Ask Ping!Friday, September 27, 2013 | 9:30 AM
I was scanning through the channels looking for something to watch last night and I kind of figured out that every Sunday night there is NHRA drag racing on ESPN for, like, 3-4 hours during primetime. I guess it is kind of cool if you are a real gear head but it gets kind of repetitive to watch the same thing over-and-over. There usually aren’t too many people in the stands at these events, yet they get this primetime coverage just about every weekend.
It seems to me that MX/SX would definitely have a larger audience and pull better ratings -- there must be some big politics behind the scenes for a sport with such a narrow audience focus (in my opinion…) to continually pull such primetime slots with these networks. I suppose you could say that MX/SX has a narrow audience and we are all just biased, but I think our sport naturally appeals to a broader audience for various reasons. I’m not railing on drag racing (well, maybe I am…), but it just seems like an odd sport to get the same primetime slot every week on ESPN. Not sure where I am going with this, but why do you think this is?
To quote Jeffrey Lebowski, “This is a very complicated case, Maude. You know, a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-you's. And, uh, lotta strands to keep in my head, man. Lotta strands in old Duder's head.”
You see, there is not money to be made in niche-sport television. Feld and MX Sports have to actually buy the time from ESPN/ABC/NBC/etc and then sell enough ads to hopefully cover the cost. It isn’t like all the major networks are just clamoring to air dirt bike racing during primetime.
I have no idea why drag racing gets into those time slots. Maybe somebody above my pay grade can offer an answer in the comments section but I have to believe their audience is bigger because it is more relatable. No, most folks don’t drive dragsters but just about everyone has stomped on the throttle from a stoplight and gotten the rush of going fast. How many regular folks do you think ride motorcycles of any kind? That’s my best guess, AGB. I can rationalize drag racing more than I can women’s high school badminton, which gets better time slots than motocross at times. I’ve watched collegiate tandem sofa fart hiding competitions that were on at better times than some of the nationals. That was actually kind of interesting.
how much does working out help me when I'm racing will it help me get better. And how do I get better.
I’ve got to be honest it is difficult to help you without having a little more information, bud. Are you 8 or 48? Are you a beginner or an intermediate? Do you know what a question mark is? These are things that I would need to know to actually answer this question accurately. Here’s a broad-stroke answer: If you actively try to improve your physical fitness and general health you will feel better and be able to ride longer than if you sit around eating bags of Cheetos, guzzling Dr. Pepper and playing Call of Duty on your sofa all day. This isn’t rocket science. How do you get better? Uh, practice bro … lots of practice.
As former manager of the Troy Lee team, can you give us some insight about what it’s like to manage a pro team? I mean, what exactly does the team manager do? Were you basically an overpaid babysitter (like most managers in corporate America)? Please let me know because it is one of my dream jobs.
P.S. Please help me escape from this cubicle!!
I was fortunate to have some great riders come through the program while I was there. Ben Townley, Wil Hahn, Cole Seely, Jake Moss, Chris Blose, Jimmy Albertson and Sean Borkenhagen all rode for TLD while I was there [2009-2010] and had great seasons with us. What does the job entail? That depends on what your budget is. Some teams have guys to order and stock parts, secretaries to handle travel, executives to draw up contracts and PR teams to handle media. If a team has the funds to hire all those people then the manager is really just the guy supervising the rest of the team and making sure all of the members are doing their jobs. Personally, I wrote and negotiated contracts, organized testing and press functions, directed changes made to the transporter, ordered all aftermarket parts, dealt with sponsor relations and sought new/renewed sponsor agreements and worked directly with riders on their riding and training programs. Some riders needed a lot of help and others had a pretty good program and only needed small tweaks here and there. It helps to have a former racer as a manager because you can relate to the things the riders are going through and share your experiences and solutions. It also adds instant credibility when you have some pro supercross and motocross experience on your resume. Different managers have different skill sets and different talents they bring to the job. DeCoster, for instance, is an amazing craftsman when it comes to designing and building custom parts for the bikes. I think the biggest project I’ve ever engaged in was an ashtray I built for my folks in grade school art class. Now for the bad news … these are difficult jobs to get. If you can work your way into one of them they are quite demanding also. You might as well give your wife half your stuff and tell her to piss off before you even begin. Oh, and your kids will pretty much be fatherless so pat them on the head and tell them good luck. Your phone will ring non-stop, 24/7, and you’ll fly more miles in a year than some pilots. But don’t let me stop you from chasing your dreams. Get out there and manage a team, fella. Good luck.
Have a question for Ping? Email him at [email protected].
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Check out THE MOTOCROSS OF 40 NATIONSin our Latest issue of Racer X available now.
The 2013 FIM Motocross of Nations at Teutschenthal, Germany, hosted teams from a record forty countries. Here’s how it played out for each of them. Page 90.