Ask Ping!

Ask Ping!

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Mr. Ping,

I can’t wait for Friday to roll around so I can listen to you bash on others. It’s quite fun to read actually. My question to you is: where’d you come from? I mean, obviously you came from a twinkle in some young man’s eye, but more importantly, how did your career start in racing? You obviously came from a morally and ethically valued family that was strong enough to coax you to leave the sport you grew up with to go to college and get a degree and then come back to racing? That to me takes a lot of wisdom and maturity to realize beyond your years of racing that you can’t retire from this sport. I just wanted to verify that this is what happened and if so, my hat is off to you my friend. As far as your parents, who were they, what did they do for work? Were they part of the greasy, sloppy, construction class crew (that’s me), or school teacher, doctor, lawyer. The reason I ask is simple. Every week we readers, read your column and often times I wonder what type of childhood did the author have, this gives the reader valuable insight to where your prize winning wit and wisdom comes from.

Take care my friend, and good on you for following through with your dreams, as cheesy and cliché as that may sound.

Brian Enge

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Ping still knows how to lay it down!
Simon Cudby photo

Dear Brian,

I thought this was the perfect question to clear some things up and, as you suggested, give some insight into who exactly is writing this column every Friday. Many readers, such as you, enjoy the “bashing of others,” but that isn’t really the intent. Only those lucky few who really peg the jackass-o-meter get a complete thrashing. Really I’m just trying to answer some questions in a light-hearted way that is a little more entertaining than your typical moto-journalism. It’s good to hear that you enjoy it.

For starters, I did not go to college. After my high school graduation I moved to California on my own and began my career as a professional motocross racer. For the next decade I traveled the world racing and getting a paid education on geography, social studies, economics and a little math if you count converting International tender to dollars and running my own home. Along the way I joined the writing staff here at Racer X Illustrated, which stemmed from some journalism classes in high school and a fondness for fictional story writing. It also helped that my parents were sticklers for good grades. I once brought home a report card that was below my parent’s standards in Jr. High and my dad sold my bikes and told me I wouldn’t ride again until my grades were up to par; they never dropped again. Both of my parents run their own businesses and they are incredibly hard workers. Their parents struggled through the Great Depression, leaving an indelible mark on them and shaping how they would raise my sister and me.

I got the nickname “College Boy” in 1998 when Jody Weisel of MXA penned in an article that my career was over at that point and as a smart enough kid that I should just go back to college. I won three supercross races after that, a bunch of Supermoto nationals and an X Games medal. That beats doing keg stands at a frat house all day long if you ask me.

I quit racing full-time after the 2003 season and began working at Racer X as an assistant editor. I actually got to travel even more as I took on the roll of journeyman writer/rider. I went all over the world racing and writing about my travels. My wife and I went to New Zealand, Czech Republic, Germany, Paris, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Puerto Rico, Alaska, Mexico and Canada to name a few places and it was all paid for by race promoters. I started racing Supermoto for fun and that turned into a brief career as that sport grew, peaked and then fizzled. That led me to a race team manager position with the Troy Lee Designs Honda team. For two years I got to learn how things worked on the other side of the negotiating table. It was an amazing learning experience and I had a great time doing it.

With two new babies at home and my travel schedule looking as full as when I was racing I made a leap in 2010. After testing the waters for a couple years as a volunteer fireman I stepped down from my position at Troy Lee Designs and put myself through paramedic school. I did some volunteering with the Asterisk Medic Unit during the 2011 and 2012 supercross seasons but never took my eye off the goal of working for a reputable agency in the fire service. In April I was hired by the Ontario Fire Department. While the transition to this new career was long and difficult it is an amazing industry and I couldn’t be happier with where I’m at.

As for racing, it will always be a passion of mine. Some guys quit racing and then go years without riding a bike or going to a race. That isn’t me. I love riding as much as ever and I’m as stoked about next Saturday night as anybody. I love being a part of the team here at Racer X and we have some fun stories and events planned for this year.

Brian, I hope that gives you an idea of where I came from and where I’ve been. I’ve always been a fan of sarcasm, self-deprecation and slap-stick comedy so that comes out in my writing sometimes. Oh, and for those who think I get lazy and only turn in two questions occasionally instead of the usually three, that is not the case. Once in a while I’ll write something that is too politically incorrect, too political, or too opinionated and the web editors pull it out. It’s probably for the best but I’ve never been one to shy away from hot-button topics. Anyway, thanks for reading, Happy New Year and I’ll see you at Anaheim 1.

PING

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

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