Ask Ping!

Ask Ping!

March 28, 2014 6:00am


My wife is starting to show genuine interest in racing, specifically SX.  She’s made a few comments that made me wonder if these thoughts are common to those who don’t ride/race and have only seen SX/MX on T.V.  Basically she has mentioned how it doesn’t look like they are going that fast except when you get the close-up moving shots like down the straight at Daytona the other weekend.   My thought to help grow SX/MX and bring it to a new audience would be to display the rider’s  real time mile per hour  speed, and maybe do like  a race average or some other mathematical representation of speed rather than just use of lap times.  I think since most people can relate to a miles per hour measurement the awesomeness of the riders would be more easily understood.  What do you think would this be worth it, or did this already happen before unsuccessfully?  Also, I not sure if a wireless technology exists that could keep up with the abrupt changes in speed, but if it doesn’t it should.  Or would it not really be all that impressive to see the m/p/h since most people know the feeling from inside their SUV verses a dirt bike skipping across some whoops.  


Honey, I'm going to grab some groceries
Honey, I'm going to grab some groceries


That's great to hear your wife is taking an interest in the sport. I'm afraid, however, that viewers aren't going to appreciate the speed numbers or the difficulty involved with it. Besides, top speed in a supercross race isn't that impressive. Guys are hitting 50mph down a start straight, maybe? Your wife goes faster than that in her Prius when she heads down to the Vietnamese nail salon to get flowers painted on her toes. Of course she isn't doing 50mph over waist-deep whoops and spending most of her time up in the air. And if she is your auto insurance has got to be pricey. It's the technical side of supercross that makes it so impressive and I think it is difficult for folks to appreciate that unless they ride a bike or they stand on the stadium floor and see it right in front of them. Even from the stands the tracks look easy. I've sat in the press box countless times and thought to myself, why aren't they going faster through that section? But an up-close look at the ruts, edges and slick surface make it very clear why they aren't. I suggest making up some numbers to your wife to impress her. Tell her that they clocked Ryan Dungey at 250mph through a whoop section and see if she flinches. Danica Patrick couldn't even pull that off on her way to a mani/pedi.




Let's pretend your Adam Cianciarulo: You're flying through the air about to pile drive your shoulder into the dirt during practice in Toronto. But wait!! An angel hands you a remote and says hit pause you have ten minutes to change whatever equipment you want, but the crash is still going to happen. Would you...  A. Put more advertising on your jersey? B. Look to see if the asterisk medical crew is not on break? C. Sprint to the pits and put on a chest protector with some shoulder pads so you might have a chance of not getting hurt and win a championship and get a fat bonus check?           

Sorry, I'm so bummed for Adam & I know it looks way cooler without one on; it's more comfortable and everything. But don't you think it only makes sense to wear one?


Lots of logos.
Lots of logos. Photo: Simon Cudby


That scenario is ridiculous and unrealistic … everyone knows there is no room on those jerseys for more logos. Look, riders have historically shunned protective equipment for comfort. Damon Bradshaw used to race the entire 500 national championships with no chest protector on. What kind of masochistic meathead does that? Kidney belts have gone away, neck braces are few and far between in pro racing and just a few guys run a full chest protector anymore. Some of this stuff might be less comfortable but it beats a trip to the ER.




Here is what I would do if I hit the Powerball Jackpot: I would build a track with half a Supercross track and half a Outdoor track with 20' tall berms. I would them have the company that Sods the nicest field in the NFL come out on put Tiff 419 sod across the entire track and install a underground sprinkler system. I would have a yard crew mow and bag the track like a golf course for 2 years with nothing but a lawn mower allowed to touch the track. Then I would have a video game made of the track layout and I would host a winner takes 2 million race and host the event.There would be no bikes on the track for practice they would just line up on the gate for the main event on my golf course track and blast off on a perfectly watered grass track. They would rely on the video game to learn the track. Can you imagine RV roosting a perfect grass berm on his green Kawi? Ah dreams !!!

This guy stole your idea.
This guy stole your idea. Photo: Simon Cudby


That's a really weird letter pal and I would be doing a disservice to society if I didn't tell you that drugs are bad, Mmmm-kay? Twenty foot tall berms? What did you do, mushrooms? I like the idea of a golf course track as much as the next guy but saying stuff like this out loud just makes you look crazy. That said, if you do hit the lotto and decide to pull this together be sure to give me an invite. Thanks, buddy.


Have a question for Ping? Email him at

These are in response to last week's question about the "skunk" helmet design that is worn by US riders in International competition.

Yo Ping-dog,

I look forward to reading "Ask Ping" every Friday, but today I regret to inform you that regarding reader Cale's question about the blue-and-white "skunk stripes" Motocross des Nations helmets, you have screwed the proverbial pooch. Even the esteemed Mr. Coombs only got the answer half-right.

Ever seen one of Carroll Shelby's AC Cobras? Fabled American muscle car. What color was it? Blue with white stripes. A French Bugatti? Blue. An Italian Ferrari? Red. A German Audi or Mercedes Benz? Silver. My dad's old Sunbean Alpine? British Racing Green. See where I'm going with this?

Back in the early days of international sports car racing, before there was such a thing as spinsors, each country had its own color scheme. Those colors were in turn picked up by the FIM for the MXdN and ISDE.

Now you know...




The white stripes were put on the MXDN/ISDE helmets in a V pattern as a symbol for "Victory".

Joel in Idaho


Hey Man,

If no one goes on to say it, let me be the first, thanks for the leg work on that response - Never knew that and wow, Fredette huh? - Somewhat of our local hero in these parts - Ran his forks on my old Kawi 2 smoker - Great dude

Dig your words man and it is how I start my weekends.

Be well, Brotha man.

Edward Shuman

Chicago, IL