I have read a few privateer profiles this year, and a few of them have a common theme that I think is awesome and a little underrated in the sport. Professional racers who legitimately graduated high school and are taking their education to the college level, all while racing supercross, arenacross, and the nationals. I can't imagine the work load required to be a competitive pro, let alone the work it takes to maintain a good GPA in college. I don't know about you, but I have as much respect for these guys as I do the men holding number one plates at the end of the season.
What are your thoughts on the state of education in the motocross world?
I love to see that trend. At a minimum, these guys should do whatever they can in order to finish high school. I wish we had a real statistic regarding the number of racers who actually "make it" versus the guys who sacrificed everything (life, family funds, retirement, education, sanity) to be the next big thing and wound up out of the sport, unemployed, uneducated, and struggling. Trust me when I tell you it is a very small number of riders coming out ahead. Most other sports require their athletes to attend college, so if they don't make it in the pro leagues, they at least have that to fall back on. Motocross has homeschool programs that are often times pencil-whipped by the family to keep Junior out of the classroom and at the track. Like you, I have the utmost respect for those who are chasing the racing dream while managing to move forward with their education as well. Those are the guys I'm cheering for at the races.
I know you still do a lot of test riding for Racer X Illustrated, which I’m sure is still a cool experience for you. But do you ever wake up on a day off (I realize that this may be rare for you these days) and go and hit one of the local SoCal tracks or go riding the trails for a bit of fun? Or do you feel like it’s just a job these days! And do any of the old injuries give you grief these days?
P.S.- love the “Dialed In” segments on the RacerX Web Site…Keep up the great work mate!
Brett. Melbourne, Australia
You bring up a good point, mate. Sometimes we have so many bikes tests and intros going on that it becomes "work" to go out and hash through all of the bikes and relay everything you are feeling to the camera. Every lap is ridden with the purpose of assessing the bike instead of just enjoying the ride. There are times when it can feel that way. Fortunately, I've been able to get out with friends once in a while and just ride for fun. After some recent rain I had one of the best days with a couple buddies at Pala Raceway. You know those sessions where you are battling with your friends and you are literally smiling and laughing under your helmet the whole time? I've got a friend who I won't name (KMac), who, whenever I pull in behind him, starts swapping and bucking, and his feet can't seem to stay on the pegs; it’s hilarious. He would rather die than let me pass him, and he has almost made that a reality a time or two.
Anyway, days like that snap me right back into reality and I remember how much fun riding is. I know there are a lot of folks in the industry who have gotten so consumed by their work that they forgot what those days are like. Here's hoping for a rainy winter here so guys can get out in the hills and smile under their helmet. That’s why we all started riding in the first place, right?
I have a question regarding Mx des nations. Since Cooper Webb is going to be the Mx3 rider. Isn't that considered the open class? So couldn't Cooper race his 250 instead of the 450. I'd only suggest this because I assume he would be more comfortable on the 250 than the 450 with the limited testing time and the difference in throttle control.
No, he shouldn't. I don't know if you've listened to any of the commentary from any race in the last thirty or forty years, but starts are actually quite important in a professional motocross race. Cooper would struggle to get through the first corner inside the top twenty on a 250 and would be eating roost both motos. And just because a guy races a 250 doesn't mean he's never thrown a leg over a 450. I'm sure Cooper raced both classes throughout his amateur career, and since he's been a pro he's raced a 450 at a Japanese national and at the Monster Energy Cup, riding well in both events. Cooper will be fine. The desktop professionals have been chatting and blogging and posting away about the decision to take Cooper over Trey Canard or Blake Baggett, and in their never-ending wisdom it is a terrible idea. Yeah, that Roger DeCoster is one stupid guy. Or maybe he's not? Maybe he's considered that Trey is still trying to get his feet under him after yet another injury and Blake hasn't shown the speed he's capable of lately? Maybe there is more to the decision than any of us know? Maybe Suzuki doesn't want to fund the effort to send Blake? There are a lot of things that need to happen to get our guys over there, and it isn't cheap. Each rider is given a very small amount of money from the promoter to offset the cost of the trip, and it’s the same dollar figure whether you live in Belgium or California. That money doesn't cover the cost to pay for one plane ticket in coach, let alone tickets for your family and crew. Then you have to spend time testing and preparing for the event, and then you have to crate it all up and ship it over there. Again, not cheap. Of course, there are the costs associated with spending a week in Europe, and the "team" is responsible for that as well.
Have you ever seen a rider perform poorly because his heart wasn't into it? Ryan Villopoto this year comes to mind. My opinion is that you are way better off sending younger riders who are stoked out of their minds to be going to the race rather than a more established rider who is only going out of obligation. These three guys are fired up and ready to kick ass over there, and I believe they are going to surprise people. Can we, as a racing community, just quit being whiny little b****s for a minute and trust that Roger and his peers made the best choices for our country and support Team USA? Please?!
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