Hello Mr. Pingree (I’m talking to you, not your dad)!
Ok seriously, talk has been a full 250 series for a couple years. My thoughts, then your rebuttal: Could we get a full east and west series as we have enough 250 guys to run both, how? We run both east and west series all year by having 3! Yes 3 main events on Saturday nights! If they cut out all the filler garbage in between heats, LCQs they could run all three classes and we would have great full season of 250 races, unless it’s too expensive that way?
Rebuttal to you good sir!
From the couch this sounds like an epic idea. We’ll get to see three classes of the best riders in the world every weekend. It will be awesome! But this flies in the face of the whole concept behind splitting the 250 class into two separate series. The reason they did that was to give local racers and those with limited funds the ability to showcase their talent on the big stage in a championship without having the expense of driving back and forth across the country. Sure, we’d get three main events every weekend but now you’re asking privateers to triple their travel expenses during the season. This idea will also make things more difficult logistically for teams who run bikes on both coasts or have 450 and 250 riders under their awning. I was scratching my head when I saw the East/West Showdown in Atlanta last weekend. Georgia isn’t even close to the middle of the country so I don’t know what the hell they were thinking. I know there is plenty of chatter about changing the format, but what’s wrong with the way it is? It works!
I watched the video on your '92 CR250 project earlier this week. Fate decided to tease me today with a great deal on a 95 CR250 that popped up locally on craigslist. I'm going to check it out tomorrow, it doesn't "sound" as nearly as flogged as what you started with. It seemed as if the '92 was quite a bit more of an undertaking than you initially thought and I'd be pretty confident you thought you knew what you were getting yourself into. I'm not independently wealthy, I have two kids in college and bills to pay. I haven't ridden in almost a decade, I'm looking for a bike that I can poke around the Vet track on, take out in the desert occasionally and also be a "cool" conversation piece from the glory days of Honda two-strokes. My question is, would you do it again?
My first reaction here is to encourage you to call you wife fat, put $5000 in a bag and light it on fire, and then smash yourself in the nuts with a ballpeen hammer to save yourself some time. After all, the results will be the same. But, dammit, I can’t discourage you from doing it. It’s a lot like the advice I give to newlywed friends of mine when they’re talking about having kids. I don’t sugar-coat it like most folks do. The truth is that it is going to be the hardest and most stressful thing you’ll ever do. The first year is miserable. You’ll lose sleep, it’s unimaginably expensive over time, and you’re sure to be let down. I could literally copy and paste that same text into a paragraph about restoring a bike that old. But, just like with kids, its’s all worth it in the end. You’ll have a bike that you will enjoy and, once you’re through it, you’ll even realize you enjoyed the journey of getting it there. I guess what I’m saying is prepare yourself for a difficult, frustrating process and then pull out your wallet and make it happen. You won’t regret it.
I enjoy reading your column. It's insightful, humorous and a weekly must-read. Can you provide some perspective on starts for the pro racers? Invariable, almost every week, you'll see photos of the start, and there's always a couple of guys off balance, hanging off the bike. Is this from a lack of proper technique? Too much throttle, too soon? A mental lapse? I've seen photos of the top pros hanging off the bike on a start… guys like Tomac and Roczen (maybe even in the same photo once.)
I know starts can be harrowing sometimes. I remember starting out as a novice rider, one time I looped out and almost cleaned the clock of the rider next to me. My older brother, who was a great starter, worked on my technique with me, and soon I was getting decent starts. I can't imagine what it would be like on a professional gate, though.
Thanks for any perspective you can give us readers.
There are lots of moving parts on a start and you only have about two or three inches on either side of your grip as you leave the gate and make your way down a narrowing straight away… what could go wrong? Riders work on starts all week long, or they should at least. And I’m sure most of them could do ten perfect starts in a row at the test track by themselves. But when you add 20 other bikes beside them, the pressure of the race, and changing soil in front of the gate each time you have a very dynamic scenario that causes bobbles to the left and right. If you took off running from a dead stop down a hallway that only had two inches of clearance on either side of you, I doubt you could keep from touching the walls. So how do you expect riders to do it on a motorcycle? Those first ten feet out of the gate are the most stressful and important real estate in our sport and riders are doing everything they can to get to the front and stay off the ground. Maybe that adds some clarity?
Have a question for Ping? Hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.