Ask Ping!

Ask Ping!

December 6, 2013 6:00am


I was at the track recently and had a younger group of riders joke about my funny riding style.

You might remember it from the old Gary Bailey videos. The “attack position:” elbows up, head forward, and standing as much as possible.

I have noticed a trend to a sitting down, elbows down style that seemed to start with RC, but has now gone global. Is this really the best way to ride a dirt bike, or can you just be a lazy turd on a four-stroke and get away with it?



B.C. Canada


  • The Professor demonstrates perfect form with elbows up, one finger on the clutch and hey wait a minute…

Four-strokes have definitely changed functional riding style in our sport. Because of the power delivery and weight of the machines you end up sitting down a lot more and being generally less aggressive than you would on a two-stroke. Two-strokes were much less forgiving and much more difficult to ride. The elbows-down thing is just something RC made “cool,” and the only reason his elbows were down is because he was on the throttle so hard.

Remember when you are being made fun of by younger kids: they actually go out in public wearing tight, ladies pants sagged down so it looks like an elephant crapped inside them. They have much bigger problems than you. Keep those elbows flying, Cliff.




Dear Ping,

I've been drooling over the Red Bull straight rhythm videos that have been released and wondered what your thoughts were? Both from the sheer fun of riding it and as a would-be competition. As a punk kid who started out in BMX that event is the trails-for-motocross that myself and I'm sure others have only seen in their dreams. If they could do some sort of tournament in that format I would definitely pay to see that. How do you think the top in the sport would stack up in a drag race with no corners to run in deep? The big question would be, would monster let Villopoto come out and play?

Thanks for reading,



  • “scrubbing”

I think Red Bull’s “Excitebike” project could be really cool. We all know that corners are the determining factor in lap times and race outcomes so this concept could really level the playing field. And that is exactly what Red Bull had in mind. Without turns it really comes down to landing everything clean and scrubbing jumps so hard you get off the bike with dishpan hands. I think the cream would still rise to the top but the difference between first and tenth would be much closer than it is in a 20-lap supercross final. I don’t see any reason Monster wouldn’t let their athletes participate. After all, what better way to give the bird to the competition than to win one of their events? The bigger question is whether or not Ryan would want to show up. He usually doesn’t get out of bed unless there are seven figures on the line.




Dear Ping,

As big of a name as Ricky Carmichael is, don't you think he should be involved with the sport a little differently? He is currently the owner of RCH and has average to slightly above average riders under his tent (relatively speaking of course). Take former rider Eric Kehoe as an example here. He was the manager of a factory effort with outstanding talent. It just seems to me that Ricky certainly has the power to do the same thing but has settled for much less. Your thoughts?


Syracuse NY


  • Who are the really famous ones?

There is one major difference between Erik Kehoe and Ricky Carmichael’s respective situations: Ricky doesn’t have to work anymore. Something that needs to get corrected in our sport is rider’s use of the word retiring. You only retire if you don’t have to work anymore. Erik, like me and most former racers, simply quit racing. Very few riders make enough money to just cruise through the rest of their life, especially since most riders are done by the time they are in the early thirties. I’m sure sitting at home with all your money gets boring after a while so Ricky has his hands in a few different things to stay occupied. However, I doubt that he wants to spend the overwhelming amount of time that it takes to manage a team full-time at that level. I also think that RC and Carey will grow that team over time. This is only their second year together and rider options were slim in 2013. Next year things will shake loose in the silly season and I’ll bet they end up with a guy who can compete for wins. The only downside to riding for RCH is that fans want your bosses autograph’s more than yours.



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