Hi Ping ,
I'm writing to you from the lone Canadian province which you don't like, Quebec. You should give us a second chance and come visit us during a national this summer, maybe we'll grow on ya. Heck, I believe even Tyler Villopoto snagged a Quebec girl. Ever since that idiot Marois has been out of office, thing's have changed for the better. Anyhoo , here's my question:
With a lot of past supercross champions having SX only contracts during their heyday and, with Ryan Villopoto who always seems to ''hurt'' one of his knees before going to outdoors (not counting 2013), do you think he's got a secret SX only contract with Kawasaki that he never made public? If that's not already the case, would you think it's in his agenda for the future.
A proud Canadian in Quebec
I never said I don't like Quebec. All I said was that I ran into a few [thousand] rude people there who had the same arrogant flair as their brethren over in France. I'm not familiar with this Marois individual but with a name like that I can only imagine he was an enormous douche bag. I actually love Canada and would live there if it weren't for the soul-eating cold and snow that dominate for half the year.
The SX-only contract came about during Jeremy's career and the purpose was to extend the number of years he raced. The grind of SX and MX is difficult to maintain for a long time and McGrath thought if he stuck to stadium racing he could have more fun and race longer than if he tried doing both. The fact that he was much better indoors likely played a little part in that decision as well. For Ryan, who has to be considered more of an outdoor rider, I don't think this has been the case. He had legitimate knee problems that he had to fix and it just happened to take him out for the summer. That said, Ryan does look to be enjoying his profession less. I think that if there is any adjustment to his contract it will be to remove the third year from it. I'm hoping that isn't the case and we see him line up next year and make a run at five in a row.
I watched you race up here in the far north with Ben Lamay a while back, what was experience like in the land of racing dogs and igloos?
That Alaska trip was amazing. It was the only time I've been up there and my wife and I still talk about that trip all the time. We did a white water rafting trip down the Nanana River in Denali National Park, checked out Mt McKinley, flew on a private plane through glacial ice flows and caught the best two days of racing in Fairbanks of the whole year. It was an amazing experience and something I'll never forget. The first night we got there we drove from Anchorage to Fairbanks and it was a bizarre experience. We had been driving a while but I lost track of time; that happens easily when the scenery is so amazing. After a while I started getting tired and I asked my wife what time it was, expecting it to be around 7 or 8 since it was still light outside. She looked up from her watch with a puzzled expression on her face and told me it was two in the morning. That whole 24-hours-of-daylight thing is wild. It was a blast and the folks up there were great. Hopefully some day I can go again.
Can you please tell us why hardly anyone no longer wears a kidney belt? I have asked this question myself to many around the industry from distributers to racers and nobody really seems to know why. Not sure what year or years that they just stopped showing up but it appears as if nobody ever wears one on the pro level and not many do even on the amateur side other than myself.
When I ride without one my lower back seems to hurt more than when I wear one, I will always probably wear one for that reason alone. Some seem to think that it restricts breathing, could that be the reason? I challenge you to ask around, I think you will be quite surprised when no one can really give you a good educated answer…
Lastly, at almost 50 now, I still love to open up Racer X on Fridays just to read your column, it never gets old and it's always captivating. No matter the age group you always seem to cover topics for all of us.
Thanks so much for being you!
Cocoa Beach, FL
That piece of protective equipment made a very stealthy exit, didn't it? I used to have a Gold Belt that I ran for a long, long time. I used it for so long it smelled like a turd wrapped in burt hair. It was pungent. The kidney belt was a chubby guy's best friend. It was, essentially, a girdle for dirt bikers. Sure, it supported your guts but it really didn't offer much in the way of protection. Maybe that's why it went away? There are great chest protectors, like the latest TLD armor, that wrap around and offer plastic protection for your back and sides in the event of an impact with something. This doesn't do anything to make you look slimmer but it is much safer. So embrace your inner fat kid and protect yourself. Because it's hard to eat burgers and fries when you are laid out in a hospital bed.
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