Between the Motos: Superstar Science

Between the Motos Superstar Science

April 5, 2017 2:50pm

You never really know if a rider is going to make it in this sport or not. Highly touted amateur racers like Austin Stroupe, Nico Izzi, and Ben Riddle never really accomplished much while riders that flew way under the radar like Jeff Stanton, Jeremy McGrath, and Ryan Dungey became legends of the sport. Amateur motocross success is nice, but turning that into a career as a pro that makes you enough money to retire? That’s the real trick.

When it comes to mainstream sports, there are tons of stats out there that try to determine how someone’s career is going to turn out. Height, weight, amateur experience/results, etc., are all looked at in an attempt to profile an athlete and figure out what you’re going to get. In our sport though, there’s not much out there. If you’re an OEM, you sign a kid when they’re 12 years old, try to give them everything they need to succeed and you hope that you can place them with your 250 team and watch them thrive. That’s the plan, but it doesn’t always go smoothly. In fact, it rarely goes smoothly. Actually, it’s super rare that it goes smoothly.

With that in mind, I’ve created the Steve Matthes Superstar Science Institute (SMSSI for short). I’ve taken my 20 years of going to the races as a mechanic and a media guy and am prepared to share with you, for a very small fee of $20,000 per rider, some tests to see whether your little Billy has what it takes to make it in moto.

We’ve got a huge warehouse in Corona, California, that’s equipped with the latest and greatest equipment and after one week of grueling testing, we’ll be able to tell you if your son will make it pro motocross.

The curriculum:

Temptation Test: We’ll blindfold your son and put him into a hallway. At the end there will be two rooms. One with a dirt bike and a treadmill in it and the other one a hot tub with a bunch of hot chicks in it. And they WILL be calling your sons name out over and over. We’ve actually named this “The Jeff Emig Memorial Room” in honor of that Shift ad all those years ago. Your son will have 30 seconds to decide what room he wants to enter and if he chooses wrong, he’s out and is immediately met by David Pingree to explain why he chose wrong. *NOTE: The father of the rider will get to spend some time in this room if the son successfully completes the SMSSI course.

Character Test: We’ll send your son out onto a supercross track with a mechanic there but at some point, something will come off the bike. We’ll try to not make it a vital part of the bike that will cause it to fail on a jump but no promises. Once said part falls off or breaks, your son’s actions will be closely monitored. If he drops the bike and walks off, he’s kicked out of SMSSI. If he curses the mechanic out, he’s gone. If he pushes the bike back, puts it on the stand and says nothing, then he goes onto the next phase of the program. After all, the mechanic will not yell at your son if he tips over in a turn or cartwheels the bike that the mechanic worked on all week. If your son tells the mechanic that it’s okay and he understands that everyone’s human, we’ll put him on our Wall of Fame that includes Andrew Short and nobody else.

The Testing … uhhh, Test: We’ll head out to the end of the warehouse to our top-notch track where we will also have some motor and suspension gurus. Once there we’ll make changes in four lap intervals and junior has to tell us what he thinks of the changes. At some point the gurus will act like they’re changing something, but nothing will actually be changed. If your son comes back talking about how ¼ throttle power is smoother and the high-speed compression is garbage compared to the last setting, he is immediately let go from SMSSI. Being able to say you don’t know or consequently, being able to set up your motorcycle, is very important to a pro career.

The Phone Call Test: We’ll have a close friend call your son to talk about the latest Yeezy song or maybe the new Call of Duty game. At some point in the conversation we’ll call him from Mitch Payton’s phone (before the test, when he’s not looking, we’ll put it in his contacts) and if your son doesn’t answer, he’s gone.

The Hype Test: We’ll ask your son if they think that at their first race it would be a good move to wear a red “Believe the Hype” t-shirt. If he says yes, he’s out.


Fitness Test: We’ve got a maze set up (think of those ones made for mice) and we’ll send your kid in there with a heart rate monitor that’s linked to our computers. The lights will be dimmed and at some point in the maze we’ll have an ex-pro wrestler wearing overalls and a goalie mask jump out with a chainsaw. Your son’s heart rate will spike and I realize that running from our would be killer employee is a bit gnarly, but it’s the closest way we can replicate a heart rate from an actual supercross. If your son gets out of the maze, well congrats to you and him. If our man catches up with junior then you’ll be happy to know that he’s instructed to just maim and not kill. If caught, unfortunately that will be it for your son at SMSSI and he’ll be sent home after some medical attention.

That’s the basic outline of the program. We like to think that all the tests we’ve come up with provide some basic direction for a pro career. It’s not easy, it’ll be grueling, but in the end, the SMSSI is the best way for you to know if your son is ready for the pros. Does he have what it takes?

We take cash only and you can email for more details.