Ask Ping

Ask Ping

June 30, 2017 10:00am


I don't know if you've addressed this before, so forgive me if you have, but why does the AMA not have any requirements/penalties for lack of gear? Specifically I'm thinking of Osborne running the last quarter of a moto with no goggles. I'm sure in the moment it seems do-or-die, but when he's 60 walking around missing an eyeball looking like One Eyed Willie, that one time he got second at High Point will probably seem like a poor trade for his eyesight. Worse yet, I'll regularly see photos on social media of young kids who tossed their goggles, with their eyes compacted with mud, and people celebrate it. As a father, and the one paying the medical bills, if my kid did that the only thing to celebrate would be if they eventually get the privilege of riding their bike back again. Raising kids who prioritize 8th place at a local race over life-long vision is a whole different rant, but I digress.

So, to cut to the point, why doesn't the AMA enforce minimum safety requirements? I get the liability of neck braces, etc, but it's universally agreed even dirty/sweaty googles are better than rocks in your eye. Why do we have man friends and goggle guys if the 3 seconds you lose to swap them on a pit stop is worth more than your eyesight? I say save the money you pay them so you can afford to bedazzle your eye patch later on.

Possibly just old and cranky,

So heavy.
So heavy.


You bring up a good point. When it comes to safety, I’m all for encouraging new requirements. I’d love to see some type of chest protection required, even if it is just the foam roost guards. Anything is better than nothing. There is a strong argument against neck braces, so that water is about as murky as a septic tank at a bean and cheese burrito factory in Mexico. Your goggle idea might have some legs though. Perhaps they could implement a rule where riders can’t go past the mechanics area with their goggles off. That would force them to pit for a goggle change if they were forced to toss them. And you need to understand that sometimes the safest thing you can do is take your goggles off. When you are negotiating a muddy, rutted track with a helmet that weighs as much as a Buick LeSabre from the globs of mud on the visor and you can only see through a clear spot on your lens the size of a nickel, you might be better off throwing them. However, continuing to race and battle with other riders without goggles is a great way to get a pirate eye patch. Those are great for Halloween but the other 364 days of the year they are a real drag.



Asking perception/opinion on the current crop of mini bike parents; As a volunteer finish line flagger why are *Modern* 50/65/85cc parents compelled to run all over the track coaching throttle control, (insert fist-twisting motion with a lit cig) which line to take etc., screaming JUMP THAT & when jr eats it, it is everyone’s fault but the kid racing...oh, and they dispute finishing order at every race? I don’t remember it being this bad in my era of racing, which was the same as yours.

Joel Doupe'
Lewiston ID


Great question. I’ve been thinking back and trying to remember the pearls of wisdom my dad used to share when I was a kid. It was mostly your standard words of encouragement on the start line and the clap or the motivating arm waving in the signal area; pretty normal stuff for the time. My dad was never the type to piss and moan if we got beat. He firmly told me to work harder and kick some ass the next chance I got. It’s simple but it really reflects the difference between that era and the one we are currently in. Many folks in their twenties refuse to take responsibility for their actions; it’s always somebody else’s fault. That line of thinking is producing a large crop of embarrassingly weak adults who hate the old school mentality of “picking yourself up by your bootstraps,” because they’ve never been forced to look in the mirror and admit that change begins right there. Don’t let these folks disturb you too much, Joel. Just be the best flagger you can be and watch out for Nick Wey… he likes to jump in and steal work from you guys.


Mr. Pingree,

I'm a big fan of your accomplishments and humor. I wanted to touch on a couple things. First, people are way too sensitive about the comments of these athletes. When Baggett says his intentions are to win and to break the competition he is only being truthful. Why can’t these guys say what they are all thinking? Of course he wants to break them. I personally would never want Tomac mad at me. I think I'd rather be beaten up by Peick than Tomac. But these guys are getting their feelings hurt over Baggett saying that his plan is to win… That’s ridiculous! They have serious homeschool millennial issues. Secondly, I'm tired of listening to people wine about the power and danger of the 450. The racing has been exceptional on these machines and this season rivals the best 2-stroke seasons ever. I'd also like to add that I believe the 450s are safer than the 2 stroke of old. There is no way a 250 2-stroke could've panic revved Davalos to safety the way the big power Husky did. Am I right? Or should I go buy a 15 year old 2-stroke and endo it right into a hillside? Maybe I can get some LBZ pants to accentuate the W as I flip over the bars thinking how cool we used to be.

Yours truly, Fire Marshall Bill

P.S. Tomac handles the talking like a true bad ass. GO ET3!

"Hey, buddy, you want to go get some dinner after this? Welp, good luck… I hope you win!” – Definitely not Bob Hannah


I don’t think that Baggett’s comments should set anybody off either. I have re-listened to his interviews trying to hear all of this crazy “cockiness” since his win in High Point and I just can’t find it. Riders should absolutely let the media know that their intention is to win. I don’t remember hearing Stanton/Wardy/RJ/Bradshaw/Hannah/Carmichael/etc. talking about how they just wanted to post a good finish. Hell no! Those guys were never shy about the fact that they were there to finish in one position only. There is a difference between being cocky and being confident; it’s a thin line and some riders spill over from one side to the other. If nothing else it gives all of the fans something to talk about during the week, right?

With regards to your thoughts on 450’s, we might have to agree to disagree. At the professional level there really isn’t a problem, but that’s not what keeps our sport alive and thriving. The folks out buying bikes and racing on the weekends ensure that motocross keeps growing as a sport. And I’ll bet you can’t find a handful of riders at your local track that can use all the power of a 450, unless you live near Glen Helen where many of the pros practice, obviously. And regarding Davalos, I would submit he wouldn’t have been kicked like that if he were on a 250 two-stroke. But we could fight about that all day and I’m bored with it. Go hop on your $10,000 450 and ride like the wind.


Have a question for Ping? Email him at