struggles of running a race team. In his case he is paying for the vast majority of his effort out of his own pocket and he gets frustrated when his guys don’t get the credit they deserve on the television broadcast. He cited the Oakland round as an example where Mike finished well but was barely mentioned by the TV crew. Maybe he has a point but that frustration should be directed at the television staff, not those in charge of operations. While there are certainly things that could be better you have to tip your cap to the folks at Feld for where they’ve taken Supercross. The difference in the product from now to back in 1993 when I got started is incredible. From the medical support to the television coverage to the overall professionalism of the show it’s improved leaps and bounds. And that is all due to their hard work. This isn’t a butt-kissing session, just the truth.