Dear Ping,

Not so much a question, but just wanted to let you know your column is awesome. I just got back from Afghanistan a few months ago and would hit up the MWR on our FOB every Friday to read your wisdom and humor. I used to race pro locally in AZ but never had the opportunity to get my AMA license due to an unfortunate disease of being flat-broke and not being able to afford to travel. Joined the Army and haven't ridden a bike for a hot minute. The good ol' Army requires me to have an Army motorcycle safety course certificate to ride so that's a no go; not about to go through death by power point right now. Ok, I guess here is a question, why the hell are the outdoor races on some stupid channel no one has? If I wanted to be lost in the sauce I would give a 2LT the compass while we were outside the wire and tell him to get us back to the FOB. Also, 240, .50cal, MK19? I love riding a dirt bike but not much beats being behind a cyclic .50cal sending freedom down range.

Keep up the entertaining work. Oh, and F pogs. 

Infantry leads the way

I'm not a gun expert... would this quiet my neighbor's dog?
I'm not a gun expert... would this quiet my neighbor's dog?


First off, thank you for your service. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we have the utmost respect for those of you who stand in harms way to protect our freedoms and our way of life here in America. Also, thanks for reading. I'm not sure what an MWR is and I had to lean on uncle Google pretty hard to decipher some of the other military codes like 2LT, FOB and POGs. That disease you contracted before joining the Army is a pretty common one; this sport isn't exactly for the cash-strapped. And that's a shame, really. I don't want to go on another long-winded two-stroke rant and drone on and on about how expensive everything is now but, you know, stuff costs a lot of money. As far as the television channel goes, I don't have much to say about that. MAVTV is growing and hopefully they'll be a well-known channel before too long and something that is standard with any television package. I don't have the channel either but I'm planning on just posting up at my FOB [my couch] this Saturday and watching the races online. Its kind of hard to complain when you can watch all 24 motos this year live online. Also, second motos are live on NBC Sports and NBC this season, which I think everyone gets.   

My weapon of choice? I can't say I've fired any of the guns you mentioned. I've shot some clay pigeons with a shotgun, a couple handguns and an AR that someone pulled out when I was at McGrath's ranch once. As long as my neighbor can keep his German Shepard from barking too much I don't see myself having a need for any of these, really. Welcome home, pal. Oh, and I totally agree… POGs suck.



Mr Pingree,

I was curious - Do you feel there are any advantages or disadvantages to Glen Helen having Pro Ride Days on the week leading up to the National?  It seems a little odd to me that the actual track they will race is open and available for practice and testing just days before the event.  If I was a privateer with limited parts and set up options I would feel this gives an even larger advantage to the factory teams that have endless resources available to tune their setups.  Maybe I’m just overthinking it but shouldn’t access to the track be more controlled after the layout is finalized? 

Andrew P

Privateer days.
Privateer days.


The track was open for everyone so I don't think that gives factory riders an advantage. If you were signed up to race Saturday you could come ride the track. I suppose the top guys have more parts to test if they want to but that's part of being a factory rider. Look, I appreciate the efforts of the privateers as much as anyone. I really do. I spent the first two years of my pro racing career as a privateer. I got a few bikes from Suzuki and they slapped me on the ass, handed me a series schedule and told me "good luck." It wasn't easy and I made a lot of mistakes but I eventually found the right people to surround myself with and got some results. On a privateer Suzuki with just product support from companies like Pro Circuit and JT Racing I finished fourth in the supercross series and got two top-five overall finishes outdoors in 1994, even though I only went to five or six Nationals because that was all I could afford. Check the Vault. Those results were enough to get me a ride and I did the best I could with it. My point is that for riders who aren't groomed throughout their amateur career by a manufacturer it's up to them to take their sub-par equipment and finish well enough on it to turn heads. If they can't do that within a few years then they should start looking at doing something else. Maybe I sound like a dick, but in this sport if you are going to achieve any kind of success you know it before too long. To your original point, I think most tracks are shut down a week or two prior to the National for any riding. However, since this was the opening round the idea was to give everyone a chance to make sure their setup was on point and perhaps give them a chance to be better prepared for the start of the series.



Hi Ping,

In the 90's I was in a Dollar Store buying parts for my LEM 50 when I happened upon a daytimer that had the King and Prince of Bercy on the cover: You and MC! Sadly i've misplaced it and now i guard my SX memorabilia with the utmost care.

In the spirit of the Virgin Mary on a potato chip or Mayor Rob Ford on a swatch of toilet paper, I have one treasure that needs your opinion, (see attached). It's a McGrath Cherry Tomato.

Be honest, how much is this thing worth, and is there a museum in SoCal that would appreciate this gem as much as i do? I'm talking glass-case-and-velvet-ropes appreciation.


Just slice it up and put it on a sandwich.
Just slice it up and put it on a sandwich.


I'm going to be really honest here: That tomato isn't worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin getting it on. Besides, a tomato with a two on it would be a Villopoto cherry tomato, right? I know you are a product of the nineties but, come on, get with the program. I remember one time I left a skidmark in my toilet bowl that was a spitting image of the Mona Lisa, except she had a well-manicured handlebar mustache like Geraldo Rivera at an awards show. The likeness was so uncanny I called my wife in to show her before the stink had even wafted away. It was a flawed move and I still contend to this day that my wife will never quite love me as much as she did before that evening. Anyway, my point is that you should probably keep this silly numbered tomato business to yourself. And, of course, the thousands of folks reading this right now. We won't judge you.


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