Ask Ping

Ask Ping

September 18, 2015 9:35am

Hey Ping, 

What’s up, guy? Maybe you can drop some knowledge/opinion on this issue. The MEC is approaching and it's a cool event for the off-season and it's nice to see all the top guys participate.  I do have a problem with having the amateurs race it, though. Why should supercross as a sport roll out all the hype, coverage, money, production etc. for the MEC just to have amateurs compete on the same track as the pros do?  Don't you think that from a non-moto perspective it totally devalues the skill level it takes to race that track as fast as the pros do when the amateurs are doing all the jumps, and their lap times aren't really that far off of the pros? The KTM junior race is cool, but I would much rather see the MEC be like an all-star event for supercross. How about during the intermissions they have riders do a head to head slalom type race down the start straight, or a lowest scrub competition, or fastest lap time while standing up only, etc. I'm not talking about a best whip or freestyle type thing, but a racing skills showcase. No hate towards amateurs but I pay to see the professionals, that is all.

Thanks

Joe

The stars of 2028 twisting the throttle.
The stars of 2028 twisting the throttle.

Joe, 

You make a great point. On the one hand, I don’t pay to go to a Lakers game to watch some junior-high team come out at halftime. I’d probably fire my Pepsi at them like Tony Romo throwing yet another interception, and scream at them to get off the court. Likewise, I don’t go to a NASCAR race to watch a bunch of kids who just got their license do some hot laps in their Honda Civics before the feature race. So, why should we get excited to watch a bunch of pimple-faced kids ride around at a slower pace than the top pros on the track? You have a valid point, but I like to watch that race because it is a glimpse into the future stars of the sport. Austin Forkner is a great example of a kid who shined there and will likely make a successful pro debut next year. Unless you want to go stand in the humidity at Loretta’s to see the future’s brightest stars and sweat until you have to pry your legs and stuff apart with a sturdy spatula, the Monster Energy Cup is a great way to see these kids ride for the first time. It takes hardly any time or effort investment on your part—just sit there at a race you were already going to. I like the KTM Jr. SX Challenge better as well, but I don’t mind watching the stars of tomorrow cut their teeth on a real track once a year.

PING 

Ping,

I saw that Ben Townley is scheduled to race the USGP at Glen Helen at the end of this summer. I know you are a BT fan so how do you think he’ll do after all this time off?

Chuff

#101 in the program this weekend…. #1 in your hearts.
#101 in the program this weekend…. #1 in your hearts.

Chuff,

I was pretty stoked when I heard BT was coming back to the States to do some racing. I’ll admit I tend to fan-girl a little when he’s around, but I love his riding style, his determination, and his character; he’s just a good dude. His career, while still impressive, could have been absolutely legendary if he could have stayed healthy. I know that’s like saying I could date a supermodel if only I were taller and better looking, but the fact is that Ben had limitless potential. I have a bet with Tyler Keefe, the current TLD team manager, that Ben will be top ten at Glen Helen. I realize that might seem crazy to some, but I know what that boy is capable of doing. He won the last GP moto there when he rode for me, and I know he’s still got speed. Maybe I’m just googly-eyed about the whole deal, but I think BT is going to do the #101 proud. If not, I’ll be there to give him an awkwardly long hug and tell him it will all be okay.

PING

Hey Ping,

Based on your current job and your vast experience in motocross, I thought you would be a great source of information when it comes to racing after major medical procedures. I had bilateral total hip replacement completed just over two years ago and have been taking it easy since then, doing some trail riding and turning laps on a pretty tame beginner track. But this just isn't scratching the itch to really ride, so on to the real question. Have you known other riders that have had this procedure done and went back to competitive motocross? I know I would never get a straight answer from an orthopedic surgeon, but is there a greater risk of broken femur with the titanium rod in bone than a completely natural femur? Everyone (non-riders) seem to think I am completely mental to even consider getting back into racing, but the will is still there and Vet racing has never been too cut throat to be overly concerned about other riders t-boning me to steal my fifteenth-place finish.

Just for reference, I was only 45 years old when I was diagnosed of osteoarthritis related to hip dysplasia, requiring both joints to be replaced. I should simply be happy to be pain-free and able to do most "normal" activities, but it is hard to walk away from motocross, if I am still able to walk! I can almost hear Doug Henry saying I should just man-up and ride.
As always, I look forward to hear your thoughts on the subject.  Keep up the great work, both in your new job and with the old one at Racer X.

Jim
Ontario, Canada

Can’t tell if you still have balls, but the hips are looking good.
Can’t tell if you still have balls, but the hips are looking good.

Jim,

That’s a big procedure and it’s good to hear you’re doing well post-surgery. I know Erik Kehoe had that operation done, and that guy still hauls the mail on a bike. Here’s the thing—riding isn’t the problem; it’s crashing that will cause you problems. I don’t know what its worth to you, but if you feel like it will make you happy, then strap on every piece of safety gear you can find and go out and ride within your limits. We all have to make decisions about what we are willing to risk to be happy. Some guys take up golf or sailing or something less dangerous while other men still have their testicles. Your call, Jim. Like that Doug Henry ad says, “What’s stopping you?”

PING

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