(Note: Some questions have been lightly edited for clarity.)
I've got a 16-year-old son who loves moto & just motorcycles in general. As a junior in high school he's starting to think about his future and what he will do with his life after school. More than anything he wants to do something inside the motorcycle industry but isn't sure what avenues to take if there are any that a young guy could make a decent living at. It's a tough industry, I know, but I thought you might have a suggestion. Other than that, he made a comment that he had an interest in firefighting as a possible career which raised my eyebrows a little bit. It came out of nowhere but it immediately made me think of you and the lead up to this Ask Ping inquiry. How did you ultimately come to the decision to become a firefighter after moto and what advice could you give my son, Jaden, if he chooses the latter career path?
There aren’t many careers in the motocross world, only jobs. And most of those jobs require a boatload of travel. I’m sure that sounds fantastic, but after you’ve been to fabulous Utica, New York, and downtown Detroit a couple times, the luster wears off. If that’s his dream to work in the industry, I’m not going to knock it, I’m just saying I’d do everything I could to steer my children away from this industry as a career choice. It is small, it is highly susceptible to economic downturns, and there isn’t much room for advancement.
I was managing the TLD race team when my wife and I had our second daughter. It was then I realized that traveling 20 weekends per year, sitting at a desk all day, and taking phone calls well into the evening wasn’t going to work long-term for me if I wanted to stay married. My father-in-law was a fire captain at the time and Broc Sellards and I did a ride-along with him one day… I was hooked. It took me four years of school, training, and interviewing but I finally got on the job and I couldn’t be happier. If you listened to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck’s interview on The Whiskey Throttle Show, he talks about how motocross racers are excellent candidates for fire and law enforcement careers because of the skills required to race. He mentions being able to multi-task, being able to make split-second decisions, and having a “never quit” mentality. Motocross is the perfect sport to prepare you for a career in those fields. I chose fire because I love working with a team. I love physical work and I love that there are so many facets to the job that each day is different from the next. And, most importantly, it is a career that can have a profound impact on the lives of others. I always wanted to do something that “mattered.” I can honestly say that my crew has shown up on some folks’ worst days and we’ve made it better, and sometimes saved lives and property; those days make the sacrifice worth it. There are many components to this career and it certainly isn’t for everybody. I’d recommend visiting a local fire station and asking if he can ride along with the crew for a day to see, firsthand, what it’s all about. If he has any questions, please have him contact me directly.
Best of luck to him.
I saw this picture of Garrett Marchbanks at the muddy Spring Creek National. He is negotiating a large jump in a fairly significant rut. I notice though that he is sitting… Is this a technique for the conditions or is he doing it to aid the height he achieves as in a seat bounce?
Thanks for reading,
Peter (hopeless at jumping)
I can’t get into Garrett’s head, but I’ll take some educated guesses as to what was going on here. First of all, that is a big jump, especially in the mud. As such, you have to “give it the berries,” as we say, and in those conditions that could mean seat bouncing to get over it cleanly. Judging by the shape and depth of the ruts I’d guess the turn before it was muddy and rutted, so he didn’t likely have much speed as he approached it. There is also the fact that by having all the weight on his pegs he is more likely to catch his foot on the rut and get pitched off the bike, so maybe it was self-preservation? Look closely at the photo and you’ll see that his feet are actually lifted up off the pegs. By sitting and lifting his feet up he assures they don’t get yanked off the side of the bike, ala Ken Roczen at Anaheim a few years back.
It’s never hopeless, Peter… just keep working on it. Or not. I guess just make sure you’re having fun because that’s all that really matters.
You are only person I know that can answer this question as I know you have ridden the two bikes I am interested in the last year. Here goes: how does a ‘07-‘08 Honda CRF450 compare handling wise to a 2019 Yamaha YZ450F? I currently have a ‘07 CRF450 and have owned ’08 and ‘09 Yamaha YZ450Fs and a ‘16 Honda CRF450. The ‘07 Honda has been the best handling bike by far but I am interested in getting the ‘19 Yamaha but am a little nervous that it will not handle as well as my trusty old Honda. Your thoughts kind sir.
The 2008 Honda was the benchmark for 450s up to that point, and even for a few years after. But most of the brands have improved upon that model at this point, so it’s a pretty easy answer here: The 2019 Yamaha handles better. It also has more power, more adjustability of that power, better torque characteristics, electric start, chassis adjustability, better forks and shock, and a button that allows you to toggle between different maps if you’d like. I could go on and on about the upgrade you’d be making but I think you get the point. It’s 12 years of development! Listen, I still prefer 1990s hip hop to any of the trash that passes for music in that genre today, so I get it: you like you 2007 Honda. But I know you’ll be stoked when you get that new bike on the track for the first time. Be sure to check out our Dialed In video to get a good starting point for it. And let me know if you have any suggestions for current hip hop artists that aren’t dumpster fires. Cheers
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