Ask Ping

Ask Ping

October 16, 2015 1:30pm

Ping,

This picture is from Raymond Natale Jr. He comments, "For all you Unadilla lovers, me included. This is the 1980 US 250 GP, Saturday's practice session. The rider in the picture is my best friend and neighbor at that time Kenny Adams of West Grove, Pennsylvania. I didn't crop the photo because I wanted everyone to see how the track surface was, pre-race day. Look at that beautiful green grass!!!

This is the landing out of "Gravity Cavity." 

Some guys commented on this being out of the "Screw U" section of Unadilla in 1980…. I'm guessing it is the landing of gravity cavity, as Raymond says…. It sure would be cool to hear (or read in this case) the story of the "screw U" in a 1980 "one shock, one radiator, one win" piece of steel dirt bike, and how it got its name. Tons of respect to those who rode that fast back in the day. Because of them is why we ride today, at least my generation. Also, it's amazing to think that the day before the race, the track was not groomed as it is today. Some say "those where the days" others "that's real motocross right there." I agree, but still prefer the modern bike with the groomed track, ha! I keep on using quotation marks for all quotes; perhaps I should "cut back" on using them…. It's like using the frickin "hashtag" on everything #motocross #dirtbikes #pingree #racerxonline. Ha!

Sure would love reading from you and what you can find out, as Screw U sure is empowering in modern conversations now a days.

All the best

Erik Mena

Dominican Republic

Shirtless fans made up the course boundaries back then.
Shirtless fans made up the course boundaries back then.

Erik,

Thanks for sending this over. These are the days when Unadilla was epic. Back in the early 1980s, they used to leave the track after the race and let the grass grow. As you can see in this photo, they didn't even mow it! All that grass acted as mulch and kept the racing surface wet longer, producing the bumps, berms, and ruts that looked so amazing back then. As the years went on they began holding more races throughout the year and holding amateur races on the pro track the day before and then ripping the track before the pro races. That paved the way for adding supercross-style sections and really changing the feel of the venue. I'm not saying it isn't a good track, because it is. It just isn't the same as it was. I raced there for the first time in 1994, so I got to race it when it was still grass, but it was mowed down. Back then they still had the Corkscrew and the fast, right-hand, uphill sweeper that separated the men from the boys. Screw U and Gravity Cavity are still there, thankfully. One year—I think it was 1995—I went to the line an hour early for Friday practice to make sure I was the first guy on the track. Pinning it around those grassy hills on my Pro Circuit 125 is something I'll never forget. For me, this photo represents the heyday for Unadilla motocross. I don't think they'll ever bring back the deep grass, but it would be amazing. Can you imagine pulling in there next year and seeing nothing but two feet of grass and some corner markers? What do you guys think is better: then or now?

PING

Hey ping,

I was curious how come aging pros never do motocross-only contracts instead of supercross only? Do they make more money in SX than MX? In my limited (okay, local fairground AX/SX) experience it seemed like the ambulance was used a lot more than when it was at the local mx races.... Granted, when the rubber band start would get caught from some jackass trying to jump the gate or forgetting how to run a clutch, mass chaos would ensue, but overall it seemed as if less guys got hurt racing mx. I can't help but think that LaRocco or Windham, for example, would've been competitive longer if they would've sat out SX and rocked it during the summer. Thoughts?

Old guy from Nebraska

Obligatory BT shot? No, he's actually the last guy to successfully run an outdoor-only contract with TLD in 2010.
Obligatory BT shot? No, he's actually the last guy to successfully run an outdoor-only contract with TLD in 2010.

Old guy,

That makes a lot of sense from the outside looking in. However, there are a few major reasons that doesn't happen. First of all, supercross is where the money is. Teams and manufacturers want to get results in supercross above all else, and the payout for stadium racing is larger than the outdoor series. The workload is also significantly less in supercross. That doesn't mean it's easy; the amount of prep is the same and the risks are even greater than in motocross. But you only ride a short heat race and one main event every weekend that lasts less than twenty minutes. On top of that, the travel schedule is much easier. When riders can fly directly into the cities they are racing in and stay in a nice hotel in a metropolitan area it makes the travel less of a grind. Unadilla, for example, includes a four-hour flight from SoCal to Chicago, an hour layover, an hour flight to Syracuse and then an hour-and-a-half drive in a smelly, miled-out rental car to Binghamton or Utica. In case you were wondering, there are no five-star hotels in Utica. In fact, I don't think any establishment there is even on the star rating system. And there is still an hour drive to the track in the morning! It makes for a much longer weekend and a draining travel process. Guys who excel in outdoor motocross (Ben Townley comes to mind) could probably make a living on a motocross-only contract because he could jump in and be competitive. That option is very rare though.

PING 

Ping,

Studying NCLEX for my BSN-RN. Why they gotta stereotype the MXers? And yeah, good luck getting them to open up with the feelings. LOL. 

Doug 

Ignorant stereotypes aside, I’m sure this book is a great resource.
Ignorant stereotypes aside, I’m sure this book is a great resource.

Doug,

What, all professional motocross racers aren't tobacco-chewing alcoholics that smoke weed all day and eventually end up in a wheelchair? That's shocking information. Good luck on getting through your RN program, Doug, but do yourself a favor and realize that most of those medical books were written a long time ago and most doctors are afraid to try anything new that wasn't printed in their program's workbooks back in the 1960s. Why do you think some of the best athletes in the world have to fly to other countries to have procedures done? Australia and Europe are both more progressive in their treatments. This is likely due to the extremely litigious environment in the medical field here in the States, which will never change. But, hey, don't let me discourage you. I'm sure it will be super rewarding changing all those bedpans and inserting Foley catheters all day. Now go get that dirt biker to open up and talk about how sad he is because his mom didn't hug him enough.

PING

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