I love your column and it's the first thing I look at on Friday mornings. I wish you still had one in the magazine every month. Now that the butt-kissing is out of the way, what do you think about this?
I am by no-means what you would call a JS7 fan, but I still think he got screwed with that whole deal. I do wish that he was out there winning once in a while and taking people out like he does, you know, for good racing. But since he's rumored to still be riding and training, and according to his social media accounts, still getting suited up on Saturday nights, why doesn't he just go race like all of us Regular Joe's? I mean, couldn't he still show up at some of the local tracks and duke it out with the local pros? He could still pay his entry fees and, as I would assume, he should kick some butt. Maybe he'd just say before-hand that he isn't going to take any prize money and it can just funnel down from there. You know, 2nd place still gets the winners purse, and so on? It's not like he needs the money. He'd just be racing to interact with the fans, contribute his share to the promoter/purse, and still keep his racecraft on point? Racing is racing no matter if it's at Anaheim, R.E.M., or Chicken Lips Raceway. He wouldn't even have to bring the big rig to the pits, although Suzuki has already budgeted money out for entry fees, pits, autograph signings, etc. James would be gaining a ton of exposure for his sponsors, and who wouldn't be stoked to see him try his hand at their local track or even to check their speed against him? Hell, make him start backwards in the second row or dead engine start or something so he doesn't run away with it and can work on his passing. If you weren't a James fan before, perhaps there might be more after him getting back to the local level where it all started?
Ping, you even did the same thing on one of your first races back after a broken leg, if I remember correctly. You came to Helena from Great Falls with an FMF Honda in the back of a pickup and proceeded to get a half-lap lead by the end of the first lap. (That was a long time ago when you didn't eat as much ice cream and had the Eye-of-the-Liger and a baby mullet!)
Ping, make it happen!
Ah, the days of the baby mullet… I had the world by the short and curlies back then, and that hair was the envy of many men. I actually began my comebacks in Montana several times after an injury. In 1996, I came up and did a race on my Pro Circuit/Splitfire/Kawasaki while healing from a broken femur and I did the same thing in 1998 after an ACL reconstruction. I enjoyed getting back to my roots and remembering why I went through the exquisite pain of putting new ligaments in my knees time and again. Racing at home took me back to when I first started and I just did it because I loved racing and I loved the competition. That gets convoluted over time.
Interestingly enough, I asked this same question to Lee McCollum, Stewart's mechanic, at A1. Will he do any racing prior to the expiration of his ban? Maybe a couple one-off European supercross rounds that aren't FIM sanctioned? North and South Dakota arenacross championship? Hell, I don't care what race it is… get out and get some gate drops. Lee didn't give out any information and it sounded like the Stewart camp had gone underground a bit and they weren't really talking to anybody. That's shocking, I know. The real problem with sitting on your couch in your gear for eight months while your competition races is that you are losing ground. And Stewart is doing it at a time in his career where he can't afford to give up speed. This whole debacle sucks and I hope they can appeal the decision and let him start the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross at round one.
First off, I really like your writing and look forward to "Ask Ping" every Friday. I've seen you ride in person a few times and I'm always impressed at how fast you still are. I actually have three questions.
First, do you sometimes wish you could nab a future, time-traveling phone booth from a dude named Rufus and go back to a younger Ping Dynasty and infuse some old guy wisdom into your young racer self? It seems like a lot of young racers have the speed but not the patience and the wisdom to put together a whole championship season. Ken Roczen channeled his inner 2003 Las Vegas James Stewart, got all impatient, and full throttled himself into the face of a triple jump. He nearly took himself out of the championship right then and there. He was clearly faster than Reed and Short and he could've waited half a lap and still made the pass. Instead he got flustered and had to be in front NOW. Many young racers make the same mistakes. If only they could have their older self show up in a glowing phone booth at circle K and talk some patience into their psyche, they might end up with less injuries and more championships. Case in point. Powder Mountain Motocross 2009: McGrath is getting serious pressure from a young pro named Cole Siebler. They pass back and forth for a while but instead of forcing the issue, McGrath lets the young buck take the lead, content to follow him until he can make the pass stick. Then, with a couple laps left to go, Jeremy sets up a pass over the finish line triple, calmly over-jumps to flat and proceeds to motor away from young Siebler for the win. Would some old guy wisdom have changed anything for a young David Pingree?
Second: Is Pingree, Idaho named after you or any of your progenitors?
Third: What size helmet does Malcolm Stewart have to request in order to comfortably stuff all of his dreadlocks into his hard hat. Does 6D make a special size just for his lustrous locks? In all seriousness, I'm super stoked for Malcolm on his first win. I've been rooting for him for a long time and I'm glad he finally got it done for little brothers everywhere. He has the speed and he finally hung on for the entire main to score the victory! Looking at his post race pictures the size of two things stood out to me; his 6D helmet and his huge winner's smile!
1) I would love to go all Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure on my racing career. "Sign with this team, not that one," "don't date that girl, she's a wh***," "don't triple in that rhythm lane behind Pedro Gonzales on the third lap of practice in San Diego because he backs out of it at the last minute and it ends badly for you" and "have your mechanic check the piston before the heat race on your KTM in Phoenix in 2002" are all key notes I would have passed along to myself. Young me was a stubborn ass. but I'm sure he would have listened up if I showed up covered in scars from post-crash surgeries in a phone booth. Unfortunately, many lessons have to be learned the hard way.
2) I'm not sure. There is also a Pingree Park in Chicago, so apparently my people have been doing big things all across the country.
3.) I don't know exactly, but the last time I saw a helmet that big it was cruising down the Philadelphia Eagles sidelines toward the locker room with an injured tailback. Size "M" for Mookie?
Tyler Bowers said he wanted to shed his "muscle head" persona and race straight up for the title. But then he came in and completely cleaned out multiple competitors - by round 4. And now he’s sending threatening tweets to other riders because he nearly broke their helmet in two. Based on that, I propose a new nickname: Tyler Bowser, or simply Bowser: the Mario Kart character. He’s basically the same guy. He should totally run that butt patch and then point to it after committing a felony on his next “pass”.
New York City
You sure are sensitive about your passes for a guy from New York City. You literally live in a place where a car horn and a middle finger are as common as donuts and coffee on a morning commute and people mug each other over subway fare or a slice of pizza. I wouldn't think a little bumping in a contact sport like supercross would bother you so much. However, I don't want to discount your delicate sensibilities, so I'll just assume you are a stock trader in Manhattan or something and then it all starts to make sense. Either way you've completely nailed this nickname and I'll do everything in my power to help this thing gain traction. As a fan of good, aggressive racing and all things Super Mario I would like nothing more than to get Bowser to stick. Regarding Tyler's riding, I'll say this: Each rider has their strengths and weaknesses. Some are fit, some have speed, some are good in the whoops, some are very technical, some are ballsy… and each rider must play to their strengths. Tyler's strength is, well, his strength. He is a big boy and as such he is good in the whoops and good at pushing smaller riders (all other riders) out of the way. You can't blame him for using his strengths to succeed. Don't hate… appreciate.
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