Ask Ping

Ask Ping

Ping,

As a vet 30+ moto wannabe and x-pro snocross racer I live for these videos of the pros on their practice tracks throwing down laps. It brings me back to the days when I used to have the nuts. My question is that in every video (Seely especially) you see the team riders taking off 3-5 seconds after each other or they are on opposite side of the tracks when practicing.  Now I fully understand the cat and mouse game and gauging yourself against your teammate if you are catching him or falling behind, the lap times etc.  Clearly it’s safer as well so no one pulls a bonehead move and runs their teammate off the track but how often do team mates line up and go balls to the walls side by side just like race conditions?  It was always fun to do that with my snocross teammates and show who had the biggest balls for the day and who was clearly faster. So how often do these guys line up head to head and throw down during the week?

Washed Up Racer

This is how you prepare to race.
This is how you prepare to race.

Washed Up,

I have always been a big believer in racing head-to-head in practice. It’s much easier to do 20 laps around your own practice track by yourself than to drop a gate and do 20 laps racing with a guy who is similar in speed. Your heart rate will jump up, you will push harder, and you’ll have to think more critically in an actual race situation. And getting “comfortable being uncomfortable” is a big part of setting yourself up for success when the season kicks off. Remember when Ryan Villopoto brought Ken Roczen down to Florida to train with him? There was a reason for it. Do you think it’s a coincidence that Ryan Dungey, Jason Anderson, and Marvin Musquin are all front runners and they train together every day? Some riders have too much pride to take a chance of being beaten during practice, but those who put that aside and push themselves to be better will reap the rewards when it is actually race time. Every rider and team does this differently so I can’t tell you how often each rider does this. I can tell you that the ones who do will be more prepared for battle on Saturday nights.

PING


Hey Ping,

I ride a 2016 Husqvarna FC350 with revalved 4CS forks and a revalved shock. My quandary is: I want the bike to ride like a YZ250F. I love that bike! Should I simply go with that option (more expensive) or purchase a set of AER forks or even Cone Valve Forks and stay with the Husky (less expensive or about the same)? Is the Husky ever going to feel as nimble and controllable as the Yam?

Glenn Foster

This is you looking at your bike through a set of Cone Valve forks.
This is you looking at your bike through a set of Cone Valve forks.

Glenn,

You can put a different set of forks on your Husky, but it isn’t going to change how it feels. That’s like buying your wife a new skillet and thinking her cooking is going to start tasting better. That’s like buying your wife a new pair of expensive pants and thinking her rear end is going to go from looking like the back side of a UPS truck to one of those girls on The Chive. I don’t know a thing about your wife I’m just trying to find something you can relate to. If you like the feel of the Yamaha your best bet is to sell your bike and get a Yamaha. If you try to replicate that feel you’ll spend a wad of cash on your current bike and still won’t be happy with it. Good luck and sorry about your wife.

PING


Ping,

I've had a question about this sport for a while now that I haven't really heard a good answer for. And, with the number of riders without rides, it seems more relevant than ever. Why are sx only and mx only contracts so taboo and rare?  

There are several riders that are way better either indoors or out. Why are there not teams catering to that? Why on earth is Blake Baggett beating his own ass in sx when he could be beating most everyone's ass in motocross? Why risk the guy getting hurt for top 10s indoors when he's capable of podiums out? Add to that, how much better a guy like Seely gets being able to practice sx 9 months out of the year? This would be HUGE for fighting burnout, too. Would we have gotten more years out of RV had dude went to SX only and actually got to live a life outside his sport like most athletes do?

Little Fred

Malcolm would be a good choice for a supercross-only deal. Or hip-hop dance lessons.
Malcolm would be a good choice for a supercross-only deal. Or hip-hop dance lessons.

Freddie,

I know it sounds good on paper, but there are a couple problems with this theory. First, teams have to be able to sell sponsors on the riders they have for the year. That means you need to lock riders in early and most riders would hesitate to sign an inside or outside-only deal. Most of the time riders want to do both series so it becomes very difficult to find a good fit for supercross and an equally competitive rider for motocross. On top of that you have to hire additional mechanics to take care of both riders during their “off season.” You don’t expect a factory rider to change filters and tires, let alone adjust the tension on his cam chain, do you? Another big problem is that when riders aren’t racing they aren’t improving. It is very difficult to sit on the sidelines for six months out of the year and then jump back in and be competitive.

However, I think there are cases where this could work. For example, when Ben Townley wanted to come back to racing during the outdoor nationals I hired him at Troy Lee Designs and it worked out; Ben did great for us. This year, Justin Brayton has a supercross-only deal and Dean Wilson is still without a ride. If a team could have put together something to use Justin in SX and Dean in MX they would have a very potent combo. And Brayton’s plan is to take a couple months off after Vegas and then return to racing in Europe and Australia for their supercross championships. That is a really good schedule and one you might see more riders go to in the future. Most riders believe they can be good in motocross and supercross so they don’t want to give one up. If Feld decides to add more rounds it could really change the way things work. Until then, don’t expect to see many supercross/motocross only deals.

PING

Have a question for Ping? Email him at ping@racerxonline.com.