I got two questions for you with the second one being more of a trivia question...
1. What the hell ever happened to Chad Watts? After him and RC split I remember hearing he was going to be a wrench for the TLD Supermoto team, but then I never heard anymore about him. Do you know anything?
2. What was the last NON-factory rider to win a championship MX and SX ?
Let me know if you know.
Maybe this would be a good one for Ping ?
Jason Rambo # 949
Dear Mr. Rambo,
Your letter was forwarded to me by the Racer X staff and since I used to be roomies with Chad I have your answer. Chad Watts was on his way to being one of the most successful mechanics in the sport. He had two 125 east SX titles with Mikael Pichon and then a handful of championships with Carmichael before he decided that enough was enough. Chad is originally from North Carolina and he never liked living in California. Because, you know, people talk funny out here. So, he headed back east and started his own company called Watts Perfections. He specialized in building race bikes for people, particularly amateur riders and regional pros. He’s been off the radar for a while now but the last I heard he was doing well back at home.
Your second question I don’t have a definite answer for. I would say never if I had to guess. Rick Ryan is famous for being the only privateer to win a supercross (Daytona in the mud) but I don’t think anyone has won a title in the modern era of this sport without some level of factory support.
Thanks for the letter, Rambo.
First of all, I loved the Dude commercial. It was a riot and would like to see more. The reason I was writing you was to see if you noticed on the broadcast of Atlanta, when they were talking about Nick Wey and his program, that they mentioned he hired a "MAN FRIEND". Now I have heard Matthes talk about Tim Ferry and use this term as kind of a joke, but enough already. I don’t consider myself a homophobe, but can't they find a better term to use?
Sincerely, fellow dude (not man friend)
The term “Man Friend” is more overused than the Octomom’s uterus. The reason it even exists is because we can’t come up with a better name for the guys that hang around some of the sports top riders to help them with, well, whatever. Some riders are now hiring a practice bike mechanic and requiring him to double as the assistant at the races and during the week. That makes a little more sense. Others simply have a guy that just hangs around. Can anyone tell me what Rado does for James Stewart other than lay down kick-ass backup vocals in their karaoke-style YouTube videos? You have to admit that he nails the “Give it to me, baby” bass lyric in their video. I guess you have to ask what sounds better to you: Man Friend or Groupie? Neither have a very good connotation. If you can find a better term I will be more than happy to help inject it into the sport for you… dude.
You have KTM roots so I’m thinking you’ll have an answer for this. I just listen to a podcast with MC and he expressed his no-so-great opinion on KTM’s non-linkage bikes. I’ve heard they felt they could get their bikes to be competitive, but it really hasn’t happened. Lately, I heard they were looking at releasing a linkage on their bikes. Whether that’s true or not we’ll have to wait and see, but my thought is, “Since the majority feel a linkage is needed to win in SX, why do they stick to a non-linkage? I mean, if they aren’t winning they aren’t selling, right?
Also, if they do a linkage and it works, wouldn’t their bikes just chew up the Japanese bikes and spit them out? That brings me back to why the hell have they stuck to non-linkage? They have the motors, brakes, clutch, and even extremely light frames. What gives?
P.S. I wanted to add a little perv thing to the 30-sec board girl discussions. What would it take to get ol’ Mrs. Pingee out there?
KTM has invested a lot of time and money into the development and marketing of the non-linkage system. For some applications it works awesome. For instance, if you ride in the sand the KTM is one of the best handling bikes, period. They are also amazing in an off-road application. The “dead” feel in the rear end that riders complain about in supercross is the same thing that makes it great when you are hitting rocks and tree roots at speed. KTM has tested a bike with a linkage and though they continue to delay the release of that model, it is in their plans at some point. They are also sticking to a steel frame while the rest of the Japanese models have switched to aluminum. Maybe that change is something that could improve the chassis as well. If KTM could get the handling characteristics figured out and keep the same engine performance and bike details it would be a pretty potent package. All that said, KTM has had riders on the podium on both coasts in the Lites class and that is no easy feat. They deserve a lot of credit for that.
Regarding my wife working the 30-second board at the races… That isn’t going to happen. Sorry.