Ask Ping!

Ask Ping!

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Ping,

At what point does rider safety become more important than advertising for TV?

The picture of the 250 start from Unadilla has two riders going outside the holeshot award structure, and clearly shows two guide wires running to the ground to hold this structure up. We all know the brain becomes a little disconnected to the right wrist during a moto start.

At Millville there was a new truck parked in the middle of the uphill / downhill section that could have easily been hit by a rider.  (ask RC about a water ski boat at a supercross).

Ryno in Minnesota

 

 

  • What could possibly go wrong??
Ryno,

There is definitely a fine line between promotional creativity and unnecessary rider hazard. When RC got loose at the Dallas Supercross he almost lost some teeth on the back half of a Mastercraft that was “floating” on the infield. I didn’t see the truck in Millville but the first turn situation at Unadilla could have been a problem. I know DC and the MX Sports crew is trying their best to elevate the professionalism of the sport, which includes promotion, while keeping riders safe and happy with the courses and amenities. That is a difficult juggling act, especially when you are trying to corral 40 slightly-overconfident teenagers riding miniature rocket ships and chasing a whole lot of money. The truth is you’d be safer standing in the streets of Pamplona, Spain during the running of the bulls than the outside edge of turn one at any pro motocross race. And yet there is Simon Cudby and his crew of merry photographers with sweet brown vests and multi-pocketed shorts getting the good shots. Those are the bravest souls at the races.

Anyway, safety is a big concern and trust that all of those things are scrutinized as much as they can be prior to race day.

PING

 

Hey Ping,

I remember when Trey Canard, Austin Stroupe, Tyler Bowers, and Nico Izzi were all coming through the ranks as amateurs. Canard is the only one I see in the pro class now. What happened to Bowers? I know he does arenacross but will he ever make a return to the pros? When Stroupe was a rookie I remember he took the overall in the first race at Glen Helen of Villopoto his own teammate. Do you know if Stroupe will ever come back?

 

 

  • Which rookies will make it and which ones will fade away?
Dear ?,

I’m not sure if you’ve caught an arenacross event in the past several years but Tyler pretty much owns those events. How about the Vegas supercross this year? Bowers joined the list of one-time winners by owning the main event at the season finale this year. Time will tell if he gets another shot in the “big leagues” but he’s done well for himself regardless. Stroupe and Izzi took slightly different paths but both pissed away unimaginable amounts of talent and potential by partying and focusing their time and energy on things that do not help a racing career. Izzi has turned things around, it appears, but time is not his friend as injury has derailed several of his seasons in a row now. His window of opportunity might be slamming shut. Stroupe went off the deep end completely. At one point he was going to follow right in Ryan Villopoto’s footsteps. And then instead of following Ryan to the gym he hung a left and wound up at a rave with a fistful of glowsticks. If you look up cautionary tale in the dictionary you’ll find Austin’s picture. Even if all of them had kept it on the straight and narrow and stayed focused on a career in racing there is no guarantee for anyone. A small percentage of the “next big things” out of Loretta Lynn’s actually make the transition into successful professional racers. All you can do is hope they stay healthy and surround themselves with good people.

PING

 

Ping,

It was over a decade ago, but I remember watching you race against some of my local heroes at a Wild West National in Pocatello, Idaho. You were riding a sweet looking/sounding (remember when you could just hear a finely tuned 125?) Split fire Pro Circuit Kawi. While I remember you probably won, I wasn't overly impressed. Now before you check out on this email, this is not an email bagging on your abilities at all. You were always one of my favorites to watch from that point on. My question is why don't some of the top guys show up at a local race and mix it up? Schedule too busy? Risk too great? I don't know what brought you to Idaho one summer day but it was awesome to see a rider of your caliber race against the best I'd ever seen.

Brian

 

 

  • Jody was never that impressed with me either. Still put me in his book that year.
Dear Brian,

Thanks for the weirdest backhanded compliment I’ve ever gotten. I remember that weekend well. I was driving up to visit my family in Montana and stopped to do some racing along the way. That race happened to be Danny Smith’s first pro race and he had his buddy Bob Hannah there to help him out. If you think about it, most good amateur riders do quite a bit of winning when they are young. They are usually the best rider in their region so they know the feeling of winning races. But after jumping up to the pro level those wins are few and far between, especially if you raced during the McGrath/Carmichael/Stewart/Villopoto eras. There are usually a very few riders doing all the winning with an occasional scrap being picked up by one rider or another. To give you some perspective, I raced professionally for ten years and won four races during that time. So, for me, it was always fun to do an arenacross race or a regional championship event where I could get a win. It might sound like a bitch move to drop down like that for some cheap glory but, hey, sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of how it feels to win. Why don’t more pro guys race local events? They are either tired from all the travel, which is totally reasonable, or they are scared that some local spectator won’t think they are as good in real life. Whatever. Thanks for the letter, Brian. Sorry I wasn’t more impressive back in Idaho in 1997.

PING

 

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

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