Long time reader, first time writer. Love your work and got a chance to see you in an epic battle with Damon Bradshaw a few years back at the Racer X Inter-Am vintage races in Boise. Love to see old guys on old bikes going fast and judging by the cussing coming from the Bradshaw pits after you beat him it's great to see the competitive spirit never dies. Oh and for the record I’m calling Bradshaw the old guy. I would love to hear your insight on the current state of American racing. We are obviously in a slump when it comes to the Motocross of Nations and our reign as the world’s fastest outdoor motocross racers is a thing of the past. Blame Supercross, blame lack of support or blame Russian hackers it doesn’t really matter, the truth is on the scoreboard. At the same time we are having our best results ever in the ISDE. We have won Overall Team Championships, Overall Individual Championships and are a threat to win every year. It would seem that the two disciplines aren’t that different and the best ISDE riders have a motocross background so it seems surprising the results in the two disciplines are so different. Are we now a nation of Supercross and off-road Specialists and can we get back to dominating outdoor motocross too?
Rick in Oregon
Let me first clarify that the victory over Damon was largely because I was on a faster bike; that moto was an absolute blast though and one that I’ll never forget. You make some really interesting points about off-road racing in America and it reminds me that these things are cyclical and will almost certainly change again as time goes on. Sure, we’ve been getting our asses kicked for a while at the MXdN, but I’ll bet you any amount of money that this slump goes away in time. Just like our deficiency in the off-road arena has been erased and we are now contenders every time, as you mentioned.
I guess what I’m saying is that the world isn’t ending just because we haven’t continued the winning streak that ran for longer than any other country in the history of the event. We still have more wins than any other country by a long ways. American motorcycle racing is just fine. We own supercross, we compete heads-up at any off-road event around the globe in multiple disciplines, and the motocross thing will come back around eventually. So instead of getting all worked up over it and threatening to move to Canada, let’s just go on living our lives, mmmkay? Thanks for writing.
I’m a little confused reading the state of Weston Peick’s injury status with respect to his medical bills. Are racers not covered through their teams insurance, or do they not have some form of travel insurance to cover this sort of unfortunate event? Seems like Russian roulette if I’m being honest. Does JGR not cover this, or Suzuki… Do the organizers not have some sort of Insurance? Why the F*C* should Weston have to pay an estimated $104,000.00 medical transport back to the US, plus medical expenses… he’s there (under contract commitment I’m assuming)… What am I missing here? I cannot imagine going out of country racing with my son without the proper insurance for a “worst case scenario.”
Can you enlighten us with your endless industry wisdom on this blasphemy?
I feel like I write about this at least a couple times each year and yet there are still so many folks who can’t grasp the situation when it happens. Racers are not employees of these race teams; they are contracted labor. That means they are responsible for providing their own insurance. If your company contracts a business to fly a banner behind a plane for advertisement and it crashes, is your company responsible to pay for his funeral? No, it is not. The AMA provides supplemental insurance that pays up to 80 percent of what your primary insurance doesn’t cover. That sounds pretty good, right? It is, as long as your injury is common and domestic. However, when you have a major accident that requires extended hospital stays, extensive rehabilitation, or life-altering deficits there is no insurance plan that covers everything. And if you get hurt in another country there are even more limitations.
The FIM requires all riders to purchase event insurance for their international races, and Weston had that insurance, as did every other rider who lined up that weekend. However, that does not cover medical flights back to the United States that cost $104,000. There is a policy that riders can buy to guarantee medical transport back to their hometown in the event of an injury, but most riders don’t buy it. For the cost, it isn’t used very often. It’s like buying earthquake insurance in Southern California: It’s expensive and you only need it if there is a devastating earthquake that knocks your house down. What are the odds of that happening? Not very good, but it does happen.
In Weston’s case, the fault line was directly beneath him. He has decent insurance but the bills pile up quickly in these situations. Teams don’t require racers to go to those events, either. Not that it matters because they are contracted labor. However, teams often discourage racers from doing those events because of the risk of getting injured. If you feel inclined to help Weston you can donate to Road 2 Recovery. If not, pray that his recovery goes smoothly. I’ll be doing both.
A lot of talk about the severity of California fires…some say it’s the weather, some say prohibiting logging and forest clearing is the bigger problem. I agree with the latter, but I don’t fight fires. What’s your take? As for MX, have you ever ridden Mammoth Mountain and why haven't they ever gotten a national?
p.s.- My name is just a goof… i learned to ride in dunes and at 3 mph you nail the gas and kick up a ' monster ' roost...the joke just kinda stuck!
Anybody that rides the dunes with a paddle and tells you they don’t look back and admire their roost is lying to you. Roost on, my friend.
There isn’t a singular reason for the severity of the fires out here in recent years. We are coming out of ten years of drought so trees are dry and many are sick or dead from no water or from bark beetles (which have ravaged pines out here that are weak from the drought). The dead-and-down timber needs to be cleared to reduce fuel loads, particularly in what we call the wildland urban interface, which is basically where forest or open land meets developed areas. Thinning of the forest (logging) is also important for creating fire breaks and for keeping the forest healthy. “Environmentalists” want everything to be left untouched, but that makes for crowded, unhealthy growth, and ultimately greater fire danger. California was given funds for fuel reduction projects and clearing of trees killed by bark beetles and last year those funds were re-directed to other things because the governor believed the drought was over. You add to all this the insane winds we’ve had and it creates the perfect environment for a disaster. The devastation from fires the past few years has been horrific.
I’ve raced Mammoth fairly regularly since 1990. If you’ve never been you should really add it to your bucket list; it’s one of a kind. It will never host a national though because the parking area is very small, the town couldn’t hold the fans and industry and the track only has a permit for one event per year. The land is leased from the government, not owned, so they have to adhere to the strict rules put in place. That exclusivity makes it one of the most unique events on the motocross calendar though. The deep, dark soil makes for great roost also. See you there in June!
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