Ask Ping!

Ask Ping!

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Dear Ping,

What memories do you have of the date April 8, 2000 and the legendary Irving supercross that took place that night?

Pizza Genie

Asahikawa, Hokkaido, Japan

 


 

 

  • He freakin’ won it.
Pizza Genie San,

I remember crushing disappointment and frustration mostly. Thank you for asking. I remember strategizing before the race and playing out different scenarios. After the debacle the weekend prior I went from a comfortable points cushion to being around ten points down, so I was hoping for a miracle, really. I couldn’t tell you anything about the heat race or what else went on that day. The only thing I recall is the main event. I’ve never been so nervous. The gate dropped and as we charged for turn one it seemed like nobody wanted to let off the throttle. Carnage ensued and as I hit the ground and reached for my clutch I had a sinking feeling that it was all over. And then I saw Shea Bentley on the ground as well. My heart rate went through the roof and I took off just in case this was the miracle I needed. I rode my ass off, not having any idea what was going on behind me, and passed Chris Gossellaar for second just before the finish. I stopped after the checkered flag with my mechanic and Pat Alexander from Suzuki waiting to see where Bentley finished. Pat seemed to think that seventh was where he needed to be in order for me to win. As Bentley crossed the line in seventh a smile came across Alexander’s face. Still, nobody knew for sure. After several minutes, which seemed like an eternity to me, Davey Coombs got the call over his headphones. It was true that Bentley needed to be seventh for me to win, but I had to win in that scenario and second would leave me two points short. I remember hearing Shea scream. My mechanic, Shawn Ulikowski, did his best to console me but I was devastated. I congratulated Bentley and shook his hand. The last thing I remember is walking out the tunnel of the old Texas Stadium. That was one of the worst nights of my life. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

 

PING

 

Oh great knowledgeable one otherwise known as “Ping”,

Every week I sit and watch Weimer battling with privateers, I can’t help but wonder what would have been had Kawi given their factory 450 ride to Pourcel rather than Weimer. I have nothing against Weimer, he was really coming into his own on the PC 250 in SX, but thus far, in my opinion, he has been a disappointment on the 450. I know Pourcel hasn’t exactly been a “fan favorite”, but had there not been that DNF at Southwick and the crash at Pala he would be a 2 time 250 SX and MX champ in as many years. Like him or not, Pourcel has major talent on a bike. I think the landscape of SX and MX over the last few years would look quite a bit different had Pourcel joined RV on the factory 450 team. What do you think was the main reason for Kawi going with Weimer over Pourcel? Was it just a matter of money, personality or did Kawi see something in Weimer that most of us didn’t?

 

 

  • Dude had crazy talent.
?,

I’ve gotten a few letters about this and I think what Kawasaki management was thinking about that you are missing is the whole package. Pourcel was a beast on the track but he was a nightmare off the track. When you are spending as much time together as these guys do you need to have a rider you can get along with and who will represent you well to the public. There were some issues there with Pourcel. Was Weimer the best choice past Pourcel? You could argue in favor of a few other guys but the biggest factors were that Ryan Villopoto really liked him and enjoyed riding and training with him. Remember, Ryan is the pretty one over in that semi…. Jake is the grenade. Also, Weimer was coming off a successful run with Kawasaki’s 250 team and it looks good to bring a guy all the way through the program the way it’s supposed to happen. There could be some movement this summer as teams posture and prep for the future. Weimer will need to have a good summer.

 

PING

 

Mr. Pingree

As an ancient +40 Vet Rider who still clings to his YZ 250 2-Stroke, mostly out of the love of cheap, simple, fast, machinery with fantastic smelling exhaust, and the desire to be able to repair my own bike for less than a mortgage payment, I’d love to hear your insight on why we can race 250 2-strokes in the 250f class (is that what it is called?) at the Amateur level, but not at the Pro level.

I’ve asked Davey about this a few times over the last 100 or so years, but I always seem to get some foggy answer about “the manufacturers”.  Is it because Pro teams don’t want to maintain two fleets of bikes – one fleet for tracks 2-strokes would be better on (sand maybe?) and one fleet for hard packed tracks?  Would two fleets then become an Armada?

Are the manufacturers who don’t sell 2-strokes any more afraid Husqvarna, Yamaha, and KTM would suddenly win everything?  I’ve read roughly one million articles that show the 2-stroke 250 (is the hyphen correct, by the way?) is not faster than the 4-stroke 250 in all situations, so you think the worrying would be for naught (like that?).

2-strokes haven’t taken over the amateur ranks yet, so what is everyone so worried about?  I figure it must come down to the almighty dollar, which just doesn’t make sense when the 4-stroke is so expensive.  Let ‘em race!

Anyhoo, I’d love to hear your $0.02 (back to the money thing)

Vet Racer Andy

 

 

Andy,

I could put on my tin-foil hat, crawl down into my basement and give you my conspiracy theory about why two-strokes are being snuffed out. But that’s crazy talk, right? Hehe…right?

I think the simple answer here is that the manufacturers who don’t make two-strokes any longer [Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki] are adamantly opposed to allowing two-strokes into the game because they have nothing to gain and everything to lose by letting them in. They made their decision to go down the four-stroke road and there just isn’t any going back.

Personally, I would love to see a handful of them out there and I think that is exactly what it would be. A few privateers and maybe a couple support teams would take advantage of the lower cost and additional horsepower of the 250 two-stroke, but the fact is they are more difficult to ride. You make more mistakes and you use more energy riding then you do on a thumper. It wouldn’t be a game-changer like, say, allowing paddle tires would be. Now that’s a rule I’d like to see: You are allowed to run a paddle tire in two motos throughout the season. I’ll bet chest protectors would get really popular again if that happened.

 

PING

 

Have a question for Ping? Email him at ping@racerxonline.com.

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