Ask Ping!

Ask Ping!

November 15, 2013 8:40am

Hey Ping,

Big fan of Racer X and everything you guys do. Love reading your column and hearing your honesty, wish more people thought like you. Anyway, on to my question. Looking at the state of our sport and thinking of ways to try and make it better for the guys outside of the top 5 what do you think about salary caps? Other sports have them why not MX? I'm not a socialist and I'm not trying to say take money away from the guys that earned it, but it would help out some of the guys farther down the rankings. On top of that, is there any type of spending limits for teams? Things like limiting the amount of bikes, engines or tires teams can use in a year? A lot of other race series have rules like this in place and it's a good way of bringing cost down and on top of that making racing better. This is all a very slippery slope and I don't want to see some spec race class or anything like that, but it seems like a decent idea to help the sport grow.




  • We could put everybody back on these??

I had a conversation with Mitch Payton once about the concept of teams having a very low salary cap for their riders, just enough to pay their bills if they got hurt and couldn’t race, and putting all the surplus funds into a huge purse for each race. His idea was to have each of the manufacturers put “X” amount of dollars into a purse and cut all salaries to team riders. Mitch loves the idea because he hates paying riders a cushy salary. There are currently no limits for any teams; if they have it they can spend it. I’m not sure if putting those restrictions would make a difference anyway.

The idea of a rider’s union comes up all the time but would require all the riders to get on the same page. Between the rapid turnover of riders in this sport and the very young age at which they begin it would be difficult to create. The one time that all of the riders tried to come together was when the lights went out in Las Vegas back in 1995. McGrath tried to get everyone to make a stand and not race in the dark conditions [there were more issues than just poor lighting] but riders still lined up. In fact, Jeff Emig won his first supercross that night.

If you really want to help the sport, go down to Washington and tell our government to get their crap together. Nothing is going to thrive while our economy continues to flounder.




When I was a kid, I had this sheet of stickers that had all the popular racers on it. There were racers like Lusk, Tortelli, Fonseca, and Ward, each with a unique nickname and little cartoon character. My question is, when and why did we move from nicknames the John "Junk Yard Dog" Dowd to abbreviations like KW14? Now I'm kicking myself for giving up those stickers years ago!

Mesa, AZ



  • Let’s vote: These or stickers? Beth wants stickers.

I’m blaming Ricky Carmichael for this God-awful trend. I feel like I blame him for a lot of things but, really, none of these things are his doing. Ricky’s nickname has been RC since, like, 1997. When he chose the number 4 as a permanent number it became RC4 and everyone else followed suit; RV2, BT101, BB12, JS7, JB10, JG33, RD5, AC46 and more all played follow the leader. The creative nicknames of the past are now in, well, the past. The stickers were mostly done by Troy Lee when he was painting every top rider’s helmet. Now that every gear company has a helmet with graphics that they are selling it is rare to see custom painted helmets on many of the riders. That, in my opinion, is a travesty. One of my favorite parts of going to the races was to see the custom helmets that each of the riders had in that era. The trade off is we now get to see scantily-clad energy drink spokesmodels. I doubt that is much consolation to you, Beth. You have boobs of your own probably.



Mr. Ping,

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy and appreciate his articles, tweets, webcasts, commentary, videos, guest commentary, observations, Instagram as much as the next guy, but is there such a thing as too much Steve Matthes?  Is he like the Skynet of motocross? Slowly taking over motocross so there is no motocross, just Matthescross? Should we do anything before it's too late?




  • Clear vision for Steven.

Unless your yard is on Steve’s nightly dog-walking route you don’t have any reason to fear Mr. Matthes. If it is, you have my pity. Hopefully you have a large trash can and a pooper-scooper. Basset hounds aside, it’s great to have a guy like Steve in the sport. He’s a fanatic about motocross and I submit that most folks would be more burned out than Mick Jagger’s central nervous system after one season doing what Steve does. His passion for the sport translates to great entertainment for us. Matthescross? That’s ridiculous. But how about Bassettcross? A gate full of obese dogs competing for… meh, nevermind.



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