If I could go faster I would. It can be frustrating when I am riding as fast as I can on the track and a faster rider literally blows by. I wonder if there is something in the brain that governs speed? What I mean is I am going as fast as I can, it feels fast, if I could catch the next gear I would, but my "sense" is I am at my limit of speed. But another person can be so much faster and look at ease and under control.
Is their "sense" of speed just allowing them to go to a higher limit? I know skill and confidence come in to play as well. I would appreciate your thoughts.
I am 54 and have been racing for 40+ years.
Let me see if I can draw you some parallels. When I go surfing and the waves are five to six feet tall, I feel like I’m going to die when I crash. The wave tosses me around and I’m certain that no person on the planet can manage to crash on a bigger wave and survive it. And then I watch videos on YouTube of guys surfing 50’, 60’, 70’ waves and surviving a wipeout. It doesn’t seem possible.
I consider myself an avid downhill skier; I was ski racing at my local mountain when I was four years old and I still love it and follow it. I’ve been skiing with my friend and former world champion/Olympian Daron Rahlves and I made the sorry mistake of trying to keep up with him. Just when I felt like I would explode out of my bindings if I went any faster, he zipped by like I was dragging an uprooted Ponderosa Pine tree behind me.
In all of these scenarios, it’s a matter of skill, practice, fitness, strength, and a mental capacity to perform at that level that has taken years to build. It also doesn’t help that you’re old as hell, Erik. You should be stoked that you’re still out getting in laps at 54 because that is awesome and pretty rare.
Honestly, if it feels like you’re at your limit of speed then you are; just enjoy the speed you have.
Thanks for the note and keep roosting.
First off, I’m not going to kiss your ass and tell you how rad and amazing you are... I still picture you as a booger-eating 80 rider when I was the guy to beat at Canyon Raceway. That and anyone who lets Pryor pretend to be his supercross mechanic is definitely experiencing desperate times (and I love Brian).
Anyway, here’s my question... and maybe it’s because I’m a product of the 80’s, but I find watching 44 grown men (sometimes more) on a supercross start gate trying to engage a holeshot device annoying as hell… it looks like 22 monkeys trying to hump a football with the help of a friend or two.
I’d personally like to see the holeshot device banned and riders having to learn how to start without it. I get it, when it first came out it was an advantage versus not having one. But now that everyone from 450SX to PW 50’s has one; let’s get rid of it and make riders learn to start without having 2-3 semi grown men on TV humping the motorcycle on the start line. Your thoughts?
Sincerely with love
Be more like Kenny, not the guy next to him.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like you to meet my old friend Robert “Fig” Naughton, the runner-up in the 1987 125cc West Region AMA Supercross Championship. I’d like to clarify, for the record, that he has no proof that I actually ate my boogers. With that out of the way, let me say that I always love to hear from you because you and I are almost always on the same page when it comes to ideas and issues regarding the sport. After racing (and a brief stint as a mountain bike racer) Fig went into the nursing field and became one of the few former racers to start a successful career outside the industry. I respect the hell out of that. It also gives us similar views regarding rider safety and protective equipment in the sport.
Not sure if you heard my rant on a recent episode of TheWhiskey Throttle Show but I opined that starting devices and metal start grates should both be banned. Not only does it look like some type of PT Barnum and Bailey act just moments before the start of the race, it actually limits the amount of separation between riders as they rocket down the start straight and into the first turn. This has caused more first-turn crashes that could potentially be avoided if riders were a little more spread out.
Eliminating start devices at the pro level would make starting more technical and would allow more gaps between those who nailed their throttle delivery and shifting and those who did not. And going back to dirt adds to that separation even more. I know technology continues to progress and make things easier, but sometimes we need to keep it simple. You want to start a petition or what?
You were once a young professional racing in the big show and battling for 125 glory. Now here you are and have the perspective of age and have the wisdom that comes from experience. What advice would you give a fresh-faced Pingree if you had the ability to phone yourself back in the day, and what would be the likelihood that you would listen to it?
AKA Doug Taylor—comment section keyboard commando.
Thank you for your service in the chatrooms and forums of the motocross world, you’re truly a hero. I know the cliché thing to say is that you have no regrets about your career and that you left everything on the track and you always gave 100 percent and blah, blah, blah. I have so many regrets I’d need one of NASA’s computers to add them all up. They say youth is wasted on the young and that saying is as true as anything I’ve ever read. When I was trying to figure things out as a professional racer in 1993 and 1994 I had very few people around me giving me good advice. The one or two that I did have still couldn’t keep me from making bad decisions if I really wanted to. I guess what I’m saying is that I would tell my younger self to listen to my mechanic/friend Randy Lawrence more when it came to certain things.
The following season I joined Mitch Payton’s Pro Circuit race team and I missed some big opportunities that year by making bad decisions. I would try to contact Jeff Ward, Johnny O’Mara, David Bailey, or Broc Glover and ask them to mentor me. They might have told me to piss off, but I could have used the guidance from somebody who had been there and done it. I think the smartest thing Ricky Carmichael ever did was connect with Johnny O’Mara in 1997. The work ethic and dedication that RC carried throughout his career was cemented by Johnny way back then.
Then of course I would warn myself of every injury that I had, of which there were many, and avoid those. Honestly, with a few changes here and there I believe my career could have gone a completely different direction. But I’m still proud of what I accomplished and I certainly don’t Iive in the past. These days I’m trying to be the best firefighter/editor/show host I can be and make sure I always give it 100 percent. Wouldn’t want to have any regrets when I’m done, right?
Have a question for Ping? Hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.