Ask Ping!Friday, November 1, 2013 | 6:00 AM
Check out the gem I have attached here. I ran across a bunch of old posters and brochures that I got from Hangtown in the early '80's when you could just hang out at the back of the box vans for autographs or other goodies. I think this one is from around 1983 or 1984. Two questions: 1) that is Ron "The Dogger" Lechien just to the right of the blonde and 2) I can't make out just who that is in the upper right corner. I think it may be Scott Burnworth but I can't find a photo of him from 1983 or 1984 without a helmet on for comparison.
Ron Lechien and Scott Burnworth are not in this photo. Johnny O’ and Hannah are flanked by Brian Lunnis, AJ Whiting, Chris Hessier and Donnie Hansen in this atrocious Answer ad. I’m not sure who the bird is but my intuition tells me that even though this looks like a flier for gay Huey Lewis and the News cover band one of those guys took her home and did some very not-gay things with her. If that was or is currently someone’s wife (or mother) I do apologize in advance, I’m just going with my gut on this. Great poster, Trevor. That was definitely a different time for the sport.
Seems like Feld, FIM, and the AMA are realizing that most Supercross teams get such limited exposure for their sponsors at the races that they may be limiting the health of the sport by design; racing by nature only gives the light to the winners...or a quality mistake or crash. So, in an effort to remedy the disparity, I've heard this season they will bring back the Semi races.
Will this format change really help? Will the same group of riders rise to the top anyway and tell us what tires hooked up on their "holeshot"? What do you think the powers-that-be should do to help the teams deliver more brand amplification? The harsh reality is that many of the teams that enter the race are more likely to win the lotto than get an opportunity to give a sponsor speech on a SX podium.
The reason the semis are coming back is to give more riders a chance to be on the podium and represent their sponsors. The same four or five guys are going to win all the heat races and main events and this gives other riders some television and podium time; it’s a win for everybody. The fans get more racing, the riders get an extra chance to make the main and teams get more coverage. Our races are short compared to the long events in car racing so we have a short time to get sponsor logos in front of people. The other way to get attention is just like you mentioned… crash your brains out. People love that.
I was eating a tub of Cheetos last night and stumbled on to YouTube to kill 5 or 6 hours and came upon the latest MotoSport.com video titled “Vintage Iron – Jerry Robin/Guy Cooper/and Brett Cue.” First off, it’s a kick ace video of Coop and the 2 young brats ripping it up at Guy’s place in Oklahoma. Not only was it awesome to see that Guy still has skillz that killz and PAID the Billz, but it was awesome that in the video all 3 are riding some vintage bikes out of Coop’s collection (BQ is aboard a CR 480). During the video BQ mentions that he has a lot of respect for guys that rode those bikes back in the day, I believe his exact words were “it’s like riding a sponge.”
My question is: how has the evolution of bikes changed our sport, and do you think the guys who rode professionally in the 1970’s had to be physically tougher than guys today? I’d say we take it for granted that we can walk into any bike dealership and buy a bike that is pretty damn close to the same bikes that the pros ride.
Thanks for the great articles each week, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on my question.
There’s no question the evolution of motocross equipment has changed the sport and the way we ride. But it is difficult to compare different generations. I’m sure the bearded, cigarette-smoking men of the 1970s pushed the limits of their dual shocked piles of crap until they were vibrating and swapping right out of their hands. I don’t think James Stewart or Ryan Villopoto would want any part of that. Conversely, Gennady Moiseev would drop a Kremlin-sized load in his genuine leather racing pants if he had to jump a standard supercross triple, even on a modern machine. It was just a different time and the challenges were different. Just like in sport of any kind, limits are being pushed and athletes are getting better. How do you think Heikki Mikkola’s training regimen looked compared to our champion’s now? I’m speculating entirely but I imagine Heikki went out in the morning and chopped down a few massive trees with an axe, rode a couple motos and then went out and partied his face off with a bunch of Finnish swimsuit models at a Helsinki club. Again, absolutely zero facts here I’m just assuming that was his program. Meanwhile, down at the RV camp in Florida, Ryan rides motos all morning, spends lunch on his bicycle and then winds the day down pushing some weight around in his gym. He gets to eat 6 ounces of lean meat per day along with a fistful of grass clippings, four almonds and a snippet of tree root all washed down with distilled drinking water. If his lap times are acceptable he gets to spend the night with his wife, otherwise he sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber out in the garage next to his bike. Welcome to pro motocross in 2014.
I wonder if Ryan wakes up cursing Ricky Carmichael’s name. If it weren’t for RC upping the ante during his reign RV would be at Havasu right now doing beer bongs with Fro and training wouldn’t begin until early December. But, hey, that’s the price you pay to make the big bucks, right?
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Check out KING CAIROLIin our Latest issue of Racer X available now.
Americans know very little about seven-time FIM World Champion Tony Cairoli, but in Europe he’s treated like royalty. Page 102.